Behind The Designs: Welcome to Winter, with Holly Marler
INTRO TO HOLLY
Meet our Creative Director, Holly, who joined us in October last year, having come from Liberty, Temperley London and Alexander McQueen. Her background as a print designer brought a refreshed purpose for prints, technique and artistry, as well as an authentically emotive ability to story tell through product.
As we open a new season – Holly’s first season at Cath – she takes us through her inspirations and favourite pieces from the season.
Welcome to Winter
Our design team work on each collection more than a year in advance, so when I first joined, our Winter collection was one of my very first pieces of work.
My real focus was finding a way to embrace our heritage – and all the things our customers know and love us for – but with a fresh face of modernity, so that our collection felt new and exciting, too.
To do this with honesty, the most important thing I wanted us to reclaim was our artistry. The painting. Actual hand painting, sketching, drawing. The sharing of ideas, the sourcing of inspiration. And capturing that whole process so that we could share it with our community.
It’s one of the biggest things working with Lee McQueen taught me – the importance of storytelling, the true artistry that comes alive from having a true meaning behind the creative.
And so, our winter collection started with a blanket. For the birth of both of my daughters, I made a patchwork quilt, with my favourite pieces of print and collected fabrics. My favourite patch was an archive Cath piece – Ribbon Rose – because, to me, it really evoked the feel of old French Linens. The ones famous in Spitalfield, a gift from the Huguenots heritage when they relocated from France to East London. In the early days of the brand, it would be vintage scraps of fabric and stories of heirloom craftsmanship that inspired our rich archive of authentic prints with a vintage feel.
Our drawing direction from this was not just about recreating a print, but inspiring a way of redefining how our prints are created. This celebration of artistry, this heritage of craft. Intricately laced through our prints, wiggle details are rough and in progress, like embroidery stitches and selvedge markings. Each inspiration has a provenance. And every provenance a meaning. It’s as if you glimpse the sketchbook they came from through the print itself.
Our team refocused on engineering artworks and the placement of print – every corner, every line placed with care. So that from a tea towel to a silk scarf, each piece has had the same amount of love and attention to make it a work of art.
From here, The Rose Revival was born - a loving embrace of the rose as a defining emblem of our identity and iconography. And a muse for finding new ways to regenerate and creatively explore our icons.
Across our prints, you’ll find barely-unfurled rose buds drawn to symbolise new beginnings. Bouquets of bound roses, a refreshed juxtaposition to our signature bloom. Rose-dotted backgrounds as a loving nod to another icon, the button spot. And boldly blooming roses with orange petals – classic but unexpected.
For Home, we wanted to re-inspire the curator amongst our community, by offering truly beautifully crafted homewares that you can add to your collection over years and years. It’s what I loved most about Cath’s heritage prints, that every season you could come back and add another piece. Maybe none of it would match perfectly, but that was the beauty. It was a celebration of our own icons in print.
For Fashion, sustainability is hugely important to me. And offering conscious clothing has never been more important. I wanted our team to create forever-treasure pieces – timeless, joyful, practical for every day – so that, first and foremost, we are kind to our planet by making clothes made to last. But it was crucial that we introduced more and more sustainable fabrications into our range. For Winter, we’ve started that ongoing journey with EcoVero, organic cotton and recycled yarns.
For Bags, I’m most excited about Recycled Rose – beautiful, elevated yet practical bag shapes in hand-painted prints and earth-kind materials. But it’s also a joy to revive our Cath Classic shapes for a new era for our brand.
And for Cath Kids – we wanted to create a new kind of kidswear. For a generation of children that can be and do anything. With endless possibilities laid out before them. For winter, we’ve begun to push the parameters of our design heritage, built on a wonderfully whimsy nostalgia over decades, to offer a new and considered layer of purpose and story.
Keep Kind, Wear Your Hear On Your Sleeve, Christmas … there’s so much to love through our Winter collection, so much I can’t wait for you to see. I really hope you get as much joy from it as we had creating it.