Once again mining Britain’s military history for inspiration, Nigel Cabourn looked the Royal Air Force and the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force who patrolled the skies during World War II.
Showing a women’s collection for the first time, Cabourn adapted the flying suits, flight jacket liners, and sheepskin leather Irvin bomber jackets worn by the WAAF into cool androgynous pieces, with outerwear taking a starring role. A white sheepskin coat was worn over a matching vest and khaki shirt and black paratrooper trousers, while a black shearling coat was boyishly cool.
Knitwear was charmingly rustic; big, cozy sweaters alluding to the homemade knitwear stitched by loved ones at home during the war.
The palette for both men’s and women’s collections was drawn from shades of RAF blue and battledress tones, with lots of navy, khaki, beige, black, with pops of sky blue and claret.
The sheepskin Irvin jacket was a key style in the men’s Cabourn’s Authentic line. The custom of British fighter pilots to paint symbols onto their flight jackets inspired the triangular motif that appeared handpainted in yellow on the back of one jacket and knitted into a charming shawl-neck cardigan.
Paratrooper jumpsuits were updated into boiler suits with zips at the ankle to taper the leg, and smock shapes came in blue tones. A multipocketed camouflage cameraman jacket was worn with matching trousers and a red funnel-neck knit in combat-ready ensemble.
A touch of navy tweed in two- and three-piece suits added a touch of officer’s gentility.
For his more relaxed Lybro line, Cabourn channeled the uniforms of the ground staff and mechanics that supported the RAF. Cue overalls and coveralls with utilitarian pockets, jersey T-shirts and sweatshirts, and cotton drill pants.