BEHIND THE DESIGNS: Harry Potter x Cath Kidston
A look behind the scenes at the magic of storytelling
Discover the craft behind the magic of our Harry Potter x Cath Kidston collaboration. A partnership of colourful raconteurs, our print team immersed themselves in the endless detail inspired by the Harry Potter films that have brought the magical stories to life andthat wins the hearts of generation after generation. Our limited-edition prints bring those stories to life through our own hand-painted commitment to narrative, for truly collectable gifts fit for the most magical of seasons.
Ahead of the collection launching, we caught up with our Design Team on their best loved inspirations and favourite prints and pieces. As well as the process behind bringing to life a collaboration for a story so iconic, in a unique, special way true to our near thirty years of print heritage at Cath.
What does Harry Potter mean to you?
I love the detail in the narrative. The descriptive nature of the creatures, films, books, props and magic, every piece of story is so wonderful for a wild imagination. I always loved the comradery in Hogwarts between the characters, my first memory of Harry Potter is desperately wanting to be in the dorm rooms in Gryffindor.
What’s your favourite Hogwarts House? And what traits inspire you as a designer?
I want to be a Slytherin, I love how chic their costumes are in the films (just look at Malfoy’s mum) but I love the traits of all the houses, each one inspired our scarf pyjama’s which is my favourite part of the collection.
I would like to be a Gryffindor but I honestly think I’m more of a Hufflepuff – I love how they value inclusivity and loyalty.
I’m a Hufflepuff, I was sorted on The Wizarding World website. They value hard work, dedication, patience and loyalty, which I’d like to think is similar to me. Also, its Cedric Diggory’s house, who I loved.
The prints feature so many magical elements from Harry Potter, where did you start with this and how did bring them to life in a Cath way?
In the beautiful detail, we wanted to tell those wonderful stories with our illustrations, with as much depth and character. I also think the Harry Potter films and Cath share ‘humour’ and creativity in their story telling. We wanted people to look at each print and see something new and wonderful every time.
For our Icons print, we took inspiration from our own archive anniversary icon print, which has elements of Cath icons that make up what we are best known for. When designing this print, I’ve included some famous icons inspired by Harry Potter as well as some funny characters and unexpected props (my favourite being the tiny Platform 9¾ ticket and the Mandrake)
Designed by Emma, our Sweeties print is packed full of magical sweets from the Honeydukes sweet shop – we’ve drawn some of our favourite sweets in our Cath handwriting to create a dense ditsy which is bursting full of fun and colour – it reminds me of the train cart scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with Ron and Harry. “Anything from the trolly, dears?”
The Icon PJ stripe was based on Harry Potter’s vintage style PJ’s he wears when he wakes up in the hospital wing at the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve added special icons from the story to make it more magical.
The Hedwig blossom print is a rework of our British Birds archive print. We combined a classic floral Cath print with magical Harry Potter elements and characters. We used a dark navy ground to resemble the magical nights sky with Harry flying past the moon in the background.
How was the design process for you? And what are your favourite pieces?
I spent a lot of time re-watching the movies with my nephew and picking out his favourite parts and props from the scene.
I think the scarf print is truly unique, with each design crafted to suit each Hogwarts house. The Silk Sorting Scarf is a perfect design for all fans – depending on the way you wear the scarf you can fit it to the house you relate to the most.
The collection features 4 beautiful designs, one for each house, can you talk us through these designs and the motif artworks in the middle?
Each design is inspired by some of our favourite moments in the narrative and movie, my favourite being the Ministry of Magic scene which has the hall of amazing shocking green tiles. I love that the designs have captured the special moments inspired by Harry Potter with each delicate illustration:
For the Green scarf, to represent house Slytherin, we have the Ministry of Magic scene with those shocking green tiles. For the Red Gryffindor scarf, an iconic scene for the most iconic house. For the Hufflepuff scarf, we went for the Knight Bus scene – because the purple tones in the icons in the border reminded me of the vivid colour of the purple Knight Bus, complementing the Hufflepuff yellow. And for Ravenclaw, we went for representing their blue through for the Weasley’s magical Flying Ford Anglia.
Once the print team have worked their magic, how do you then design the products?
In product design, we take inspiration from the costumes in the film or story we are looking at, as well as the overall feeling created by the theme and the prints. For us Harry Potter is all about the magical imagination, and we wanted to create some garments that we felt encapsulated that. We designed the girl’s dress and cape using a beautiful tulle, appliquéd with tiny, glittery gold stars, which reminded us of looking up at the Great Hall ceiling at a clear night sky. The Tulle cape was inspired by the student's robes, decorated with metallic gold lightning bolts, made to be a true statement piece for any aspiring witch or wizard.
The tiered girls dress, another favourite of ours, was created with four tier panels, each to represent the houses and their colours. We loved the striking colour combinations and how the dress could be worn no matter what your house is! The white peter pan collar is embroidered with a star and a lightning bolt, giving it that extra magic touch.
We know for homewares, especially for Christmas gifting season, it’s so important for our customers that they’re collectable and beautifully crafted. So, of course, we designed four of our Rosie mugs, one for each house with the house crests and all the recognizable house icons. You can buy your favourite house, they’re perfect for gifting, or you can collect them all.
Our Tea-For-Two combines all the lovely icons from George’s print with the blossom flowers to add a hint of Cath. We also have the double walled glasses (which so many of us have at the top of our wishlist) - we used the iconic Hogwarts placement and added gold foil stars to create a little bit of magic.
And our placement Cushion uses George’s scarf print, with the beautiful illustration of the students arriving at Hogwarts. The rope tying all the house colours together is embroidered in gold thread.