Inside a hotel in London, in a space with a deliberately derelict aesthetic, Merchant Archive’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection landed. Creative Director and Founder, Sophie Merchant maintains that her dream for the brand is ‘to create a collection worthy of a future archive.’ The collection, ‘A Common Thread’, in which Merchant explores the connection between ‘the naivety of the start of life’ and ‘the wisdom of later years’, all from a patchwork blanket found in a children’s book as inspiration, serves as that worthy collection.
Keeping the inspiration in mind, the outfits included string belts as thematic accompaniments to the looks, as well as child-like references in the prints, in the form of a painterly spot a child could have made from finger painting. The showspace boasted a cascading bed of multi-coloured yarn descending from the ceiling (a sight that could have been straight out of the Tate Modern) – a fitting backdrop to add to Merchant’s intention with this collection.
The garments, made from an array of coloured silk, wool, and organza, gave the collection a tailored, yet fluid feel. However, most of the audience’s attention for the afternoon was on the stunning, fully lined copper-toned silk gown as well as the emerald green, cuffed and collared ensemble. Merchant mentions how historical references were vital in this collection, as evidenced by its ruffled necklines, nipped-in waists and balloon skirts.
As a collection centred around a fictional patchwork blanket, Merchant certainly crafted a beautiful range this season – one definitely worthy of a future archive. Threaded with referential inspirations and careful thought, Merchant Archive stands as a brand of refined taste, high quality and excellent craftsmanship.