I adore Margaret Howell clothes. If only I were rich enough to be covered head to toe in such things. It strikes me that there's something of the new rationalist about her stuff - beautiful attention to detail, but easy to use. In a 2004 calendar which came free with a pair of trousers (bargain!), she notes:
"White space, graphic windows, new logo, basic and utilitarian, selected colour ... These are the elements that have influenced our design and product development over the past twelve months."
She's big in Japan, not surprisingly. Her clothes adapt, beautifully. "A lot of fashion seems to have that throwaway quality about it. We have to appreciate fashion, but my pieces are more like applied arts. It's like designing a chair: I want something that will stick around ... It's not going to be chucked out after six months," she says. "It wears in, becomes something you love. It's about the life of the fabric." Design dissolving in behaviour?
Addendum: Her store on London's Wigmore Street is perhaps that city's finest, in my opinion, with exemplary service, beautifully recessive interiors and a fantastic range of both clothes and furniture, as well as integrating regular exhibitions.