The King’s precious gardens at Highgrove have become the inspiration for a fashion collection for the first time, with the creation of a new luxury capsule wardrobe for women.
A glamorous pink silk gown reflecting the deep fuchsia of the monarch’s Highgrove rose and fashioned in honor of the curves of the topiary along Thyme Walk is among the outfits in the exclusive range.
The 13-piece sustainable collection is the second iteration of the Modern Artisan project – a design and textile graduate training collaboration between the King’s charity The Prince’s Foundation and global online fashion retailer Yoox Net-A-Porter .
Other attire includes a bright green shirt dress with an oversized collar inspired by the huge gunnera leaves in the park and a yellow cashmere sweater replicating the color of the eye-catching light benches dotted around Highgrove.
The shade of yellow was personally chosen by the king for his garden furniture to contrast with the dark green foliage.
A palette of deep greens and lighter natural stones, browns and grays has been used to reflect the surroundings, with outlines in the ready-to-wear range taking into consideration the winding paths, and silhouettes contrasting the “wild natural elements” and the “structured and man-made elements” of the gardens.
Elements of Charles’ Garden design are ubiquitous, with a checkered mantel inspired by the irregular textures of one of the garden walls known as the Wall Of Gifts.
The Eclectic Wall stands in the Stumpery and includes pieces of architectural stone collected by the King and donated to him from around the world.
Charles is a keen gardener and has spent over 40 years transforming the grounds around Highgrove House – his private Gloucestershire retreat.
Modern artisans – four British fashion and textile graduates and four Italian graduates from the Politecnico di Milano design school – were invited into the gardens to draw, paint and explore the environment.
The land also served as the backdrop for a fashion shoot for the first time, with models photographed among the foliage carrying the handcrafted items.
Charles, then Prince of Wales, viewed the collection and met the eight graduates earlier this year at the Prince’s Foundation headquarters in Dumfries House, East Ayrshire.
He looked delighted seeing the designs, holding the fabrics and examining the designs.
Modern craftsman Isabelle Pennington-Edmead, 24, from Cheshire, said of meeting Charles: “It’s really good to know he takes pride in everything we do.”
Available exclusively on Net-A-Porter and Yoox, 50% of the recommended retail price will be donated to The Prince’s Foundation to support its training programs.
The 10-month paid Modern Artisan initiative gives students the opportunity to design and craft the sustainable line of outfits using heritage textile skills.
The Highgrove Rose-inspired fuchsia organic silk midi gown costs £600.
It has multi-position faux straps, with stitching details and its trapeze shape is inspired by garden topiary and the elegant contours of the rose.
Emily Dey, another of the modern artisans, said: “The evening dress is a very special piece for us because it is inspired by the Highgrove rose.
“I’m so happy we were able to produce this garment as it elevates the elegant and feminine vibe we were looking for in the collection.”
Ms Dey, 24, from Middlesbrough and a graduate of the University of Teesside, added: “We spent a lot of time perfecting the beautiful pink color of the dress to ensure it suits multiple skin tones and embodies the Highgrove rose.”
The color of the climbing rose also inspired a cashmere dress, priced at £420, and its delicate curved shape inspired a wrap top in green silk with pinafore ties at the shoulder, priced at £395.
A £495 dark green waistcoat fastened with biodegradable beetroot buttons and featuring large pockets has been designed to mimic gardeners’ work clothes.
The Wall Of Gifts-inspired plaid Shetland wool blanket coat has been made using a zero waste cut pattern and costs £690.
A stone gray cashmere coat – oversized to pay homage to the grand topiary structures in the garden – is priced at £795.
The bench-inspired yellow cashmere top is £350, while the long green shirt dress is £550.
A chunky, hand-knitted green waistcoat, which costs £390, brings in the ‘wild texture’ of the gardens and can be worn in a number of ways – layered, tied or loose, forward or backward.
Modern Italian artisan Francesca Garrone, 23, from Turin, said the waistcoat was one of her favorite pieces, adding: “We decided to use a heavier knit to represent the wild texture of the gardens – it also gives it a wonderful tactile feel.”
A muted cashmere cardigan, for £650, takes on the color of the wall.
The other pieces are dark green wide leg trousers for £495, a green silk wrap skirt for £395 and a classic white cotton shirt, with an oversized collar and cuffs to echo the exaggerated garden shapes, for £350.
It is the first collection to fully align with Yoox Net-A-Porter’s sustainability and circularity design guidelines, and its first carbon neutral collection.
The Fall/Winter 22 collection lookbook described how “the collection’s silhouettes highlight the juxtaposition between the wild natural elements of the gardens and the structured, man-made elements, such as the large topiary that lines the thyme aisle and the Wall of Gifts”.
He adds: “Textures also play on this contrast, in clashing checks and chunky knits paired with soft silks. This is also reflected in the feminine take on classic men’s tailored pieces, inspired by traditional gardening workwear.
The first collection of Modern Artisans men’s and women’s clothing was launched in 2020.