Author: kettlewellcolours

Kettlewell Colours use seasonal and tonal colour palettes to create garments that are of an exceptional high quality using only the finest yarns. Have you discovered your colour?

Meet our new Colour Ambassadors

There’s something about September, that fresh-start, back-to-school feeling that comes with this time of year, that feels right for new launches. So hot on the heels of the arrival of the A/W17 collection, we are excited to introduce our new colour ambassadors – four inspiring women who will be flying the flag for colour and demonstrating how they blend Kettlewell with their own inimitable style.

 Spanning the four seasonal colour palettes, Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer, as well as all ages and body types, our Colour Ambassadors will be joining us for the next six months, sharing styling tips as they put together a series of great wearable looks and showing us how they incorporate colour into their everyday lives, from work to weekend. We hope you enjoy meeting them!

Would you like to be a Colour Ambassador for SS18? If so, we would love to hear from you. Please email us a photograph and a brief description of why you love to wear colour to


Next week: Our Autumn Colour Ambassador Ilka puts together looks from the A/W collection


Photographs by Katharine Davies

How to care for your wardrobe

From moth solutions to the best hangers, we asked Julia Dee, founder of Total Wardrobe Care, to share her secrets for keeping your clothes pristine all year round

 What would you recommend for tackling a moth problem?

A few moths flying around is not an epidemic. But for the price of a lunch, a moth box, which is a sticky pheromone moth trap, monitors the problem and should be kept in each room throughout the year. The moth season is May to October but once the moths have got a hold they will happily live throughout the year in your wardrobes. They eat keratin in natural fabrics and fibres, which include your clothes, carpets, blankets, upholstery and fur and sheepskin. If that happens to have skin and hair particles, a bit of food or baby sick combined with dog hair then it’s a smorgasbord of delight for the moth. The female is programed to eat mate and lay eggs preferably in a dark and undisturbed area with a food source. The male just wants to mate. Then the baby (larvae) eats his way out of his cocoon and chomps into your clothes.


Keep clothes clean and protected.

Keep wardrobe and drawers closed.

If it’s a walk-in wardrobe keep doors and windows closed.

Put jumpers into knitwear bags.

Add natural fragrances to the wardrobe to repel, i.e. hanging moth sachet (the female moth doesn’t like strong smells.)

Keep a sticky moth trap in every room.

If you start to get more than five or so moths in your moth trap… call us and we can talk you through the next stages.

 Is it best to organise a wardrobe by colour or outfit? 

In my experience, the easiest way is to put clothes into happy families – i.e. trousers together, jackets together, etc, and then colour coordinate. If outfits are put together you may miss a new and interesting combination. So when you open your wardrobe in the morning to get dressed, you may think I really want to wear that skirt, then you take it out and match it up against tops and jackets and something different may jump out at you. Then it always goes back in the same place.

What hangers should I use? Are there specific ones for different items of clothing?

Hangers are very important to keep your clothes pristine in the wardrobe, so that even after six months of hanging there, once you pull them out to wear they won’t need ironing and there are no funny creases in the middle of your skits or lines across the knees of your trousers, or stretched areas in the sleeve head of your Kettlewell top.

Jackets need a wider shoulder area to fill out the sleeve and mimic your shoulders.

Trousers ideally should be hung from the waist with peg hangers. If you don’t have the hanging length in your wardrobe then a trouser hanger with a good padded hanging bar so you don’t get the knee crease.

Skirts also need the peg hanger, and should definitely not be hung from the hanging loops at the sides, as the skirt will dip in the middle and be squashed and have horrible yawning creases down the front.

What are your tips for caring for cashmere?

Try to keep it as clean and protected as possible.

Gentle hand wash.

Put in to shape and dry flat if possible. Light steam iron if necessary.

Use the cashmere comb to de-bobble, don’t use scissors or an electric de-bobbler as these can both slip and, ooops, a hole!


If they are to be hung use the rubber non slip coat hanger that is 38cm wide and curved so that it doesn’t leave misshapen shoulders.

If they are not being worn, then store out of season knits in a knitwear bag.

Is there any wardrobe maintenance I should be doing throughout the year?

Twice a year, in spring and autumn, have a mini detox. Take everything out, re-evaluate, get any repairs done, take to charity or sell anything that is not wanted. Check everything is hung correctly on the right hanger and that everything is in order. Have a big clean of the inside of drawers and cupboards, then spray an anti-moth linen spray on the wood and replace all anti moth scented sachets,

 Can you share any helpful ironing tips?

  • Invest in a good steam iron.
  • Test on the inside of the garment for temperature.
  • Do read all care labels before you cut them out.
  • To stop shine, take a tea towel and wet it and wring it out so its damp all over, put this on top of the garment and then press gently, this will stop any shine.
  • To steam only, hang the garment on a hanger and on a hook, then put the iron into the upright position and gently guide the steam over the garment, almost stroking it, this can help gentle fabrics drop their creases.
  • Let the garment cool before it’s folded or put back into the wardrobe.

 What should I do with any unwanted clothes?

Find a local charity shop. Visit them before landing on them with a large box to see what they are collecting. If the clothes have a well-known desired label, try selling in a second- hand shop, or on ebay. If it’s an expensive designer piece, try Rebelle, Hardly Ever worn it, Vestiaire, or ShonaMac – websites that have a good following and might achieve a better price. Then any money raised can be put towards a new key piece or be given to charity.

 Is it best to leave alterations to the professionals or is it ever worth trying yourself?

I have run an alterations business for 25 years and this is how I learn about my clients’ needs for wardrobe-care products. A good seamstress is like a good hairdresser or beautician – hang on to them. It’s best to get a personal recommendation.

Try to get the garment fitted by the alteration professional – sit down, wear the correct shoes and underwear and ask to see the back view.

There is nothing to stop anyone doing their own alterations if they have good sewing skills. You know who you are!

 How should I go about doing a wardrobe edit? How do I decide what goes and what stays?

The first step is an image overhaul. Find a good consultant to do your colours and style, which will give you the blue print for your wardrobe, a job that is quite daunting and hard to do on your own. I would also recommend taking advice from a wardrobe buddy (or your stylist). Commit to do it for each other – get rid of the kids, switch off the mobiles, get the rations in and then go for it. It will need your best buddy to say to you, “How many ugly cardies do you really need?”, “How many gardening jeans is it necessary to have?”, ‘Really would you want the man of your dreams seeing you in that matted old dressing gown?” A friend will ask pertinent questions you know deep down. It’s also worth reading Marie Kondo’s Magic Art of Tidying. My rule is: Does it spark joy? Or as William Morris said: “Do not have anything in your home that you do not believe to be useful or beautiful.”

What is the best way to store shoes? 

This really depends on space. Oh, for a lovely shoe cupboard built with slightly slanting shelves or drawers that pull out. Most people don’t have this luxury, so other options include the bottom of the wardrobe, under the bed, or perhaps even an old book case.

 I never seem to get it right when it comes to packing for a weekend break. Any words of advice? 

This really depends on where you are going and what you are going to do. Is it a quick weekend city break in Europe with 10 kilos or packing the car and driving off?

I have invested in a collapsing two-foot garment rail from Morplan. Then I hang all the clothes I really want to take and then cull, until you have the correct number for the days and nights. Bearing in mind that garments can be worn twice or more and rinsed out.

There are lots of lovely packing lists on line to get you going!

Any other tips for prolonging the lifespan of my wardrobe?

I think if possible have a good mix of some investment key pieces and some cheap and cheerful which can be updated every season. Then general care, dry clean or launder, alter or repair and a good hanger.

 Total Wardrobe Care is offering Kettlewell customers 20% off products on its website until September 30 2017 using the code TWC17


Colour conversation with designer, Jackie Piper

Victoria Whitbread and Jackie Piper of Designed in Colour

In the latest of a series of Colour Conversations with people we admire from the world of colour, Melissa talks to Jackie Piper, one half of a dynamic design duo that is Designed in Colour, which produces an award-winning selection of vibrant design-led homewares.

What inspired you to launch Designed in Colour?

We have always been colour geeks (a lot of designers are!). Victoria and I both spent many years designing and developing colourful product collections for other brands, including a huge range for PANTONE, the global colour system used by professionals. Having been involved in all these wonderful creative licenses for years, we hankered after a brand of our own and so set up Designed in Colour as a focal point for our own colourful home collections. In 2015 we launched, and here we are today.

You recently introduced a collection of British Colour Standard mugs, inspired by the historical 1930’s colour matching system. Can you tell us about it?

This has been a work in progress for about two years. We knew the historic colour system existed from our respective design training and spent many hours scouring the old colour books, thinking how lovely it was.

The light-bulb moment was that maybe we should be the ones to bring this back for the 21st century. We then set about digitising the old colour swatches made originally of wool and silk ribbon with a high-tech colour scanner, so that the colours could be reproduced accurately on products today; like on our lovely bone china British Colour Standard mugs.

 From rose-coloured tumblers and cobalt blue wine glasses to tangerine orange place mats, every product is a colourful gem. Do you have a personal favourite?
I do! I love our hand-blown coloured glassware. It is durable (a must with my family), dishwasher safe (another must). I have a long shelf across our kitchen window where keep them all in various tones, which creates a dazzling stained-glass-window effect in the kitchen on a sunny day.

How much of a role does British heritage and nostalgia play in your brand?

The heritage of the system and being true to the original system colours and all the incredible work done in the 1930’s is very important. Matching azaleas and beetroots – with incredible accuracy, I might add, as I cross-checked a great many with a digital scanner ­– was amazing given the technology used at the time.

There is nostalgia there, by definition. They cared so much to match the specific collection of colours for bunting, for example, not just in the UK but around the then British Empire. They matched colours such as Post Office Box Red and Battleship Grey, a part of our national consciousness, and even squirrels and pigeons. The mind boggles! We are happy to be true to the original and also to add more to the system. Watch this space.

What do you think it is about colour that captivates and excites people?

Everyone has a favourite colour – one they love, another they hate.Who is not united or divided by that avocado green of 1970’s bathrooms, or a particular car colour, like British racing green perhaps, or the colour of a beloved piece of clothing? It is a part of our lives from the moment we are born. Colour surrounds us and informs our world; it is a part of food, drink, clothing, an inescapable force around us. We cannot help but be captivated (but perhaps some of us get more excited about colour than others!).

What do you think it is the next big thing in the world of colour?

Ooh, the next big thing. Well, I still think the greys will continue to be a big part of home décor; it works so well in so many periods of home, and as many have found is not drab or dull but cool and calming and a great neutral backdrop for the rest of your worldly goods, which can then be in stronger, brighter tones.

To move it on a step, I think adding a dash of metallic in amongst this – a silver feature wall, for example, in a bathroom or bedroom that picks up and reflects light at different times of the day – can really transform a space. Coppers and brass effects in tiles or paints in key locations, like a splashback in the kitchen, can be really timeless, as well as on trend, and they all work well with the neutral greys.

Does your own home reflect your love of colour?  

My own home is mostly chalky whites, greys and natural wood. There’s an unpainted door from 1930, all flaky and crumbled, which we have left. I don’t want to change its story.

How colourful is your wardrobe, and what shades do you gravitate towards?

OK, well here is where everyone can roll their eyes. I am a typical designer in that most of my wardrobe is black and shades of, with a few white and navy shirts and a bit of washed out denim (sorry!). With my clothing I have to admit I am far more boring than with the colourful products we design.

Have you ever had your colours analysed, and if so what season are you?

I have not and I now want to do this immediately! As a red head I always felt a natural affinity with autumn. I love all the colours that are a natural part of that season. I have always felt like I blended in better with golden autumn leaves and smoky tones than say the colours of spring. I also love autumn dressing; woolly jumpers, cosy wraps and boots. That has to be my season.

Last great colourful buy?
I am not sure if a pet counts but I bought the most amazing ginger fluffy Silkie bantam chicken for my birthday. It was only afterwards that my family pointed out that it matched my hair and I had basically bought myself, but in chicken form. I really didn’t see it at that time!

And finally, if you had to pinpoint a favourite colour, what would it be?

These questions are hard! I will always love Lapis Lazuli blue; a powdered version of a colour the artist Yves Klein used a great deal. It is almost electrically dazzling if you see it in its pure form, and is a natural mineral that occurs as that colour. Incredible. Imagine finding a chunk of that a few centuries ago! We have a small piece of it which we brought in a market in Morocco – it is like having a bit of magic in a pot. Every now and again we find it and just look at it for a few seconds. It is stunning stuff, and literally colour in its purest form. 

Autumn/Winter17 Press Day

Whoever said summer is the quietest time of year, has obviously never worked at Kettlewell! Last Tuesday, having only the week before wrapped up a fashion shoot in London, we headed back up for our autumn/winter 2017 Press Day – a sneak preview of next season’s collection in association with our friends at Red Leopard. Fashion writers, editors and stylists, working for titles from Vogue and The Times to the Evening Standard and The Pool, as well as some of our favourite style bloggers, turned up to have their colours analysed by the experts and to view the new collection in Red Leopard’s wonderfully stylish penthouse setting in Battersea.

And even the fact that the mercury outside was hitting 28C didn’t dampen the press’s enthusiasm for finding out what new styles and colours we have in store for autumn/winter, from jackets and skirts to tops and dresses. As new collections go, this one was particularly well received, with our faux-suede Alexa biker-style jacket in five colours proving the biggest hit (getting the journalists to try them on was easy – getting them to take them off was the hard part!), closely followed by merino knitwear in shades of carmine red, emerald, Indian ochre and teal, and our elegant new Paris jacket (with the star range of handbags and make-up bags also getting their fair share of oohs and aahs, too). Now all that remains to find out is what you, the customer, thinks of the new collection when it hits the website in six weeks’ time.

 The Autumn/Winter collection launches on August 30 2017

Colour conversation with the artist, Vanessa Bowman

For this week’s blog post, another ‘colour conversation’ with people who champion colour in their work and everyday life, I’ve been talking to the Dorset-based artist, Vanessa Bowman, whose work embraces colour and observes the beauty of everyday objects, from a bunch of garden flowers to a striped shell and a bowl of lemons.

 I love the simplicity of your compositions. What inspires your choice of subject matter?

It is largely dictated by the seasons, as I centre the painting around the colour and shapes of the flowers. I then work in shapes and colours through objects such as jugs, cups and found objects, which relate to each other in the composition.

In spring and summer, I often paint hedgerow flowers or flowers from my garden, and going into autumn there are the warmer colours of berries and hips, along with accents of last of the summer garden flowers. Winter is mainly about painting bulbs such as hyacinths, paper whites, or snowdrops – cooler colours and muted greys. Colour pops come from accents of a bright cup or vase, or perhaps a tangerine or lemon to lift the painting.

Can you describe the creative process?
It involves setting up a still-life on a table in my studio, where I observe in detail, say, a jug of flowers, mapping out their shapes in pencil. I usually paint on card or board or primed canvas. In pencil, I then draw in shapes of objects or fruit around that image to create an overall composition, and start applying the oil paint, which I use fairly thinly, almost like watercolour, thinned down with painting medium. I build up layers of colour until I feel that an overall balance has been achieved.

Do you have a favourite flower that you return to time and again in your paintings?  

Snowdrops, for their beautiful simplicity in shape and colour, and hellebores in spring for their delicate, subtle colour and beautiful markings. I love painting irises, centaureas and geraniums, as well as anemones and tulips – in fact, most flowers appeal for their infinite variety of colour and interesting shapes and form.

As an ‘Autumn’, how much is your seasonal palette reflected in your art?

It’s reflected in the way I am often drawn to those colours in the flowers and objects I select to paint. My favourite jug is a wonderful mustard yellow, and I went through a period of painting with a lot of teal (against ivory anemones and a jewel-like deep red radicchio).

I love the autumnal colours and markings of winter squashes and pumpkins, alongside the rich shades of dahlias and chrysanthemums.

Describe your studio…

My studio is at the bottom of my garden, and is a glorified cricket pavilion! It is being replaced this summer, but will still stand in my vegetable patch, surrounded by trees, flowers, soft fruit and the hills beyond. It’s a real sanctuary away from the house.

Can you sum up your painting style in three words?

Colourful, naive, patterned.

Which artists influence your work?

Mary Fedden, Matisse, Winifred Nicholson, Anne Redpath, Piero della Francesco, St Ives artists, Vuillard, Picasso and many more…

How does colour make you feel?

Colour plays such a key role in my paintings. I get great joy from finding the perfect foil for, say, a yellow jug against a grey background. Generally neutral colours make accents of bright or opposite colours ‘sing’ in a painting. The intensity of pigment that you can achieve with oil paint is a large part of this.

 What colours form the basis of your wardrobe?

Largely neutral colours, which I pair with an accent of a brighter colour with a scarf or jumper or jewellery. I’m a fan of yellow, teal and warm brown shades.

Last great colourful buy?

A beaded necklace with an orange neon tassel!

And finally, do you have a favourite colour?
Mustard yellow, but I also can’t resist a gorgeous magenta in my paintings.

For further information about Vanessa’s work, visit

Photographs by Katharine Davies

Top tips for a colourful workwear wardrobe

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, as the old Ella Fitzgerald song goes. But what about the dressin’? Somehow, getting that right can feel anything but, especially when you throw all those summer events into the equation. At this time of year, the question we’re repeatedly asked by our customers is what to wear to summer occasions, such as weddings , Christenings and garden parties, as well how to put together a holiday wardrobe (our customers always seem to be going on holiday, and I’m all for that – long may it continue!). Thankfully at Kettlewell, holiday wear is one thing we’re not short of – all our vibrant tops and tees and cool summer dresses means that you are only ever one click away from the perfect outfit, and of course there’s the colour combinations gallery if you’re in need of some tonal inspiration.

We’re also frequently asked for advice on what to wear to work, whether it’s returning to the work place after having a baby, embarking on a new career or simply finding out what works best when the mercury soars, as it has in the past week or so. Our customers want to know how to appear smart, put-together and crumple-free – and, yes, summery – without losing their professional edge.

So for this week’s blog post I’m stepping behind the camera to share my tips for injecting colour into your work wardrobe. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you dress in head-to-toe yellow for that client presentation, or turn up at the office a vision in tangerine, but rather team neutrals with a colour pop or two in your seasonal palette that will help getting dressed that little bit easier in the morning and provide a talking point over the water cooler. In a good way, of course.

Saluting the sunshine hues by Melissa

Did you spot Kettlewell in The Times this week? T2 had dedicated the front page and a double-page spread to our favourite topic, colour, and specifically how to wear it this summer. Fashion Director Anna Murphy was telling us all to move beyond blacks and neutrals and embrace the season’s sunshine hues, and for those overwhelmed by all the colour choice on the high street right now, Kettlewell was the place to go to find the colours that work best for you. It’s always great to get a mention in the national press and to take part in any conversation about colour, so we were thrilled to be included.

Talking of summer colour choices, we’ve been poring over Pantone charts and mood boards in the studio this week, choosing colours and prints for our Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

With Pure Zen, Living Garden, Drawn Botanicals, Mystical Tribes and Neon Tropics among the predicted style trends for 2018, it was a case of assessing a range of potential prints to identify ones that would best work for our styles and fabrics, as well as, of course, our customers. Then it was down to the serious business of choosing new colours, with each of the four seasons, Spring (me), Summer (Sarah), Autumn (Claire) and Winter (Anna) selecting the shades for their respective palettes from literally thousands in the Pantone charts. It’s rather like a group of people in a restaurant intently viewing the world’s longest menu, imploring the next person to go first before making their own choice.

The key is to leaf through the Pantone charts, colour by colour, and hone in on the shades that you are instinctively drawn to, with an eye on the style it would suit. With 150 shades already in the range, it’s no easy task to find ‘new’ colours.  Winter is the hardest season to work with, as the colours have to be spot-on:  intense and vibrant or icy and sharp, with no shades in between, but the three others have plenty of variation either side. After hours of intense colour scrutiny, we had whittled it down to our favourites.

Heliotrope, blue jewel, shell pink, dove grey, azure and pink geranium have been our bestselling colours this summer, with the apple butterfly print and red and white Breton stripe among our most popular prints. It’ll be interesting to see which of the shades we’ve just picked out will be topping the charts this time next year.