Margaret Howell, the British queen of modern minimalism, is perhaps in the height of her reign…
With an archive, 30-years-deep, dense with grey wools and hand-selected linens, Margaret Howell has created a company that’s quite the empire. Designing womenswear and menswear, and more recently home ware collections that act as a functional extension of her garments, the overall vision for her brand seems to be one part instinctual and one part deliberately directed to be refined. It’s the perfect blend of luxury and comfort – it’s minimalism at it’s best. But, not only are her designs something to muse over, the designer herself is the absolute epitome of a modern muse.
“When I was doing it all myself, it was never about working on a collection,” she says. “It was just one thing, and then another, and another. A collection is something you have to see as a whole but I was always much more keen on finding specialist suppliers of things that inspired me and then working with their product to get what I wanted.”
“Going to art school you’re always in practical clothes, dashing around and getting mucky, wearing jeans, T-shirts, shirts. I always, always wore those sort of things. I do also like a mix of refinement and roughness. I wear flat shoes because I walk a lot. I did wear heels, little ones, when I was a teenager but I’m athletic. If I’m dressed up I feel too restricted. It’s about a lifestyle, really.” Any decoration is kept to the minimum. “With jewellery I like it to be very simple, so it’s more to do with the material itself…”