How Rural Wrestling Inspires this British Heritage Brand

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Stella is wearing a tweed suit, merino wool socks, and leather walking shoes by Holland & Holland. Isabella is wearing a cotton T-shirt, tweed trousers, merino wool socks, and ponyskin walking shoes by Holland & Holland, and her own jewellery

Holland & Holland’s Stella Tennant and Isabella Cawdor are interested in “proper British eccentricity” – and that means embroidered velvet knickerbockers, they explain

“Cumberland wrestling is a tradition at a local agricultural show, the Holm Show in Newcastleton. It has other excellent activities too, like terrier racing and competitions for the heaviest onions, but Cumberland wrestling is particularly marvellous. The competitors wear white leggings with vests and velvet knickerbockers that have been embroidered by their adoring wives, mothers and girlfriends, so it’s this masculine sport with delicate feminine touches. You can just imagine the proud women cheering the men on, and it’s that great combination of two apparently incongruous things: men wrestling while wearing embroidered cockerels on their chest! Holland & Holland is a British brand and we have to give it some relevant local colour and humour. Cumberland wrestling is proper British eccentricity – how could you not be inspired by that?”

Both Stella Tennant and Isabella Cawdor grew up surrounded by the sorts of agricultural activities that might first seem disanalogous to running a fashion house (they are now at the helm of heritage brand Holland & Holland), but it is their homegrown devotion to British eclecticism that injects their designs with such joy. Case in point: One embroidered tie first took inspiration from an old family photograph, which prompted memories of Cumberland wrestling and the brilliantly bizarre characters from their respective childhoods. As Cawdor so aptly puts it, “We all get caught up in our own little worlds, but there are so many others out there.”

Hair: Naoki Komiya at Julian Watson. Make-up: Laura Dominique at Streeters using CHANEL Les Indispensables de l’Ete and CHANEL Hydra Beauty Micro Crème. Photographic assistant: Wilbert Lati. Styling assistants: Rebecca Perlmutar and Sunnie Fraser. Hair assistant: Cayla Kim. Special thanks to The Store Studios at 180 Strand.

The Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of AnOther Magazine is on sale now.