#2016 – Hillier Bartley

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Hillier Bartley, formed by Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, is a label offering womenswear created by real women. The brand is already widely recognized for its Anglomania attire: at a first glance, the idea’s based on the wardrobe of an English aristocrat, who belongs to a classy gentlemen’s club. But then, the elegance goes Absolutely Fabulous non-chalance. The designers’ eternal love for 70s West London bohemia is oozing in every single piece of their spring-summer 2017 look-book. Discussing their inspirations, Luella named everyone from Zandra Rhodes to David Hockney, who were the quintessence of colour, partying and fashion back in the times. It’s absorbing to see how these two female designers evolve during their design process, and succeed in keeping it true to their style.

 We’ve got Savile Row-inspired tailoring, all covered in multi-colour ostrich feathers; those thick knit sweaters became even softer with fluffy, purple fur sleeves; loosely fit, pink shirt was a nod to David Bowie’s legendary style. The musician’s spirit, who passed away in 2016, is present in these beautifully decadent, yet alluring clothes. As Luella Bartley told Vogue, “Talking about Bowie’s influence on myself or any other creative person is like talking about how oxygen influences the breathing process. Bowie, as the Thin White Duke in a double-breasted linen suit, felt particularly apt to illustrate a vague idea we had to imbue the Hillier Bartley woman with a louche ’30s glamour.” Just like the legendary musician, the Hillier Bartley woman has a style tendency for androgyny – note the importance of English tailoring, from cool blazers to high-rise trousers. Hillier Bartley isn’t about styling, though – if you separate the clothes from the looks, they appear to be (slightly eclectic) essentials of your on-the-go, everyday gear.

For autumn-winter 2016, the designers went for flea-market cool, which is so timeless and eternally relevant in London. One of the coats virtually looks like a re-cut and re-shaped Persian rug. A satin robe is worn as an evening dress according to the designers, with a pair of moccasins. Icy blue, velvet suit with a black, ribbed turtleneck underneath is a total-look worth investing. The intricately embroidered gown is a cherry on the cake – I’m obsessed with the way the oriental motif contrasts with the entire collection filled with feather elements, leopard spots and romantic, Fleetwood Mac flair. Oh, and the bags line is blooming, which is mostly on Katie’s part. From ‘Bunny’ clutches to collar-box bags with lilac tassels, the range is… yummy.

Looking forward to see Hillier Bartley’s next step in 2017!

West London Love. Hillier Bartley SS17

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Surprisingly, Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier decided to reveal their newest collection during the schedule time of Paris Fashion Week, temporarily leaving behind the idea of see it now, buy it now they did in previous seasons. So, what’s Hillier Bartley like for spring-summer 2017? The designers’ eternal love for 70s West London bohemia is oozing in every single piece of this look-book. Discussing their inspirations, Luella named everyone from Zandra Rhodes to David Hockney, who were the quintessence of colour, partying and fashion back in the times. It’s absorbing to see how these two female designers evolve during their design process, and succeed in keeping it true to their style. Hillier Bartley classics? Best expressed in seasonless kimono jackets, high-waisted pants and fringed scarves.

If other designers focused so much on consistency, their collections would instantly become  monotonous. At Hillier Bartley, consistency is a base for having true, fashion fun. For spring, we’ve got Savile Row-inspired tailoring, all covered in multi-colour ostrich feathers; those thick knit sweaters (a continuation of autumn-winter 2016) became even softer with fluffy, purple fur sleeves; loosely fit, pink shirt was a nod to David Bowie’s style. Hillier Bartley isn’t about styling, though – if you separate the clothes from the looks, they appear to be (slightly eclectic) essentials of your on-the-go, everyday gear.

Also, take a look at Katie’s accessories (this time, accompanied by Manolo Blahnik’s different-colour suede pumps) in the season’s bold fuchsia and orange accents. From illustrated clutches with tassel charms to paperclip earrings and signature bunny-bags, Hillier Bartley wardrobe welcomes brilliant, new additions.

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Female Contrast. Hillier Bartley AW16

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Tom Ford might have just started his new retail model – but Hillier Bartley isn’t new in this topic. Entering September, it’s the perfect (and most practical) time to think of refreshing your autumn wardrobe. Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley are here to help, in time, with their see-now, buy-now collection. The British duo has already built a ‘set’ of signatures: banana pants which  do look flattering; top-notch suiting in Savile Row manner; feminine dresses with chic tassell-scarves. Also, Hillier Bartley is recognized for its Anglomania attire: at a first glance, the idea is based on the wardrobe of an English-aristocrat, who belongs to an gentlemen’s club. But then, the elegance blurs with Bowie-esque, out-of-this-world knack. With that said, don’t forget Hillier Bartley is a womenswear label, filled with women’s clothes created by women.

For autumn-winter 2016, the designers went for flea-market cool, which is so timeless and eternally relevant in London. One of the coats virtually looks like a re-cut and re-shaped Persian rug. A satin robe is worn as an evening dress according to the designers, with a pair of moccasins. Icy blue, velvet suit with a black, ribbed turtleneck underneath is a total-look worth investing. The intricately embroidered gown is a cherry on the cake – I’m obsessed with the way the oriental motif contrasts with the entire collection filled with feather elements, leopard spots and romantic, Fleetwood Mac flair. Oh, and the bags line (Hillier’s part) is blooming. From ‘Bunny’ clutches to collar-box bags with lilac tassels, the range is wide and… yummy.

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Elusive Glamour. Hillier Bartley SS16

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The beginning of London Fashion Week for autumn-winter 2016 season begins with… a spring-summer 2016 collection coming straight from Hillier Bartley‘s studio. The brand, formed by Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, breaks the fashion system with the philosophy of “see it now, buy it now” – but don’t mistake this statement with Jeremy Scott’s Moschino sweatshirts which appear on-line a few minutes after the fashion show. Hillier Bartley looks at retail in a very realistic and smart way – the summer collection appears right now in the stores, and it feels just as fresh as the AW16 outings we see now from the other designers – the thing is that you don’t need to wait six months for one of these divine silk blouses or adorable tassel bags!

The London-based label’s second collection is as desirable, as inspiring One thing’s sure – David Bowie is present in these beautifully decadent, alluring clothes. As Luella Bartley told Vogue, “Talking about Bowie’s influence on myself or any other creative person is like talking about how oxygen influences the breathing process. Bowie, as the Thin White Duke in a double-breasted linen suit, felt particularly apt to illustrate a vague idea we had to imbue the Hillier Bartley woman with a louche ’30s glamour.” Just like the legendary musician, the Hillier Bartley woman has a fashion tendency of androgyny – note the importance of English tailoring, from the linen blazers to high-rise trousers. However, the designers behind the brand introduced something much more feminine, like the satin skirts and fringed crepe dresses we’ve seen in AW15 look-book. Hillier Bartley redefines “sexy”, but in a totally different, very elusive way.

The collection is available here.

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#2015 – Hillier Bartley

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Coming from the British designer duo, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, Hillier Bartley is a brand which breaks the industry codes. In February of this year, the first AW15 collection of Hillier Bartley was quietly presented to a few buyers; then, a mysterious Instagram account appeared which instantly felt like an intimate, designer mood-board. But how the new vision of these two contemporary designers really look like? The collection, just like the brand, reflects the edgy, slightly decadent style of the designers – it also celebrates British tailoring with a feminine twist. The tuxedo scarves, floor-sweeping dresses and knits gave the overall effect a seductive softness / slouchiness. Bartley has recently stated in the autumn issue of i-D, “as you get older you become so much more in tune with your own sexuality. This collection I feel is the sexiest thing I’ve ever done.” Even though it’s filled with men’s basics, it’s elegant, and indeed, sexy at the same time. Warm wool coats, fringed bags, satin blouses (“A satin blouse with no bra! That reminded me immediately of Madonna in a blue Gucci silk… Oh yeah, you could see her nips. That’s what I like” Hillier describedand lady-like silk gowns – and all of that kept in a moody, nostalgic manner.

But what makes this brand even more outstanding  is the way the women behind it do the “business”. As the industry is in a constant marathon and it doesn’t seem to slow its pace, Hillier and Bartley don’t want their baby-brand to become a fussy institution. “At the moment I feel like I could happily not do another show. I don’t think it fits what we’re a trying to do. I would much prefer to show someone, and talk about it myself and have them trying things on and feeling it” the designers said in the interview. Love this hearty and humane approach so much, as it’s frequently missed in today’s fashion. Wishing the designers to keep up with their exceptional project in 2016!

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