April 09, 2024

Notes on a collection

Despatches from the newly stocked rails of our SS24 collection

Creating a collection for Cabbages & Roses is always an exercise in at once looking forward and gazing back over our shoulders to golden days past. Squinting into the sun as we usher in a new season ripe with possibility is the hope-giving stuff of spring renewal. Our abiding sensibility, meanwhile, always pulls us back, drawing our imaginations into beautiful lives lived, now and then.

“This collection has a crop of new vintage-inspired floral prints and lots of new stripes. It is feminine and joyful while also being comfortable, wearable and classic,” says our creative director Violet Dent, deftly summing up our founding ethos: to make clothes steeped in romance, all while nodding towards the florals that we once knew our grandmothers in and bringing both literal and evocative comfort and joy. And, like the wardrobes of our forebears, these are clothes that last a lifetime, invulnerable to the passing whims of fashion; endlessly pleasurable to wear; and suffused with the solace of nostalgia.

The new collection’s longevity is underscored by the beautiful fabrics from which it is constructed. Violet explains, “For SS24, we have printed onto voile, cotton cambric, seersucker, drill and linen for pieces that will take you through the seasons.

"We have soft wool coats and jackets to throw over summer dresses and waxed cotton pieces for the inevitable English summer. Our summer jersey is made from beautifully delicate ivory organic pointelle and the knitwear is made from fine red cashmere and chunky navy organic cotton.”

Amongst our time-honoured crisp white dresses and those that dance delicately with florals, there is a fresh focus on stripes in our SS24 collection – from subtle candy varieties that flit across dungarees and dresses to expressive and wide red stripes that sing of the season. The joy of the latter is rich with allusion, suggestive both of the seaside and of summer carnivals, a heady summer cocktail of ebullience and joy, as it dashingly adorns the neatest cutaway jackets, loosely relaxed paperbag skirts and floor-grazing overcoats.

Sweeping waxed outerwear, meanwhile, marries practicality with romance, their sublime A-line swish more than equal to April showers and the caprices of British Summertime.

A symphony in soft pinks and jewel-toned raspberry hues, the collection is threaded through with crisp whites and gentle blues, in amongst which there are new prints aplenty to discover and delight in. A crop of new designs, all printed in England, include Greta, a vintage-inspired summer print with faded raspberry roses and a soft ivory background; and Brigette, with its fine stripe and delicate floral print, which is based on an antique quilt Violet found at a market with her mother, after whom the print is named (and who founded Cabbages & Roses all those years ago with Christina). The affectionately named Checky, meanwhile, is a pink, oversized gingham with soft blue and yellow floral windows.

Taking us a little further from the rolling hills that frame our Somerset HQ are the exuberant and bold Flora, which was hand-printed in India and named for one of our delightful team of cabbages; while Floral Argenti, a classic Cabbages fabric in faded pastel pinks and greens, whisked us away to Italy, where it was handwoven just for us. All our woollens – each one perfect for the seasons betwixt and between – are sourced and spun in Scotland.

Asked to name her hero pieces for the season, Violet pauses, considers, and then lists: “The Gertrude coat in Red Stripe (pictured), the Agatha Coat in Checky, the Perry Skirt in both Red Stripe and Checky colourways, the Carnival dress, the Herbert Dress and the Cabbages Kaftan.”

Each one, along with its abundantly excellent company, is ideal for skipping into this new season – and afterwards all the springs and summers of which a whole lifetime is built.