Fashion designer Henry Holland shares his top 5 tips for styling knitwear
As designer Henry Holland launches his new collection in Debenhams, he gives Katie Wright his top knitwear tips
When it came time for Henry Holland's new knitwear collection, the designer decided a knitting class would be fun. As a London Fashion Week veteran of more than 10 years, does the designer want to impart his knit and purl knowledge to press and bloggers?
Well, no, it turns out it won't be Holland doing the teaching, because he can't actually knit himself.
"It's basically all I do whenever I'm doing events, I think 'what do I want to learn how to do?' Let's have a French class!'" he explains in his typically sardonic style.
"But knitting was probably a bit ambitious," the Lancashire-born designer admits, laughing (yarn experts Wool and the Gang are on hand to help with pom pom making instead).
Didn't he learn at school? I ask.
"No. My first school, it was an all-boys school, it was very traditional, so there were definitely no knitting classes for the boys," he says.
He may not have picked up any knitting needles himself, but the 35-year-old says he's enjoyed designing the Knit Happens collection for Debenhams, with whom he's collaborated for the last decade on affordable womenswear collections, in addition to the high-end offerings of his eponymous label.
"It's been really nice to look at one category in isolation and do different yarns, and play with print and textures and different things, so it's been quite fun."
The range of jumpers and skirts is in Holland's typical technicolour style with animal prints and glittery embellishments to boot.
It's got the designer excited about winter fashion, but there are a few key styling tips he's keen to point out first - and they're as funny as they are functional.
Here are Henry Holland's ultimate knitwear rules...
1. Think about what you're wearing underneath
"There's nothing worse than being too hot and not being able to take your jumper off because what you've got underneath has got spaghetti stains down it.
"So I would say layer it and make sure that you're prepared to get a bit hot. Living in London, however cold it is, you can still get sweltering hot on the Tube, so you know that you'll have to take it off."
2. Style a jumper with a skirt
"We did three pleated midi skirts in the Knit Happens collection that were created to pair with the knitwear, so I would definitely style it with one of those.
"I just think it gives a really nice silhouette that's really easy and ageless and it's a really easy outfit to put together - and it's a bit different to a pair of jeans and a jumper."
3. Bigger is better
"The jumpers in the collection are quite oversized, that's partly why we paired them with something like the midi skirts because it's that long, loose silhouette that's in everyone's collections at the moment.
"Everything feels more louche and a bit less uptight. I think everyone's feeling the pressure with lots of things and would rather just dress a bit more like 'leave me alone'."
4. Take inspiration from Holland's famous friends
"Alexa [Chung] always has amazing knitwear, out of my friends she is a big fan of knitwear, she's got some amazing knits in her collection as well. And Grimmy [Nick Grimshaw] always loves knits.
"I would put Alexa in the pale blue jumper, and I'd put Grimmy in any of it because I just tell him what to wear!"
5. Watch out for fluffballs
"I do wear a lot of knitwear, although it does tend to get stuck in my beard.
"It's quite annoying sometimes, you can spend all day at work and then you get home and you've got a hairball at the bottom of your chin or a bit sticking on your lip that you can't seem to get rid of."
The H! by Henry Holland Knit Happens collection is available now at Debenhams