For today’s Textual Conversation we had the utter pleasure of catching up with Carolyn Massey, head of design for British Heritage brand Lyle & Scott. After completing her MA in Menswear at the Royal College of Art, Carolyn launched her own successful and critically acclaimed label under her own name. She was awarded the NEWGEN MEN award by the British Fashion Council three consistent times which allowed Carolyn to present catwalk on the official London Fashion Week schedule. Then in 2012 Massey was appointed Head of Design at Lyle & Scott to create on brand concept and direction. 2014 is an achievement of a year for Lyle & Scoot who celebrate their 140 anniversary !!! The brand prides itself on seven brand pillars that underpin Lyle & Scott today. Its heritage is unrivalled. Its Britishness is a given. It will always be premium quality. Its close relationship with golf informs the design aesthetic. The Classic designs offer a timeless style. A contemporary outlook is essential. And a refusal to conform comes from a strong sense of self.
So for Spring 14 we see the brand looking back through the archives and delving into the roots of the brand to create an 11 piece premium line. The collection exclusively features the original ‘L&S ltd’ logo which is indicative of where the brand started. Alongside this, the embroidered tonal eagle sits proudly on the sleeve subtly recognising where the brand is today.
Unlike the bright colours the brand has become associated with due to its strong golfing heritage, the palette is drawn from the Lyle & Scott tartan forming sedated Scottish tones ofberry, blue, black, navy and ivory. Ohh and is only available for the anniversary year, so get your skates on. Ave a read….
If you could collaborate with one brand who would it be and why?
We have 2 really exciting collaborations coming up for AW14with 2 very different designers that are totally relevant to the brand. One is the Glasgow born Jonathan Saunders for the Scottish kinship and the other is Universal Works for David Keyte’s personal history & relationship with the brand. In the future I’d love to work with an artist, Lyle & Scott has such a history in colour, someone who could reflect that. Watch this space!
If you could give your teenage self advice, what would it be?
Trust your intuition. Know yourself. These things come after time and experience, as a creative I often don’t know why I’m doing things at the time, but know myself well enough these days to trust that part of the process.
How did you get into the industry, what was your big break ?
I studied a BA and then a Masters degree in Menswear. I’ve been lucky to have a few big breaks, working alongside some fantastic people. Getting sponsored by Topman to show on schedule at London Mens’ was always going to be a great highlight.
What track would always get you on the dance floor?
‘I wanna dance with somebody’ by Whitney Houston, clearly…
Who would your ideal dinner guests be ?
Oh wow.. that’s a question- Joseph Heller (Author of myfavourite book “Catch 22”), August Sander (Photographer who travelled through pre-war Germany photographing tinkers, vagrants and circus-folk amongst others- his book Citizens of the Twentieth Century is a firm favourite and a book I turn to for constant inspiration), Brian Clough (you’ve got to have one controversial character at the dinnertable), Massimo Osti (so that I can charm my way into his archive), Oliver Sacks (author of one of my favourite books “The man who mistook his wife for a hat”) and my Grandfather.
What piece of clothing best describes you?
I’d like to think I’m Churches’ monkstrap brogue. Black in winter, brown in summer.
What do you have to do after this conversation?
I’m preparing for a presentation to the business about how one of our new ranges should look.
Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it?
Always! Particuarly in my fashion student days. A rather fetching over sequined top springs to mind. My tutor at the time, the wonderful Ike Rust, told me I reminded him of an out of season Christmas bauble. It wasn’t the most the most stylish of tops! Now I tend to buy once and buy well, but I do get bored of clothes quite quickly.
What piece of clothing should every man have in his wardrobe?
Why a Lyle & Scott Lambswool jumper of course! Seriously though, its a really great piece, something we are really proud of, a true part of our 140 year heritage.
Who is your style icon? Why?
I’ve got some amazing print outs above my desk of guys wearing Lyle & Scott in the 80s – peoples dads, lads out watching football, boys in teenage bedrooms. These men are my style heroes and inspiration.
If you had one day to live what would be your biggest regret?
I don’t have regrets- it’s a waste of energy!
Lyle & Scott 140 Anniversary range