And the designer of the tuxedo suit for Diana: Margaret Howell
Margaret Howell was born in Tadworth, Surrey, England in 1946. She attended Goldsmiths’s College, London from 1966 to 1970.
In 1971, she started creating a range of accessories and in 1972, a line of clothing. These were popular, so in 1974, she established her own company and at the same time began collaborating with JOSEPH. She also opened a retail outlet. She also started making menswear in the 70’s.
In 1985, Diana Princess of Wales, chose one of Margaret Howell’s white tuxedo suits with a black bow tie, to wear at a Genesis concert.
Today she has shops and concessions all over Europe and the USA, as well as Japan. In 1995, she showed her first collection in London Fashion Week. Going into the 21st century, she is one of London’s leading designers.
By the beginning of 2000, Howell’s empire had grown to employ 300 people worldwide, with global sales of L30 million. She has capitalized on the popularity of British design in Japan, designing under license for the Japanese company Anglobal and has 70 shops and concessions there, in contrast to only 10 in her home country.
Her fundamental style is steeped in British tailoring tradition but with each new season she catches the prevailing fashion wind with a modern twist. She showed her Winter 2003 collection in her new flagship store on Wigmore Street in London.
Diana wore Howell’s brown cord knickerbockers at Balmoral in 1981:
In Autumn 2003, Margaret Howell joined forced with Japanese denim label Edwin to produce her first ever denim collection. She spent a year researching yarns and dyeing processes, and has launched classic painter’s trousers, five-pocket Western jeans and jean jackets lined in black cotton.
Howell specializes in classic ready-to-wear garments, created by adapting traditional styles and fabrics into fashion shapes. She favours pinstripes and suiting materials – wool, tweed and meltron – which she makes into riding jackets, tuxedo suits and tailored blouses. Her silhouettes are usually elongated and soft. She says: “when I started out, I was only thinking about what I wanted to wear, I liked quality and comfort. I was probably responsible for the move towards using men’s tailoring tweeds for women’s clothes.”