Looks from Kate Sylvester’s new Love Letters collection. Images supplied.
Kate Sylvester captured our hearts with her beautiful Love Letters collection which opened New Zealand Fashion Week 2019. Those winsome garments have just been released in stores and online so we can all get to play the romantic heroine in our own lives. The collection itself was of course inspired by love, with designer Kate Sylvester finding a box containing hundreds upon hundreds of love letters her parents wrote to each other during their courtship in the 1950s. Kate’s Love Letters range is a sentimental tribute to their love which captures the heart of their romance.
The new range is for Autumn Winter 2020 and is full of pieces that transition from the current warm weather into the chillier temperatures of winter. There are lots of thoughtful details that hark back to the designer’s parent’s romance with a nod to Kate’s father’s time away as part of New Zealand’s Territorial Army which inspired the military style tailoring on coats and suiting with utilitarian pockets. A leather oversized camel trench coat paired with over-sized wool trousers and matching beret heightens the military influence.
Kate’s mother’s charming 1950s wardrobe inspired the delightful vintage silhouettes with full skirts and nipped in waists that are complemented by twin set knits and fitted jackets. The designer utilised her mother’s love of flowers to add sweet touches to the collection with her favourite Mutabilis rose featuring on printed silk skirts and is stitched into intarsia sweaters. There’s a gorgeous sheer blue silk that is embroidered with fragile forget me nots, Kate’s mother’s favourite flower.
Every time her father departed for an Army deployment, Kate’s mother would give him one of her hankies to bring home upon his return. In keeping with that sweet idea, the designer has added a romantic keepsake, tucked into pockets, sleeves and waistbands of this collection. If that isn’t enough to melt the coldest of hearts, we don’t know what is.
When the Love Letters collection was shown on the runway last year it was styled with selected pieces from Kate Sylvester’s archive which was to celebrate the launch of Kate Sylvester Reloved. Fast forward five months and the online marketplace where customers can buy and sell preloved Kate Sylvester clothing and accessories is flourishing and a great spot to pick up the pieces you may have missed out on in previous seasons. Aside from showcasing the launch of Reloved the archive garments blended perfectly into the new range on show, demonstrating Kate’s commitment to timeless design and creating clothing to last a lifetime not a season. This is fashion that has not just heart but also a conscience.