Teatum Jones recently won the prestigious Woolmark Prize, which is not only a stamp of approval from the industry, but also provided a $100,000 cash injection. Previous winners have been Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.
As always, Rob Jones and Catherine Teatum’s starting point was a compelling narrative. Their AW16 inspiration was Agnes Morrogh-Bernard, a heroic English nun, who moved to Ireland in the 1890s and established the Foxford Woollen Mills in County Mayo. Morrogh-Bernard helped the local people overcome the crippling famine that had wreaked misery and destitution on their community. AW16 had a sense of venerable textile heritage, with some of the fabrics manufactured at the Foxford Mills, as well as luxury mills in England, Italy and France.
The collection was optimistic, with vibrant colours, hyper feminine shapes and amplified geometrics, inspired by ceramic tiles and rural Irish embroidery. It makes perfect sense that TJ should look to a fearless woman, who helped produce beautiful fabrics with philanthropic determination. In turn, Catherine and Rob are helping to bolster artisanal industry in the name of art and beauty.
As ever, these are not clothes for shrinking violets. The Teatum Jones woman is confident, audacious and delighted to stand out from the crowd. AW16 was filled with maximalist, opulent pieces; my favourites were the beautifully tailored coats and jackets.
With each season, Catherine and Rob up their game and the textiles are often the stars of the show. Every piece feels super-luxe, having been woven and constructed with meticulous attention to detail. For years I’ve been saying that Teatum Jones are destined for greatness; it’s only a matter of time before they become the next British super brand.