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Wearable works of art

When two English greats – William Morris and Barbour– are brought together, the results are picture perfect

A new collaboration between outdoorwear legend Barbour and Morris & Co is a marriage made in English-heritage heaven. Launching this month, the collection balances utility and beauty – the twin ideals of the famed textile designer-cum-writer William Morris – blending archival prints with much-loved Barbour designs.

Designed in 1875, Morris's "Marigold" print came at a time in his career when his work was becoming more intricate, full of movement. One of the few designs Morris created for both wallpaper and fabric, the bold red print is now used as a contrast lining in fitted wax and quilted jackets in brown and olive.

Making more of a statement, "Marigold" and "Strawberry Thief" (inspired by Morris's own difficulty with greedy birds eating his crops of the soft fruit at his rented country house, Kelmscott Manor) become the focus when used to create the Reiver cross-body bags. Trimmed with leather and lined for durability, the buckled bags are a prime example of this marriage of form and function.

"William Morris prints are an iconic part of our British arts heritage," says head of womenswear Sarah Lawrenson. "We're delighted to be able to feature these prints on some of our most well-known Barbour products."

Although the William Morris pieces are just for women, a transatlantic collaboration will ensure that there is something in store for gents, too, this season – whether they are of the country or city persuasion. Jack Spade, the New York-based menswear label which has its roots in utility and style, has been called into action to add quintessentially American touches. Fittingly for a company that was founded on the success of a messenger bag, the collection is made up of four styles of bag, as well as two jackets with a distinctive orange lining.

All Barbour, 0800 009988, barbour.com