Rory Hutton X Solveig in Scotland
For some time now I have wanted to design a scarf inspired by Scotland. Having lived there for four years I thought it would be fitting to celebrate some of the things I loved most about this magnificent country.
Last summer Sotheby's invited me to a decadent evening at their new Scottish home in The Edinburgh Grand. Guests were invited to try on tiaras once belonging to Duchesses and other important jewels of Scottish lineage.
It was against this backdrop that I met Solveig Kerdranvat, dressed in rich velvet and tweed, I was immediately impressed by her charm and individual style, despite being of French origin Solveig embodies a nostalgia for a bygone Scotland and she has made it her mission to promote this magnificent heritage wherever she goes. Frequently entertained by lairds and even the Royal family at their Balmoral estate, Solveig’s brand of Scottishness is truly intoxicating.
We met again a week later when she picked me up in her Land Rover Defender, wearing a full length tweed skirt and looking every inch the highland lady. After driving through miles of countryside we arrived at her Scottish retreat, a Victorian lodge complete with baronial turret. Solveig is a most convivial hostess, we drank tea from antique china in the drawing room, surrounded by countless taxidermy stags and birds. Her partner, Johnny, even played some traditional airs on the bagpipes. This is the only place to be on a typically atmospheric Scottish day.
A true country girl, before driving me home Solveig had to tend to her Shetland ponies! This was the most postcard perfect afternoon I have ever spent in Scotland and I don’t imagine I will ever forget it.
As soon as I met Solveig at Sotheby’s I knew I wanted us to work together. In the past I’ve been commissioned to design pieces inspired by historic figures including Louis XIV, Dame Margot Fonteyn and King Ashurbanipal but Solveig is my first living muse and unlike the aforementioned I had to constantly ask myself would she wear this? I never once considered wether King Ashurbanipal would be pleased to ride into battle wearing the pink and navy scarf he inspired! Creating a design to fit a living person’s unique style is a very different and altogether more intimate experience.
Full of enthusiasm and encouragement Solveig was a delight to work with, she shared her collection of vintage shawls and scarves with me and we discussed the colours she loved as well as those she didn’t. On this project colour was my biggest challenge, Solveig’s wardrobe of rich tweeds is a world away from my natural tendency towards bright pinks and blues. But this is one of the joys of collaborating, pushing your personal boundaries and learning.
For the prints I created a series of lino-block motifs inspired by the nostalgia of Scotland as embodied by Solveig. This included images of stags, thistles, bagpipes, castles, sporrans, antlers and unicorns (heraldic symbol of Scotland). I couldn’t be more pleased with how it has turned out and I hope you will agree that we have created a classic design that marries the best of both our worlds.