iStyle: Paint it black: Todd Lynn is Designer at Debenhams

Todd Lynn joins Designers at Debenhams with his first collection for the high-street chain. It’s far from conventional department store stock, says Emma Akbareian

It has been 235 years since Debenhams was founded, so you’d be forgiven for harbouring any preconceived notions that it’s a rather dated highstreet stalwart. But any such assumptions couldn’t be more wrong. It has been a quiet pioneer of the high-street’s now-ubiquitous designer collaborations for some 20 years.

Debenhams was the first – with Philip Treacy and Ben De Lisi – back in 1993, more than a decade before H&M or even Topshop got on the case.

The latest talent to come on board is Todd Lynn. He joins the Edition range, which already hosts collections from some of London’s most promising designers including Marios Schwab, Jonathan Saunders and Roksanda Ilincic.

Todd Lynn’s background is unconventional: born in Canada and a graduate of Central Saint Martins, he began his career in a kind of backwards fashion, making bespoke creations for musicians including U2 and The Rolling Stones – names big brands would kill to dress – before founding his eponymous label.

It is this rock’n’roll aesthetic that characterises his designs and also makes for a markedly different Edition collection to those already in store. Where the likes of Jenny Packham and Roksanda Ilincic busy themselves with bold colours and pretty frocks, Lynn’s highstreet range, like his own line, is harder, leather-heavy and predominantly black.

Tailoring is key to Lynn’s designs – no surprise considering that his label began with menswear. Androgynous tuxedo jackets and pleated trousers have become his signature. His 12-piece collection for Debenhams sticks very much to this aesthetic: leather separates including biker jackets and skirts, a flare-cut coat, and a classic blazer that could have been pulled from one of his acclaimed catwalk collections. Except, of course, for the more appealing price tag.

The collection is available in store and online now;