After appearing in the December issue of British Vogue, in which he described his personal style as “right twice every 24 hours … like a stopped clock” Prince Charles has expanded his sartorial horizons once again this week, launching a collection of clothing in collaboration with luxury online fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter. The luxury yet sustainable 18-piece capsule collection was created through a partnership between the royal’s charity, The Prince’s Foundation, and the fashion retailer, which saw young artisans from the UK and Italy trained in traditional craftsmanship skills and digital tools as part of The Modern Artisan Project.
The result is a collection of 10 pieces of womenswear and eight pieces of menswear-inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, and “the convergence of art and science” in his works, as well as the stylistic preferences of Yoox Net-a-Porter’s existing customers. The womenswear pieces, which manage to be both classic and modern, include fitted suits, a burnt orange blouse with a pussy bow and a navy blue dress with a cinched waist. Similar colours also feature in other pieces of the collection, such as a burnt sienna-coloured cardigan that can be seen paired with wide-legged pants.
Da Vinci’s inspiration is evidenced through details such as knots, while his draping techniques are recognised in the collection’s pleats, folds and bows, the collection’s description states. Additionally, details such as the “wide legs and midi lengths to the cinched-in waists and pussy bows were design choices informed by customer preferences” from Yoox Net-a-Porter’s 4.3m customers. The men’s collection also features timeless pieces, such as a camel-coloured coat, a white turtleneck and a deep red knit cardigan with buttons, with the clothes ranging from office wear to slightly more casual options.
Data from consumers informed details of the menswear as well, such as the inclusion of a drawstring waist on a pair of more casual trousers, while da Vinci’s “fascination with architectural details” served as additional inspiration. To create the collection, the young artisans learned advanced technical production skills, such as “industrial sewing, pattern drafting and quality control,” as well as how to handle luxury fabrics including wool, cashmere and silk, with the pieces designed in Italy by students from Politecnico di Milano’s Fashion in Process school and crafted in Britain.
Prince Charles previously discussed the importance of teaching these skills, telling British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful: “The British fashion textile sector is of enormous importance. But the trouble is, it requires constant investment in young people and in the development of real skills.” But while the collection ensures luxury through its fabrics and expertise, at the heart of the project is sustainability – a value embraced by Prince Charles for more than four decades. “I happen to be one of those people who’d get shoes – or any item of clothing – repaired if I can, rather than just throw it away,” the Prince of Wales told Enninful.
To create a collection of clothes that could be “passed down through generations,” a “conscious selection of suppliers” was chosen. Every item was made using natural and organic materials where possible, with the cashmere and wool made in Scotland and the organic eco silk sourced in Centro Seta in Italy. Additionally, customers will be able to learn more about the pieces through a digital ID placed on each item, which will provide the story behind the product, information about the materials used and the artisans who made it, and how to properly care for the clothes.
“I’ve been enormously impressed by the efforts, the ideas and the vision shown by the artisans from the UK and Italy. Hopefully, they will take away a great deal of skill and understanding of sustainable approaches to design and manufacturing that they can apply to their own businesses or future careers,” the Prince of Wales said of the new collection. “The key for me is to rediscover the importance that nature plays, understand where natural materials come from and how they can be used in exciting and innovative ways. After all, nature is the source of everything.”
The new collection will be sold on Yoox, Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and The Outnet from Thursday 12 November. All profits from the sale of the collection will go to The Prince’s Foundation to develop further textile training programmes specialising in preserving traditional techniques.