Masculine and feminine, hard and soft, structured and fluid – everything about Palmer//Harding designs screams contradiction, much to the delight of the modern-day woman. Here, we speak to the dynamic duo behind the British label, MATTHEW HARDING and LEVI PALMER.
‘Opposites attract’ seems like a fair way to describe your collective dynamic as designers, but which design element – if any – have you both agreed to disagree on?
That’s a good question. We think it would need to be on the approach to drama, such as an exaggerated proportion, fanciful detailing, or excesses of fabrics. It’s such an important element in the clothes and it’s what women love about our designs, but they also love their ease and versatile nature. So, we often disagree on the levels of drama to add to each garment, carefully trying to find the balance so that the end result can be everything our woman needs it to be.
Describe the Palmer//Harding woman in five words.
Smart, interested, self-aware, compassionate, driven.
You’re perpetually synonymous with the art of shirt-making. Any unusual shirt-styling tips you’d like to share with our readers?
After several seasons of wearing a shirt, the collar becomes one of the most difficult aspects to keep looking fresh. When this happens, it’s a great idea to take it to your local alterations place, and have them remove the collar and just sew on a simple binding. It changes the attitude of the shirt completely by removing the collar and refreshes the life of your shirt for many more seasons.
We’re obsessed with the silhouettes in the new autumn/ winter collection – what inspired you?
80s couture, but done with an approachable and easy-towear attitude.
At a time when the pandemic has steered people towards comfort food and even more comfortable clothing, what does being a fashion designer mean to you?
It means it’s time to listen. Our women have needs, and we need to cater to those needs – not try to force a zeitgeist that is no longer relevant. If comfort is king now, then let’s make fashion more comfortable.
It’s been a complicated year to say the least, so with all the uncertainty in the air, what’s next for the brand?
Apart from the traditional cottons that people know us for, we are also exploring romance in our collections a lot more and introducing more fluid fabrics. It’s exciting because being able to work in different materials allows a lot of freedom as designers.
“Our women have needs, and we need to cater to those needs – not try to force a zeitgeist that is no longer relevant. If comfort is king now, then let’s make fashion more comfortable.”
Palmer Harding collections are exclusively available at Saks Fifth Avenue, City Centre Bahrain.