Wrap It Up

Between misty breaths exhaled upon Hermès shop windows and an almost constant coveting of Louis Vuitton’s ubiquitous leopard-print styles, it’s safe to say I have quite a thing for scarves. I like to wear black, and lots of it. If I’m feeling dangerous I might mix in a bit of navy or grey - it’s not so much a colour-pop as more of a leaking inkwell of a look. But a scarf is the one area of my wardrobe where I feel I can be bold: it’s the easiest way to work an outlandish print or ultra bright hue without drifting into Donatella territory. I enter Liberty’s kaleidoscopic scarf department and suddenly I’ve gone from ex-goth Olsen-twin wannabe to Rachel Berry from Glee. An Etro paisley-print number in shocking pink? High five! An Alexander McQueen skull scarf in highlighter orange? How did I ever live without it!

Arctic-like winters seem a whole lot more agreeable when swathed in one of those super-sized shawls: a cheeky flash of colour peeping out the top of your coat, facial features burrowed in mille-feuille folds of silk. Let’s not get carried away here – a scarf is a scarf is a scarf after all – but for me it’s also a small but perfectly formed opportunity to transform any look for the better.

So it is with great longing that I tell you about London-based print label Swash. The designers, Sarah Swash and Toshio Yamanaka, specialise in the kind of scarves that really make a statement. They print huge sheets of silk with eccentric, hand-illustrated sketches, all labyrinthine mazes, floating hot-air balloons and platters of far-flung fruits and fish. The resulting pieces are a madcap mix of classic and cool, looking like Hermès from afar and an eclectic chaos up close. They'd probably be better appreciated hung up on gallery walls rather than knotted around necks, such is their beauty. Does that mean I can justify buying one as an artistic investment? Yeah, go on then...

P.S. I regularly feed my scarf addiction with Hermès' very cool J'aime Mon Carré website, an online street-style campaign to encourage a whole new generation to spend a small fortune on TEENY TINY squares of printed silk. 

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