Margaret Howell spring/summer 1992, photographed by Koto Bolofo.
In this gentle fashion image, Margaret Howell’s tailored navy shorts resemble those worn in the 1930s. Her clothes blend memories of England with the pleasure of wearing worn-in country clothes. The look was revolutionary when she began in the early 1970s, inspired by nostalgic icons of British style, such as brogues, gymslips, sturdy tweed skirts and her father’s gardening mac hanging on the back of a door. Howell’s menswear and womenswear collections were launched in 1972, with an emphasis on tailoring. Howell has been so copied, it almost obscures her contribution but her linen duster coats, shirt dresses, floor-sweeping raincoats and tweed suits for women have an enduring appeal. ‘When I started out, I was only thinking about what I wanted,’ she told Vogue. ‘I liked quality and comfort … I was probably responsible for the move towards using men’s tailoring tweeds for women’s clothes.’
—Phaidon Editors, 1998