Friday, 20 September 2013

Purer than the driven....cashmere (think it's too early for snow, don't you?)

Pure Collection

You may have seen Pure Collection catalogues dropping out of the woodwork when you ripped open your Sunday papers. You may have seen their banner ads online. You may have even heard their name mentioned around York as the latest place to shop. But if you haven't let me fill you in on who and what they are. Pure Collection is one of the biggest online and catalogue retailers of cashmere in the UK. Started 11 years ago as a catalogue brand they have since upped their ante by expanding into the world wide web and are now bucking the retail trend by actually opening some stores instead of closing them down.

Now I think cashmere is a little bit wonderful, a true wardrobe hero. You can style it up, dress it down and it goes with almost anything. The sheer beauty of cashmere is that it is the one of the most luxurious fabrics on the planet and Pure Collection have transported that luxury into your wardrobe. How very kind of them. Last week I was honoured to go and see the new Autumn/Winter Collection in the York store and do some styling for some of their customers at a preview evening.

SELFIE ALERT!!! Wearing a washed Silk Blouse and
Cashmere Roundneck Sweater

Some things I found out whilst I was there:

  • The cashmere crop can only be harvested once a year.
  • Said crop originates from goats in Mongolia.
  • It is too warm in the UK for said goats to survive that's why they thrive in Mongolia  where it is mountainous and cold. Brrrrrr....
  • It takes 4-6 goats to make 1 jumper.
Ever wondered why the price of cashmere differs so widely on our Great British High Street? Pure Collection uses the longest fibres of cashmere to weave their jumpers which cost the most. Brands like M&S use the shorter ones which cost less but will start to pill more when you wear them. There are also different weights of cashmere: 1-20. 20 being the thickest (called Gassato), 1 being the finest (called Featherweight.) 

So what of Pure Collection AW13? Just heaven. I love a roundneck and some jewels so the jumper from their Core Collection suited me down to the ground and what a revelation in the washed Silk Blouse: modern asymmetric hem, set in sleeves AND IT FITS OVER THE GIRLS!!!!! I struggle BIG TIME with shirts as they usually 'pop' open over the bust which not only ruins the line of an outfit but also exposes your bra. Classy. But the washed silk blouse runs true to size and the buttons stayed closed, the fabric sat flat to my breastbone and all was well in my world. 

Other beauties which caught my eye were the Soft Wool Coat (the almond colour now with a 9 week waiting list after recently being featured in the Telegraph fashion pages), the wonderful Portland bag in buttery soft leather and the Pashmina Shawl in modern camel which is perfect on a long haul flight or for just looking awesome in. 

Do you want to know what else is great? The scarves also come in 3 lengths and they make an excellent Christmas gift for that person who you really should know better....but don't. The brand is also ethical and sustainable - TRUE FACT. The factories where the cashmere is spun adheres to western working hours and conditions and the Pure Collection goats are a well looked bunch so much so that Pure Collection has received a 100% sustainable accreditation. 

So leave your pre-conceptions about cashmere at the door and head over to Pure Collection for the ultimate winter wardrobe. But check out how fit the shop-fit is first:

Pure Collection do their own cashmere care liquid.

The shop fit screams quirky luxury 

The story of the Mongolian goats - check out the mini jumper!!

The wallpaper in the fitting room - yes please.


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