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EXCLUSIVE | Merchant Archive THE COLONY SS16 Movie


“ The strokes of the hammer on the chisel should be in time with your heart beat” - Barbara Hepworth

The Merchant Archive SS16 collection looks at the life and work of British modernist sculptor Barbara Hepworth, the leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during the Second World War.


The collection references both modernism, and artisanal craftsmanship through form, texture and embellishment.


The post war years in St Ives saw Hepworth return to carving. Fabrics within the collection mimic the texture of these works at varying stages; a silk wool jacquard appears chiselled, while double cotton in plaster white is dinted as if hammered, in reference to the craft and skill of the artists hand. Bucket and spade colours punctuate a muted palate; tones of rust in silks that are pleated into cocoon shaped sleeves, and belted with delicately covered ropes.


Hand embroidery takes inspiration from the landscape around St Ives depicting a naïve costal contour. Perfect rows of ivory raffia on smooth black scuba wool map out a scene of the Cornish coast around a circular skirt, complete with fishing boats, light houses, birds and rain evoking a wistful affection from our own memories of days by the sea side.


Embedded in the ethos of the Merchant Archive collection is quality of cloth and make, evolving and reforming the archive to create a collection of our time yet timeless.