Last Saturday I headed for the wonderfully colourful Gudrun Sjödén Monmouth Street store, excited to get to see the new Spring 2014 collection in person. Sjödén's spring collection is strong on print design and a must-see for any fellow fashion fabric addict. There are graphic and naïve pattern motifs inspired by Nordic artists Tove Jansson, Vera Nilsson and Siri Derkert; Pre-Raphaelite organic floral patterns embellished with embroidery and smock stitching; bold colourful earthy prints inspired by women pioneers and the rich colours of Sub-Saharan Africa. These fantastic fabrics have been cut into beautiful, functional and wearable designs – don't take my word for it, go and see them yourself! Perhaps the most perfectly practical of all Gudrun's garments this season (and essential given the current wet weather) is the Kamelia raincoat. As brand ambassador I'm lucky enough to get to road test this garment and am keen to share my findings.
|Gudrun Sjödén Kamelia raincoat and Chilli eco-cotton shawl|
The Kamelia raincoat features a floral print on a soft organic cotton fabric – it has a smooth 'brushed' to the touch texture which is backed on the inside with a water-repellent material in a deep orange colour. It's a lightweight garment with a generous hood secured by drawstring and toggles, has a popper fastening centre front and two generous front pockets. It's available in three colourways.
Deciding which colour to pick took me a good half hour of trying them all on and much musing. At first my eye was drawn to the 'dala red' but I eventually to decided leave my Schiaparelli pink hued comfort zone and venture into 'neutral' territory. There aren't many fashion designers that could get me to look twice at what is essentially a beige mac, but then Gudrun Sjödén does neutrals like no-one else. The 'dark neutral' has a burst of citrus light, bright orange in the trailing flower design with a dot of magenta that completely transforms the surface of the garment. I decided that the colour tones were a good match for my greying brown hair and the coat felt simply sumptuous to wear.
I've worn the Kamelia raincoat every day for the past six days and it has kept me dry in cold pouring rain, cool in warm windy drizzle, has endured a two and a half hour train journey on a packed train (from which it emerged uncrumpled) and today was christened by a seagull on Brighton beach (easily dab cleaned with water and a tissue)! The hood stays up and keeps my ears warm in strong winds but importantly still gives good visibility when turning my head to cross the road. The medium sized coat is roomy enough to wear with two jumpers underneath but with its A-line shape also hangs beautifully if I wear it over a dress. It's a coat that's too good to keep just for rainy days.