If one person can be credited with bringing the sporting lifestyle into the everyday, it was the Duke of Windsor. Often seen in a cricket sweater or placket-less polo, he brought a casual modernity to the aristocratic wardrobe. Given our long links with the royal family – with every monarch giving us a Royal Warrant since Queen Victoria – it seems only natural that the brand should turn to him for inspiration for knitwear in its Spring/Summer 2023 collection, taking cues from equestrian, field and lawn sports apparel, as well as British heritage stitches, then reimagining them in luxurious fabrics for daily life.
A case in point is the cotton crepe polo for men, rendered in a super fine 18-gauge seed stitch – placket-less of course. Or the close-fitting cotton crepe Tennis Sweater in ivory, which is equally at home on the court, or off it.
For women, sports enter via the five-gauge, Egyptian cotton, Cricket Cardigan, bearing a lozenge cable inspired by a vintage cricket sweater. It is made thoroughly modern in a thigh-length design with a slouchy silhouette, taking people seamlessly from town to country.
Despite the collection’s relaxed air and spirit of sporting leisure, Purdey takes knitwear seriously, only entrusting the masters to make its super-soft sweaters and cardigans. For cashmere and cashmere linen, it turns to a family-run business in Europe’s knitwear capital, Hawick, in the Scottish borders, where ultra-skilled hands have been crafting sweaters and accessories for generations. Cashmere linen gives chunky knits, such as the Purdey Aran sweaters – with their asymmetrical, split-neck detail for women and high mock neck for men – an airy loftiness that is perfectly calibrated for the season, translating the power of winter textiles into a springtime mood.
Linen also lends cashmere a subtle structure, making the blend ideally suited for soft tailoring. The innovative English Rib Jacket Cardigan is a new, go-anywhere classic that protects and flatters, cut for the polo field, courtside, or an afternoon on the lawn. The cashmere linen is both spun and knitted by hand in Howick in a soft shade of ivory.
Base layers are the foundation on which the Purdey wardrobe is built and for the most luxurious, it turns to another family run business, this time in Italy – the masters of super-fine cashmere. Made in ultra-light, 18-gauge or 14-gauge worsted cashmere that is crafted to last, the lightweight turtlenecks and crewnecks are seasonless staples in a seamless design that pushes the skills of the knitters to the max, while lending the sweaters extra durability. They come with the signature Purdey armhole stitch – a subtle but instantly recognisable detail for those in the know.
In natural tones of taupe, twine and Scottish heather, these are versatile layers to wear from season to season – out in the field or in town – with all the casual breeziness of the Duke himself.
Shop the new Purdey S/S 2023 collection