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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 December 2018

Deconstructing... the cardigan

With the arrival of the UAE winter, this is the time of year we dust off our jumpers
and wrap up in warm layers

Hermes autumn winter 2017
Hermes autumn winter 2017

One winter stalwart we probably all own is the cardigan, an open-fronted knitted jumper, often slouchy or with pockets, but forever practical. Although it may seem like the cardigan has been around for eternity, it was in fact only invented in the 1850s by James Thomas Brudenell, the seventh Earl of Cardigan. Famous as the British officer who led (and ran away from) the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimea War, Cardigan was also know for being a natty dresser. Sharp duds were apparently more important to him than military victory, because despite running away from Russian guns, he did spend a staggering amount - the current equivalent of Dh6.2 million - a year on uniforms for his troops. Despite this folly, the knitted waistcoat he favoured became highly fashionable, and was soon being mass-produced in the many factories springing up over Britain. With the arrival of Coco Chanel some 60 years later, the humble cardigan underwent another transformation, elevated from menswear into attire for the chicest ladies of Paris. Chanel recut the bulky shape to slimline, elongated it to mid-thigh, and replaced traditional fastenings with her faux pearl buttons, transforming into the epitome of style. That view has continued, and a cardigan appears on every runway in some form or another, regardless of fashion trends. Now a wardrobe staple, the cardigan - a black one by Azzedine Alaia - was donned by former first lady Michelle Obama when she met Queen Elizabeth in 2009, while this autumn/winter, it has been seen across many labels, including Hermes, which has taken it back to its knitted waistcoat origins.

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Read more:

Deconstructing denim

Deconstructing: Gloves

Deconstructing: Cufflinks

Deconstructing: Movember

Deconstructing: lace

Deconstructing: Flip Flops

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