The Swedish retailer and heritage print brand are a match made in high-street heaven.
Alice is the news editor of Vogue.co.uk
Today fashion and interiors live side by side, one looks to the other for inspiration,” H&M creative director, Pernilla Wohlfahrt, tells Vogue of how she happened upon the high-street brand’s latest collaborator: GP & J Baker. “In my work I see that a print often tells the story, whether that’s in your wardrobe or at home.”
GP & J Baker has been telling stories through its wallpapers and fabrics since the company was founded in 1884 by brothers George Percival and James Baker. When H&M came calling a year ago, the print specialist was pleased to open up its vast library, which includes wall coverings and soft furnishings supplied to the royal household. “It’s a real joy seeing our cherished designs given a new lease of life in the fashion arena,” GP & J Baker MD and creative director, Ann Grafton, adds of the “fascinating process”.
The design teams whittled down thousands of prints to a selection of GP & J Baker signatures, including “Magnolia” painted by William Turner in 1913, “Hydrangea Bird”, which has remained in constant demand over the past 100 years, and “Oriental Bird”, a delicate trailing design featuring an exotic crested bird. “We knew we wanted to use prints from the amazing archive instead of creating new ones,” Wohlfahrt explains. “Our idea was to disturb the flowing silhouettes in the autumn collection with decorative, geometric graphics.”
At first glance, the range of separates (H&M blouses, dresses, trousers, jackets and accessories are all given a GP & J Baker makeover) are a maximalist's dream. Look closely, however, and H&M has stayed true to the hand-painted details that date back to over 100 years ago, merely adapting the scale to suit each piece. “Working with authentic archive designs that have a history and beautiful hand-drawn quality is a fantastic solution for bringing a collection to life,” Grafton comments.