Held at the Averard Hotel, Merchant Archive’s AW18 presentation ‘A Common Thread’ showed a unique and modern collection with historical references against a backdrop of English Baroque architecture; a juxtaposition of refined and polished elegance against unfinished walls in a state of deconstruction.
AW18 was inspired by a patchwork blanket, found in a children’s book that designer Sophie Merchant reads to her daughter at bedtime. The colour palette was reimagined in hues influenced by the passage of time; muted tones alongside inspired punches of bold pigment and reinterpreted vintage styling with a contemporary edge. Full and fluid shapes with refined historical references in rich tones accentuated the flawless simplicity of each impeccably tailored and beautifully finished garment.
Merchant Archive is synonymous with elegance. Soft shades in cable-knit oatmeal cashmere and heavyweight blush pink silk gave a timeless feel, coupled with crisp blues, bright reds, and indigo to infuse a modern edge to relaxed hemlines in easy to wear pieces. Known for a bold use of colour and clean lines, crisp silhouettes were showcased in striking shades of orange and green, whilst neutral tones were offset with metallic copper and rust in luxurious textiles. Layered and ruffled detailing gave a sense of fun to timeless silhouettes; from Kelly green separates to accents of caramel satin, the collection was an interplay between vintage styling and breathless modernity.
Knitwear was introduced in soft cashmere blends, in waistcoats and ankle-skimming skirts with a nod to patchwork stitching. Prints referenced a playful childlike quality in painterly spots embellished in silk organza. Models sported both refined daywear and luxe eveningwear with tasseled loafers and a hint of nonchalance; a taupe jumpsuit in delicate silk was loosely cinched at the waist with a simple yellow cord, a draped and pleated ruby red knit paired with wide trousers, and statements of copper in a dressed down evening frock with a distinctly vintage silhouette.
‘A Common Thread’ considered the naivety of childhood alongside the wisdom of age, showing an extraordinary connection between the two. The interplay of colour and silhouettes, strong lines, attention to detail, and luxurious fabrications made this collection one our favourites of the AW18 season.