Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large
Who doesn't want a Bella Freud jumper? Emblazoned with irreverent slogans like "Fetish" and "Ginsberg is God", Freud's knitwear is cult and I can well-imagine that it will feature in the fashion history books as being among the items which the coolest girls of the day would most certainly have in their wardrobes. See Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and many more. The new chapter in Freud's knitwear is not so much about her way with words but her sweet sketches of references to her childhood country adventures in Sussex.
Bella has collaborated with stalwart brand of Britishness, Barbour on the collection which features birds, sheep, stalks of lavender and daffodils. "I was really just thinking about walking through the forest in Sussex and seeing all the animals and things I was obsessed with" Bella told me at the launch of the collection a couple of weeks ago. Her personal favourites include the rabbit because "he's quite Bauhaus" and the grey lambs "which feel quite Andy Warhol". Wildlife with a modern art appeal.
In fact, it's not just country japes which have informed Freud's designs but many other elements of her life too. She tells me how one of most inspiring recent experiences was visiting Sotheby's in advance of a big sale. "My friend works there and he was showing me around and we came across these extraordinary murals which had been transferred somehow. They looked so ancient. It's such a joy to come across those things" Freud enthuses. Then there is her whimsically beautiful observation about blossoms coming out on the trees "like ghosts" in February. These myriad visuals somehow end up feeding into seemingly simple jumpers.
This isn't the first time that Freud has collaborated with Barbour. There was a t-shirt collection last year but knitwear somehow feels like a more integrated step into the brand. "I feel very connected to Barbour's Britishness" Freud muses, "I really admire all the manufacturing which they do here. It's nurturing something". In turn, there's a definite feeling that this collection is another step in bringing a bit more fashion edge to Barbour. Obviously, everyone adores a classic wax jacket but the South Shields based family firm is making itself newly relevant with collabs with fashion-y names like Lady Amanda Harlech, Alice Temperley and, of course, Bella Freud- "I love that they are reaching out to embrace modern design and trends". And surely an outfit comprising a classic Beadnell coat and Freud knit is rather ideal for anyone's weekend?
Many designers speak of muses. Freud refers to her vision of "a young girl running around her country house in the moonlight in her slouchy jumper bearing that moon silhouette. It's so pretty but also sexy". It's a story which gives just the right dose of frisson to Barbour's wholesome image. According to Bella, this girl is Billie JD Porter who is "clever, pretty and deadpan". They met when Bella helped to re-design Billie's school's uniform and they stayed in touch. Now Billie is a model and presenter who works at Vice and would be "gorgeous and rebellious" wearing one of Bella's jumpers. There's a fashion fantasy to spark our Autumn/Winter shopping imagination.
Get to Barbour stores now to get the Bella Freud collection, prices from £89.