Last week saw the end of Marc Jacob’s diffusion line, Marc by Marc Jacobs as it was announced that the less expensive range would be assimilated into one super Marc Jacobs brand. Now, the creative duo behind the diffusion line, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, have announced their plans to unite and launch a luxury label of their own.
The news comes at a time when Bartley’s role as Design Director of the women’s ready-to-wear line was being questioned: would she stay or would she go?
Bartley previously ran her own eponymous label, Luella, for 10 years until it ceased trading in 2009. Now she’s set to move on from her role with Marc by Marc Jacobs, commenting that they’d put all of their “experience into making something that’s a reflection of us, of what we want to wear.”
Hillier meanwhile, will continue working as a consultant for key British fashion brands, alongside running her eponymous accessories line, as well as Hillier Bartley.
After quietly presenting their new collection to buyers at Paris Fashion Week in early March, the pair’s debut AW15 collection, under the name Hillier Bartley, will hit selected stores worldwide in August 2015.
It will feature women’s ready-to-wear, bags and accessories, all following a quintessentially British theme. The RTW collection will be made in the UK, with fabrics sourced from British mills while the bags and accessories will be created in Venice.
The designer friends told WWD that the brand can be described as “masculine elegance” – synonymous with Saville Row tailoring: “cloths, velvet, silk, merino wool and shearling,” across tailoring, dresses and separates.
Bartley said to WWD of the brand: “It is a culmination of everything I have learned as a designer and a woman, and is purely and defiantly about the clothes and fabrics. We have also looked at the women we admire, what we would want to wear and the inspirations that have been close to us for ages. Its ultimate heroine lies somewhere between Ian McCulloch and Katharine Hepburn. It’s about a woman our age, indie by heart, rakish and irreverent by nature, who is maturing into refinement and naturalness.”
Having met on the 90s fashion scene, former fashion journalist and designer Bartley described the new venture as “a very personal project which Katie and I have been working on for years,” confirming that the long-time friends’ decision was made long before they learned of Marc by Marc Jacobs’ fate.
Meanwhile, Hillier described the collaboration as a “reflection of us, of what we want to wear.” She continued: “Luella and I have always worked together in different ways. I’m really proud of what we’ve made – the craftsmanship, attention to detail and design. It’s been a real labour of love and I am really looking forward to seeing women we admire carrying our bags and wearing our clothes.”