Over the Hills and Far …

By Jenni Mann

From rock songs to traditional folk tales, blouses to sweatshirts; there are so many ways to express our love for the countryside. Escapism and crossing borders in travel inspires us in all art forms, especially in the how we dress ourselves. Let’s run over the hills and far away and see what clothes we find.

‘Cottagecore’ is the celebration of the aesthetic of returning to using traditional skills like baking and foraging, while connecting to nature and appreciating the wholesomeness of the great outdoors. On social media, this often takes the form of content creators in long floaty dresses or dungarees, taking part in homemaking or outdoor activities.

With the ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic sweeping social media by storm, it’s understandable that so many people have taken to the aesthetic, wanting to indulge in the countryside lifestyle after many have been cooped up in industrial cities and towns for most of this year. Rolling hills, fresh air and long candlelit tables full of opulent dinners – the perfect escape. 

If it is a whimsical style you are drawn to then a gorgeous example for you may be Faitfull, a female-founded brand that appears free and easy, yet still contemporary.

Based on the modern traveller, the brand captures the essence of a hazy summer in rural landscapes, exploring the beautiful countryside the world has to offer, with a film camera in tow. Filled with dresses that give the look of always floating in a gentle breeze, and dainty eye catching patterns, Faithfull is taking the world over the hills and far away, one prairie sleeve at a time.

One place we love to see the countryside (that’s not on a rural walk) seems to be jumpers. Where better to show off a place you wish you were, than on yourself?

Sunnei define themselves as an ever-evolving, experimental, multidisciplinary project rather than a fashion brand. Sunnei’s multicolor landscape jumper is one picture perfect example of our love for representing beautiful rural scenes. It could remind the wearer of a bright and breezy day soaked in sunshine.

Another example of a jumper showing off the picturesque countryside is Smythe’s landscape sweater. Perfect for winter, giving that cosy feel with an autumnal scene of sheep and rolling hills that could put anyone in a calm state of mind.

Gant, famous for their shirts and sportswear, was started by 2 brothers and their father in 1949. The father, Bernard Gantmacher, had been making shirts for other labels under the company Par-Ex with his business partner since the 1920’s. He was encouraged to branch out and establish the family run business after his sons received University degrees in marketing and business.

Now with headquaters in Sweden, Gant have teamed up with English designer Luke Edward Hall to create pieces that are a beautiful blend of typical English and American looks and playful colours, and full to the brim with character. In this latest collection, you will find rural references galore; the perfect way to escape from metropolitan life, and get over the hill and far, far away.

The collection transports you back in time for a preppy take on 1970s rock stars. Picture them on a blustering British walk, heading back to a manor house, where they’ll recline with a gorgeous jack russell, in their velvets, silks and exuberant colours. 

With luxurious materials, striking colour contrasts and a dreamy flair, this is something new and exciting for Gant. 

Luke Edward Hall brings with him his signature style, that can be described as a colourful disco full of ancient greeks, with the odd 1940’s Englishman dancing among them. His signature artistic style shines through in the brilliantly patterned dress and shirt, that are bursting with vibrant pattern and colour. 

“The collection I’ve created with GANT takes its inspiration from my home in the English countryside, and how I spend weekends there with friends,” says Luke Edward Hall. “I was inspired by pieces in the brilliant GANT archive. I also looked to my own wardrobe of bold patterned knitwear and vintage tailoring. The look is very English, both practical and elegant, with striking color combinations and playful touches.”

You can surely see the inspiration from his home shining through, with a jumper featuring a picturing a quaint british countryside scene. And it’s not just the affection he has for his home that has inspired this work; he also cites artists such as the Italian Renaissance painter Filippino Lippi as references.

This collection feels like more than just a curation of aesthetically pleasing looks, but also a look into the personal loves and inspirations behind Hall’s art. 

A love of landscapes being translated into jumpers is a favourite of those nostalgic for home, the countryside, or memories of that perfect countryside retreat.

The Gant x Luke Edward Hall collection will be available from the 5th of November online and in flagship stores. Maybe we’ll be spotted on a picturesque walk in a pair of those fabulous corduroys.

If you enjoyed this, have a read of Changing Lanes or Art Garden.