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PRESS RELEASE / Womenswear

modern rarity


modern rarity

This autumn winter 16 John Lewis will launch its first ever luxury, ready-to-wear label, modern rarity. Redefining luxe for today's modern woman, it offers a move away from disposable, fast fashion and instead presents a rare take on luxury with an ethos of fewer, better pieces.

The label redefines wardrobe staples as unique pieces with sophisticated cuts, luxurious fabrics and understated silhouettes creating an effortless, contemporary look that is affordable and dedicated to the very best quality and design. The label will arrive in stores and on on 8th September.    

The Journey of the Label

Designed in house and created by Jo Bennett, head of buying alongside Iain Ewing, head of design; the duo set out to create a luxury label that offers relaxed confidence and celebrates femininity.  They contemplated every stitch and considered each and every cut, fabric, silhouette and texture to create a 90 piece collection for launch. 

Every season modern rarity will create effortless pieces that complement each other, taking a fresh look at wardrobe staples, as well as nodding to the catwalk trends. Creating unique pieces that are non prescriptive, designed to be worn in many different ways; the label offers a fluid style that the modern woman of today can make her own.

The autumn winter 16 collection features pared back tailoring, luxurious knitwear and key outerwear. The colour palette is soft and sensual featuring rich muted and blush tones. The finest materials have been utilised including Italian spun cashmere and heavy-weight sandwashed silks to create modern, well designed wardrobe staples that are rare to find, will stand the test of time and will be cherished for years to come.

Our rare finds for Autumn / Winter 16

To add to the individuality and unique spirit of the label, modern rarity will seasonally invite guest designers to collaborate and give their own twist and build on the collection for that season - creating limited edition, rare finds.

For launch, modern rarity has invited renowned, Central Saint Martin’s trained, shirt designers Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding to design five contemporary white shirts, priced from £100 to £150. The capsule range plays with the language that palmer//harding have built their reputation on; innovative pattern, cutting and draping techniques along with internal belting, all features which have made an appearance to create modern, impeccably crafted shirts that focus on structure, volume and silhouette.

Our Favourite Pieces

The Trouser

Fluid, wide leg herringbone trousers, £120, add some relaxed tailoring to the collection. Beautifully soft to wear and flatteringly cut to sit just below the waist, with concealed fastenings for a smooth line. Made in Northern Portugal in an area renowned for expert tailoring.

The Knitwear

The funnel neck sweater in blush, £75, is spun with touches of mohair and wool for a touchably soft feel. With its relaxed, oversized fit, it offers the perfect, off-duty, relaxed style. Look 9 in the lookbook.

The Archive Print

Embarking on a journey of rediscovery, a key print for this season has been taken from the John Lewis archive in Berkshire. The unique floral print circa 1883 was uncovered after the team explored thousands of original artwork prints with the archivist and has been updated and re-imagined for the modern day in beautifully draped dresses, print wrap blouses, tops and skirts.

The Shirt

Utilising modern draping and cutting techniques, the head-turning palmer//harding cotton belted long shirt in white, £150, is sharply tailored with a dramatic drop back hem that cascades to the knees. Versatile to wear, the shirt instantly updates any look to something very modern, clean cut and directional.  Look 5 and 11 in the lookbook.

The Sequins

Statement pieces from the collection include skirts and camisoles that are embellished with scores of light-catching, iridescent sequins, available in both gold and ivory. Camisoles, £120, are drop necked and fluid, whilst mini skirts, £120, are short in length and loose fitting to beautifully shimmer in the light when worn. Look 4 and 7 in the lookbook.

The Coatigan

The coatigan, £100, is available in three colours, ivory, smoky grey and cornflower blue, a must-have transitional staple that can be worn between seasons. Crafted in Italy from boiled wool, it is lightweight yet warm and is flattering to wear. With a relaxed fit and open waterfall front, it is perfect for an effortless, layered look at its most luxurious. Look 4 in the lookbook.

The Coat

A key outerwear piece for the season, the military style full-length trench coat comes in a rich camel coloured cashmere, £550.  The coat has a cleverly designed belt that can be tied, either at the front to fasten the loose fit, or alternatively can be removed by unbuttoning the two fronts leaving only a half belt to cinch in the back. Look 7 in the lookbook.

The Bag

The “ebony” leather shoulder tote in taupe, £149, embodies modern rarity’s pared back, minimalist approach to design. The slouchy style is crafted in butter soft aniline leather with plenty of room for all essentials. Look 3 and 9 in the lookbook.

What We Have to Say

Jo Bennett, head of womenswear buying for John Lewis comments;

“To shape the modern rarity label, we set off with a mantra of ‘fewer, better pieces’, with the knowledge that our customers are wanting quality pieces that have design substance. We wanted to create a brand that could cater for everyday modern classics in a luxe way – pieces that are thoughtful, beautifully designed and crafted with care. I want our customers to feel that they are investing in a collection that celebrates and helps them to continue to build their own style.

“We are also really looking forward to exploring and building modern rarity with friends every season and are delighted to be launching with the renowned “shirt boys,”  palmer//harding.  Their brand resonated many of the same values as modern rarity - attention to cut, quality and detail, combined with a true passion for interesting design and intriguing silhouettes. We cannot wait to bring their designs exclusively to our John Lewis customers.”

Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, palmer//harding comment;

“We are so excited to be working with John Lewis creating our first ever high street capsule range of palmer//harding shirting as part of the new modern rarity label.  For a high street retailer to create a brand with this standard of design and quality is truly a rare thing - we’re really pleased our shirts have a part to play in this as it feels like the perfect fit. The heritage of the John Lewis brand alongside the vision and enthusiasm of Jo and Iain really comes through in the product produced. Our match in values and brand ethos led us to feel that John Lewis was the right partner for us to work with on our first ever collaboration.”

Ed Connolly, buying director fashion for John Lewis comments;

“Developing the John Lewis womenswear proposition is a major strategic priority, as this is the area of the business we want to grow the fastest in the next five years. As well as constantly evolving the brands we carry, we've been building our fashion authority in recent years through our own labels; using designer collaborations and our in-house design team to great effect. modern rarity takes this ambition on again and represents our biggest ever investment in womenswear.

“The customer dynamic has shifted in recent years. The trend for fast fashion is fading, and today’s customers desire beautiful design and great quality pieces that transcend seasons. modern rarity is our answer to this and will, we believe, change the dynamic on the British High Street. The label offers a new way of shopping for women, moving away from the two-gear dynamic of spring summer and autumn winter to focus on timeless style, providing them with a collection and palette to work from that they can style to become their own. modern rarity is a contemporary womenswear brand that we believe will resonate with today’s modern shopper.

“The label will be available in all of our full line department stores with newly designed, dedicated store fixtures and on”

The 90 piece modern rarity collection is exclusively available in all John Lewis shops and online at from 8th September. Prices within the modern rarity collection range from £50 for a jersey roll neck to £900 for a long shearling coat.

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You can follow John Lewis on the following social media channels:

For further information please contact:

Emma Moran, senior communications manager, fashion & beauty 0207 592 6058

Alicia O’Brien, senior communications officer, fashion & beauty
alicia.o’ 0207 798 3539

Notes to editors

John Lewis operates 46 John Lewis shops across the UK (32 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership and all 30,000 John Lewis staff are Partners in the business.

John Lewis typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology, and was named ‘Best In-Store Experience’, 'Best Clothing Retailer,’ ‘Best Electricals Retailer,’ ‘Best Furniture Retailer,’ ‘Best Homewares Retailer’ and ‘Best Click & Collect Retailer’' in the 2016 Verdict Customers Satisfaction awards. stocks over 280,000 products, and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.


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