How does one feel in Whitney Linen? Model Rose Francella sums it up: “Easy, simple, sexy.”

Designer Whitney Westwood’s Whitney Linen Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection daringly revolutionizes the simplicity and durability of linen into a luxurious household name while maintaining an element of comfort.

“We did it very sleek, we did it very elegant,” says Westwood, who collaborated with Toronto bespoke tailor, Marlon Durrant, for Whitney Linen Men this season. “It’s very merchandisable and just very simple, but chic, and still gives the awareness of the feel of linen.”

Whitney Westood (left) and Marlon Durrant (centre) collaborated on the new Whitney Linen collection.

Linen is made from the fibers of flax plants and is one of the oldest fabrics in the world. Often used for women and men’s wear, as well as for home garments, during hot seasons linen is valued for its lightweight and coolness factor.

People don’t necessarily think of linen as a versatile fabric, but Whitney Linen, which was first launched in 2011, manages to successfully utilize it in a number of ways that make heads turn.

A white, halter romper is great for lunch with friends. A grey, tweed style pencil skirt with a round neck jacket is perfect for the office. And a white, mermaid style skirt with lace inserts is glam enough for a date night. For very special occasions, the black, sexy, couture linen gown with dazzling detail will make for a night to remember.

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Yes, instead of the usual pastels that mark the beginning of the spring/summer season, the latest collection goes against the fabric, yet again, with a bold colour palette of black and grey to complement a white already fit for the weather.

Whitney Linen also includes a home collection showcasing an array of vintage kitchen garments inspired by Bohemian and calligraphic prints as well as solid colours reminiscent of beach and sand.

Westwood’s inspiration for the collections draws from her time growing up in the south of France.

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“It’s very much about a lifestyle living with linen,” she explains. “The jetsetters, the people who aspire to live a certain lifestyle or enjoy a certain lifestyle, just enjoying life – it’s all there. It’s all within that collection.”

Working with Durrant took the menswear line up a notch this year. The results were long sleeve shirts with three-inch cuffs, black elbows and/or pockets, tweed-like linen shorts with white detail and classy tuxedo suits sharp enough to kill.

“What I’d like to achieve with the men’s line is an appreciation for linen,” says Durrant. “Appreciation, the styling of linen, the cuts.”

“I want men to feel inspired. I want them to be confident. I don’t want the clothes to wear the guy, I want the guy to wear the clothes.”

“He knew the vibe,” adds Westwood. “He knew how to bring the urban to linen, the chicness and the elegance, but still keep it urban and trendy and make it new and fresh.”

It’s true. Boxing champions Dillon “Big Country” Carman, Zsolt Daranyi, Oleksandr Teslenko and rising boxing star, Michael Brandon – all from Toronto-based boxing promotion company Global Legacy Boxing – made Durrant’s styles sting as they floated along the runway of the preview show.

“I want men to feel inspired,” says Durrant. “I want them to be confident. I don’t want the clothes to wear the guy, I want the guy to wear the clothes … He has to represent him, and represent somebody that’s confident, relaxed and knows himself.”

Photos By. Isa Ransome © Urbanology Magazine

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