Frances & Elsa

All pieces in the AW16 collection can be ordered in different colours and with alternative trims, direct from our Glasgow store.  View the AW16 LookBook (PDF).


The William Chambers Millinery Autumn Winter 16 collection honours the outlandish style of former Vogue and Harpers Bazaar editor Frances Farquharson, who later became wife of the 16th Laird of Invercauld and a dazzling Highland hostess.  Described as ‘arguably one of the most stylish and intuitive of her age’ and ‘a woman of flamboyant style and warmth who was to leave an indelible impression on all she met’ (Scotsman), Frances was a good friend and huge fan of Elsa Schiaparelli, and owned and wore some of her most elaborate designs.  She even painted several rooms in her Braemar Castle home ‘shocking pink’ in her honour.  The two friends shared a love for the colour pink, and intelligent, eccentric style. Pink features heavily in the AW16 collection, which also features many of Chambers’ trademark styles, mixed with shapes, motifs and textures inspired by the wardrobe of Farquharson, which William was invited to view and handle at the National Museum of Scotland archives.


William said of the collection:

“I was completely blown away by the museum’s collection of Frances Farquharson’s clothes and hats.  One hat even had a make-up mark still on the inside brim, which really got me thinking about the personality of this flamboyant woman. She understood fashion and style, and took this knowledge and flair with her all the way to the Scottish Highlands, where she became a well-loved local personality. The collection is dedicated to her and her friend and favourite designer Elsa Schiaparelli - and to all women of both style and substance.’

For one showcase piece, William has collaborated with iconic British glove maker Cornelia James, who shares his passion for creating truly exceptional, luxury, British accessories.  The headpiece, called ‘SHOCKINGLOVE’, is inspired by Schiaparelli’s surrealist legacy, and incorporates a Cornelia James glove made from Scottish lace, holding a pink leather rose, in a truly avant-garde meeting of glove and hat.


View the AW16 LookBook (PDF).