It's the statement coat of the season that nods to the military trend: double breasted with brushed gold buttons, an oversized collar and longline silhouette. Here, design assist Joanna Henning talks inspiration, design process and the final look.
The military trend has been really dominant recently on global runways and street style, with the theme often seen in quite a strong and obvious way. The challenge for us as designers was to make sure we have our own Country Road take on it.
Our approach to the trend has been more subtle. It’s more of a hint to military, rather than being a true representation of the trend, which gives it a softer, feminine feeling. This has been represented throughout the winter range through trims and subtle details like oversized pockets and buttons.
With this particular coat, the military inspiration can be seen in the brushed gold buttons, oversized collar and high welt pocketing. The longline silhouette is also military inspired and masculine yet, at the same time feels feminine – when all buttoned in it hugs the waist to create a beautiful shape.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
As a designer one of the greatest parts of the role is being able to draw and sketch designs. We like to explore when drawing and the process is about being able to evolve those drawings into something that feels right for the brand. So your first drawing might be something really extreme and you explore and develop the design from there. It’s that fluid motion of being able to draw and use your hand that is really important. With computer programs you don’t get that natural creation of line that you achieve by hand.
Once we’re happy with the sketch we then transfer that design to digital. The drawing will also be placed on to a range board so we can see the collection come together as a whole – we saw this military coat as a key piece for the range. Those military details had to link back with everything and we were quite conscious of this piece through the ranging process.
The next step is to send sketches and measurements to our factory. We then go through the sampling process which is normally two to three samples per design and we communicate back and forth with factory. When each sample arrives here at head office, we try them on both our fit model and ourselves, which was especially important with this jacket – we wanted it to feel tight and feminine. We didn’t want it to be too loose and the fit of the sleeve and through the waist were the key areas of focus. We wanted to keep that subtle military feel with a winter weight garment that’s why we went for this heavier melton fabric. We liked that it has movement and a softness to it, so it’s not too stiff.
We saw the coat working with chunky knits as well as more feminine, silky blouses. The knits really elevates that feeling of winter and warm cosiness. However, if you wear it open, with silky feminine pieces, then it’s playing with that contrast of masculine and feminine. We love how all the layers and lengths create movement and feel really fluid.