The sea mist was heavy in Cape Town yesterday morning. I woke to the comforting sounds of ships in the bay sounding their horns. The last few weeks had been restless, hot nights lying on my sheets gasping for the smallest movement of air like a fish stranded on a dry river bed. But I had slept well that night and walked outside gratefully sucking the cool, damp air deep into my lungs, savouring its weight and having a vague sense of having taken it for granted until that moment.
It was the first morning I had felt nostalgic for British air. For the mossy, dampness of the woods near Mum’s house; with only the sound of blackbirds singing and the dog’s feet padding against the earth. My housemate James said to me, when I reflected on this, “that’ll wear off in about 5 minutes”. And maybe he’s right. But as my remaining days in Cape Town whittle down, faster and faster, like the grains in an egg timer which seem to speed up as they diminish, I am starting to remember the things I appreciate most about home. Rainy dog walks in a lush, green landscape, cosy evenings by the fire, my beloved car, the best crisps in the world (red Tyrell’s. Ok, and the green), Shepherds Pie, baths. And wearing cashmere. Surely cashmere is an essential feature of any hyggelig evening?
Cashmere comes from the underfleece of the Hircus goat. In order to survive in their hostile habitat, through harsh winters and torrid summers, these small goats have evolved an undercoat beneath their longer and rougher outer hair that consists of the softest and finest fibres whose countless tiny intervening spaces reduce thermal osmosis to a minimum. Once a year in spring, goatherders in Northen China and Mongolia harvest this underfleece by means of a delicate combing procedure that is totally harmless to the animals. About 250 grams of this underfleece is obtained from each animal every year which, after the coarser outer fibres are removed, becomes no more than 100 grams. This is why cashmere is so valuable, and Loro Piana yarn is the finest available, with a price to reflect.
In my first few weeks in Cape Town I was invited along to the launch of a cashmere brand called Gia Bardot, a mother and daughter team. Their Loro Piana cashmere jumpers, capes, cardi’s and shawls are exquisite. Exquisite and exquisitely expensive. I loaned one for the shoot in December and it was like being embraced by a beautiful, ivory cloud.
This “Boyfriend” style is oversized – great length in the body and wonderfully long sleeves, a tall girl cashmere nirvana. It retails at around £300 (ZAR5000). If you’re in the market for a piece of luxury, take a look at what is available in the gallery on their site – and if you like the look of anything let me know and I will happily bring it back for you in my suitcase on the 1st March.
It being Cape Town, where “smart” is as frequently deployed as an umbrella, this luxurious cashmere jumper accompanied my black denim shorts from Zara. Perfect for those misty mornings and windy evenings. The jewellery is by Soul Design, a brand who consistently pours fuel on my stacking obsession. I’ll feature them in more detail soon, but if anyone likes anything in the photos from this blog or my previous South African design feature, or just on the Soul Design website, let me know and I’ll bring it back with me in 3 weeks (starting to suspect an additional suitcase may be necessary) For now, I’m over my cool, misty air phase and am going to indulge in a little beach time… H x
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