Realm & Empire Spring/Summer 2015
by Lars Tibben / posted on 14/05/2015
Realm & Empire has a unique access to the garment and print archives at IWM for design inspiration. The SS15 collection draws on the theme of demobilisation of the armed forces at the end of the Second World War and their re-assimilation into civilian life, and also the personal stories of Second World War artists.
The austerity and practicality that followed the implementation of the CC41 Civilian Clothing Order (the original resource for British workwear) can be seen throughout the collection in pared down utility and workwear styling, traditional fabrics and practical details, all brought up to date with Realm & Empire’s signature contemporary design twists.
Hardwearing and functional materials underline the ‘demob’ theme. Traditional herringbone is used for the Bacton Artisan Rifle Jacket, an update of the popular Artisan Jacket with new scoop, asymmetric pockets in contrasting fabric. Practical cotton canvas is employed for both the Wyton Utility Blazer and the lightweight summer Calshot Bomber Jacket.
Inspired by the make do and mend attitude of the period, the new Realm & Empire range recycles, reuses and restyles. For example, the brand’s popular Trench Floral Print from SS14 (inspired by a fragment of wallpaper found in a 1914 dugout) is reworked with a contemporary fern print in camouflage colour combinations to create a distinctive new pattern for tees, sweats, cargo shorts and utility pockets.
Other highlights include the Anwick Officer Waistcoat and the Duxford Utility Parka. For a demobbed officer, a civilian suit would not be complete without a waistcoat and this one is fully lined and crafted from 100% cotton herringbone. The Parka takes inspiration from the Utility Clothing Designs of 1942. Hooded, lightweight and with a fish tail, this has a traditional orange lining, Trench Camo Print patches and two large utility pockets.
A fresh consignment of jerseywear features graphics inspired by authentic images and artwork of Second World War artists, from Cecil Beaton’s ‘Civvy Street’ photos to the paintings of war-artist Roland Vivian Pitchforth. Of particular note is the VE Day Tee which boasts a striking image taken by Royal Air Force Photographers of a ground crew on a RAF Bomber Command station returning the V-sign to a neighbouring searchlight crew.
In the 1940s knitting was a popular part of the war effort and this season Realm & Empire campaigns for good old British knits with the introduction of a lightweight knitted waffle-stitch crew and lightweight cardigan both in 100% Merino wool and made in Leicestershire.
Classic polos, shirts in cotton twill and chambray, and slim fit trousers and shorts in traditional hard-wearing chino cloth complete the collection.