Issuing a magisterial call to arms, animals from all corners of the globe are reclaiming their sovereignty.

The coat of arms has long been an emblem of heraldry and pride. Since the threading of the Bayeux Tapestry in the 11th century, wealth and fortune were displayed through symbolic reference. Ferocious beasts were harnessed and chained as trophies of power and wisdom, but centuries later, those chains have been broken.

The exotic mystery of the lion and the unicorn, the regal splendour of the stag and hawk and the humble majesty of the hound the the whippet; these magnificent creatures are fighting back.

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The Spring/Summer 2016 collection was primarily inspired by antique coats of arms and crests from around the world, as shown in my moodboard below. They are beautifully composed and usually incredibly decadent in their use of colour and gilding. I also noticed many of the same qualities in the hunt paintings by Peter Paul Rubens, a Flemish baroque painter born in 1577.

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A coat of arms was a way of displaying family values, wealth and power in one image. Each object or animal had a symbolic meaning, even down to the tiniest details, such as an acorn or a mouse.

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Whilst looking through the crests, Sabina noticed a recurring theme of exotic and mysterious beasts often collared or chained within the crest as a trophy. This displayed the power of the family or individual through their dominance of this fearsome animal.

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The animals depicted in Sabina’s crests are fighting back, declaring their own power and reclaiming their dignity and territories. The tables have turned. They have broken their chains and their shackles and are fiercely asserting their right to reign.

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Another key detail noticed in these antique compositions was the regular appearance of a golden fleece dangling precariously from the underside of the crest. This symbol dates back in both crests and portraiture, often as a charm on a necklace, to the early 15th century. It represents the Order of the Golden Fleece, a Roman Catholic order of chivalry.

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Sabina incorporated this detail into the designs by draping various other floppy creatures at the base of the crests, in line with the theme of each particular coat of arms. Sabina chose a hare, a ferret and a dachshund (all alive of course!)

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Another key inspiration, as previously mentioned, were the hunt painting by Rubens. Pictured below is ‘The Tiger Hunt’ (1616). Sabina took inspiration from his composition and colour palette, and tried to capture the amazing action and movement, particularly in the Fauna Exotica design.

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For the story behind each individual design, please see the descriptions alongside each scarf in the shop.

 

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