If you've ever had a 'what to pack' conundrum, Catherine Quin's minimal, emotion-led designs are your safe bet option for a suitcase of thought out outfits. Despite the fact that none of us will be doing any travelling anytime soon, her 'capsule wardrobe' ethos means that every piece has been designed with a seasonless and a cohesive motive in mind; making her collections well suited  for easy outfit options while WFH, as well as on the road. 

We spoke to the designer about her next collection from her Distilled Wardrobe range, the Paris suitcase, and how dressing like we've got somewhere to go is something everyone should be doing while in quarantine. 

Can you explain what inspired you to create the 'distilled wardrobe'?
We created our ‘distilled wardrobes’ to take the decision-making out of packing and one less stress out of travel. I’ve always been concerned with how our lifestyles are evolving. Travel has become such an essential part of many women’s lives. I wanted to provide an antidote to decision fatigue and feel free on my travels, unencumbered by the weight of decision or the weight of my bag.

Inspired by Joan Didion’s ‘Packing List’ from her 1979 essay collection ‘The White Album’, Didion describes how her ‘Packing List’ was kept taped inside her closet door for when she had to leave town at a moment’s notice during her time as a reporter, removing the need for her to ask herself what to wear or pack. In the same spirit, Quin’s suitcases solve the challenges for today’s independent woman by ensuring clothing is easily packable, mix and matches together, for whatever eventuality, be it a work meeting or a cocktail party. We want to do more than just design clothes, we want to provide solutions.  

How did you represent Paris in this collection? What aspects of a city are you inspired by?
We were inspired by both the haute couture history of Paris and the fashion icon, Inès de la Fressange. Navy plays a central role in the colour palette and references the Parisian Icon, synonymous with enigmatic Parisian style, Inès de la Fressange is the patron saint of Navy, regarding it as a lifestyle rather than a colour. The homeland of haute couture, the feathers pay homage to the great Parisian plumassiers. The opulence of the feathers is matched by playfulness of the polka dots, which run across a number of dresses and shirts. Again, a nod to the haute couture heritage of Paris when Christian Dior debuted his “New Look” line in the 1940’s, featuring heavily dotted fabric.

How do you think women's style differ between the three other cities you've been inspired to make collections of?
I would say the Parisian women’s style is concerned with sophistication, focusing on timeless pieces, whereas the Italians are more seductive in the dressing. In London women tend to take a more casual approach to what they wear.

Now that we’re mostly working from home, what are your tips on how to dress comfortably without just wearing pyjamas?
As much as I like pyjamas, I find dressing properly helps with my productivity. It’s important that you choose fabrics  that are comfortable, fluid and feel soft against the skin. I’ve been living in our new silk wrap dresses – a more elevated take on a silk dressing gown.

What are your tips on trying to stay sane through this period? 
During this time of uncertainty I think it’s important to create some sort of routine and structure to your day. We’re so lucky to have the internet – I’ve been doing online yoga classes in the morning, then answering emails and general admin work at a workstation I’ve created in my living room. Then in late afternoon I focus on cooking things I normally don’t have the time for. I also think some meditating helps so I’ve been trying to do 15 minutes a day to keep calm and centred.

More More More!

+ Interview | Sophie McKay

+ In Conversation With Dr Tara Swart

+ Surprise Me!