In 2017 Stella Tennant and Isabella Cawdor took hold of the reins at Holland & Holland clothing, applying their principles of luxury, irreverence and resolute practicality to the collections they design, infusing them with the true spirit of English dressing.
They sought inspiration from anyone whose style celebrates individuality, from their ancestors and historical figures to the local mole-catcher.
Key pieces in the collection now include lightweight cashmere fluorocarbon parkas, black shearling capes, wide-legged herringbone trousers and shearling-lined gilets with ribbon tie details. All translate seamlessly from Mayfair to grouse moor.
‘In England, you can’t be beholden to the weather otherwise you wouldn’t leave the house,’ says Stella. ‘This is the stuff that is in our blood.’ ‘It has to be weatherproof but allow you to move around the landscape,’ continues Isabella. ‘It all comes from a real understanding of the outdoors.’
Also in 2017, Holland & Holland’s shooting grounds, which have offered unrivalled sporting gun facilities since 1880, opened a new corporate facility and an underground rifle range with state-of-the-art cinematographic technology, the first of its type commercially available in Britain.
Holland & Holland’s founder, Harris Holland, was as unconventional as his successors. He wasn’t even a gunmaker when he began building guns to order in the 1840s. He was, however, a particularly fine competition pigeon shot, and without the constraints of a normal gunmaking apprenticeship, his innovative approach to gunmaking became known as one of the best in the world.
Harris Holland’s nephew, Henry William Holland was an ‘inventive genius’ with a similarly pioneering mindset and joined Harris as an apprentice in 1860. He became the company’s driving force, and lodged his first patent within just one year of starting work. By 1950 the company had registered 51 patents and today it holds more patents than any other gunmaker. Henry William Holland was made a partner in 1876, creating the Holland & Holland name.
In 1883, Holland & Holland’s purity of design and beautiful artistry won all classes of The Field’s rifle trials. From there it gained Royal Warrants from the King of Italy and King George V and its guns were used by some of the world’s most notable figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, who was a great advocate of the ‘Royal’ double rifle. The firm had adopted the name ‘Royal’ for its best guns from 1885, and its first version of the shotgun, manufactured in 1883, is said to be one of the most widely imitated shotguns in the world.
In its own fully integrated factory, skilled craftsmen carve, cut, chisel, rub, file and fit the finest Turkish walnut to ensure the guns’ elements work according to the best gunmaking principles. A finisher ensures guns function perfectly and look immaculate.
It was once said that if Mr Holland couldn’t teach a man to shoot, then nobody could. That legacy lives on today as Holland & Holland continues to lead the way in the world of British field sports and country lifestyle.
HOLLAND & HOLLAND 33 BRUTON STREET, LONDON W1J 6HH +44 (0)20 7499 4411