Guest Blog: Charlotte Allen of Klements

Thank you, Jane & Emily for inviting me to contribute towards your blog!

I thought I would start by telling you a little about the inspirations behind the latest collection, and some of the individual pieces you stock.


My inspiration for Autumn Winter 15/16 came from winter voyages of the past. A cocktail of Herman Melville’s monumental novel ‘Moby Dick’, mixed with the 1889 artworks flooding the circumference ‘Bourse De Commerce’ in Paris; Evocative scenes of past commerce and exotic carpets from the Orient and Middle East being loaded off ships. Traders excited by new finds and items returning home to housewives who were intrigued and excited by the world from which the carpets and artifacts came. Myths, tales, imagination and lack of understanding – it was said the wives thought the Orient was full of savages!!
This dark fearful exotica is the mood and spirit for the winter collection. The prints depict dark spiritual jungle scenes, ships departing and the masks of savages. Carpets piled up onto the back of boats and the “trippy” surreal stories and smells of the fibers arriving back into European homes.


The committee print started life as a pencil illustration; exotic, otherworldly flower illustrations, orangutans, moneys, ominous cats and staircases leading to poison bottles… artichokes growing from winding Thorne stems… Narwhales gliding through the print and a bear on a magic carpet. The very best klements prints are magical worlds, where the surreal is king! The painting of the print was set to keep this tradition – the monkey has a blue face and pink fur! I wanted this print to feel as strange as a visit to a new continent would have back in the 17 & 1800’s, but also the first recognition to be of beauty. The bear that is seen flying on a magic carpet was inspired by a story I was told at the time of this print about a bear called ‘WOJTEK’ who was picked up by Polish Soldiers during WW2 and stayed with them during the duration of the war even help during the battle of Monte Cassino. He was very much loved and came over to England with the soldiers after the war and lived in Edinburgh Zoo until the 1960s.
The Orient Print started with paintings of elephants saving people from floods and took on the narrative of ‘screaming’ out marbling inks into an exotic sea of carpets and snake charmers… then arrived the camels and the starry mid night dessert skies! The colours remain bright and jewel like. Often a print comes to life and takes narrative half way through. Things don’t necessarily need to make sense – the best things in life don’t!
The Hiroshima print is actually from a photo I took in Hiroshima at the peace park where the Atomic Bomb hit and is origami paper cranes made by local children. I just loved the colours as they were, riotous pastelled but full of hope. Once worn I always feel lovely in this print.
The Trash Print is a blur and montage of photographs I took in the Science museum in London of a space ship and also at the Tring Natural History Museum of taxidermied peacocks. Some how they looked incredible together and feel wintery but still very luxurious! The print has such deep and texture. Perhaps my favorite of the season!


When it comes to the garment shapes, I like shapes that are comfortable and easy for all women to wear. But the main emphasis it to house the prints, large areas of print not interfered by darks and seams. Most importantly the garments are made on the finest silks at the best printers here in England, the colours and quality have to be exceptional. All the garments are then made here in England at a manufacturer I trust and have worked with for years. The scarves in Italy, where they know how to roll the hems!

I hope this gives you an insight into the work that goes into each Klements piece, where nothing is as it seems and our works grow and take on new life and meaning as the print develops, and then as the new owner wears its and develops their own interpretation of the prints & stories behind.

I truly believe that fashion should not be fast and we should not be consuming garments and ‘stuff’ at the rate we do. Fashion is exhausting now adays, main season, pre collections, resort collections…… I believe it needs to slow down, buy only what we truly need and utterly adore. Buy less, but buy quality pieces. Klements garments are keepers, collectable pieces that defy faddy fashion. I hope these pieces will be kept, treasured and passed down.
All the best,
Charlotte Allen – Klements // London //

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