“A true tribute to James Sugden’s lasting legacy was his insistence that we work with a young student from the Royal School of Needlework, Sarah Mower, MBE, a leading industry advocate of upcoming talent across the fashion industry instigated the meeting with ourselves and Lizzie Lowe. We were fortunate to be involved in her project creating a couture piece in her family tartan for her hand embellishment. Which proves amazing things can happen when like minds work together.” – Stewart Christie & Co
Crossing Borders is a bespoke menswear collection in collaboration with Stewart Christie & Co, who are the oldest tailors in Scotland established in 1720. They specialise in bespoke formal menswear. The collection includes a three-piece embroidery suit, loafers, a collection of socks, ties, cuff links and tie bars.
The backdrop to Lizzie’s luxury embellishment is the MacNeill tartan -which represents her own Scottish Heritage worn by members of Lizzie’s mother’s side of the family, when they crossed the borders to live in England.
Lizzie has used the inherent design within the tartan as an artistic map to allow the co coordinating and strategic placement of the contemporary embellishment on the historical tartan, enhanced using luxurious contrasting velvet.
The primary technique showcased through this collection is Goldwork embroidery. Lizzie has taken some of its traditional stitches and used these in a contemporary way to embellish the tartan of the suit. Whilst the basic stitches of this technique are relatively simple, the use of specific wire combinations makes the embroidery very detailed and intricate.
Mannequin in photograph kindly loaned by Paul Smith
Photography by Laura Meek
Sometimes Lizzie has have been rigid with her embroidery techniques - keeping within the boundaries formed by the tartan weave but sometimes she has also consciously pushed towards and then cut across these boundaries. Cutting across the natural borders of the fabric is an artistic reflection of the determination required for her family to move from the familiarity of their home in Scotland and their innate willingness to explore new ideas .
Across this collection are also the underlying military themes around exploring new lands with purpose - with the use of gold castle designs in precise soldier like formation down the side of the trouser leg, the regimental familiarity of the badge design on the jacket pocket and the embroidered velvet buttons reminiscent of those found on ceremonial tunic sleeves.
All parts complement each other in terms of material, design and colours and together provide a bespoke, luxurious look within an exclusive and unique high-end quality menswear collection.
Photography by Laura Meek