The fashion designers behind the new Beatrix Potter book covers share the inspiration for their designs. Unexpected and playful, the new collection celebrates these timeless stories and their influence on British culture today
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth, we asked five iconic fashion designers to reimagine the covers of her best loved stories. Unexpected, playful and in homage to Beatrix Potter’s love of fashion, the new collection brings the timeless stories into the present day, and celebrates the shawls, hats and jackets worn by her treasured characters.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, designed by Lindsay McKean (Cats Brothers)
'I feel that stories are just like our garments, the magic is woven into them, each one unique, precious and embellished along the way, creating something to be treasured! When designing the cover for Peter Rabbit, we started by imagining Peter today – what would he be like? Well, he’d be naughty, streetwise and incredibly cool, of course. He’s the bad brother of the burrow, just like Cats Brothers is the bad little brother of the fashion pack!
His iconic blue jacket has been given a streetwear makeover, now appearing in denim with customized “vegetable” patches. The hand-drawn illustrations perfected by Beatrix Potter are reflected in the detailed hand-embroidery used to create this cover and the mini-motif endpapers suggest the jacket’s lining.
It’s the naughty nature of Peter Rabbit that really drew us to this tale! And honestly, who could resist that mischievous twinkle in his eye?'
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-duck, designed by Henry Holland (House of Holland)
'For this special anniversary edition of The Tale of Jemima Puddle-duck, I wanted to create something that reflects both the Beatrix Potter style as well as my own. I used the iconic Beatrix Potter duck-egg blue that appears traditionally on Jemima’s bonnet and incorporated that into our polka-dot print.
Creating an age-appropriate slogan in my traditional font and style was the trickiest part and I wanted to portray some of Jemima’s character traits in it also. I feel like Jemima is the kind of duck who believes that "cleanliness is next to godliness" and is always trying to be a good domestic duck.'
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, designed by Orla Kiely
'It has been such a fun experience to design a cover for one of my favourite children’s authors, Beatrix Potter.
I have very much enjoyed designing our hedgehog to represent Mrs. Tiggy-winkle in a simple modern style and repeat. I hope she draws the reader happily into the Beatrix Potter world.'
The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, designed by Preen
'When I was little my family had a boat on Lake Windermere and I spent many a wonderful childhood holiday in the Lake District. My overriding memories always come back to Beatrix Potter and her stories. My parents would read them to me as we looked out across the lake at the countryside that inspired the books. Squirrel Nutkin was always my favourite.'
The Tale of Tom Kitten, designed by Philip Colbert (Rodnik Band)
'I love Beatrix Potter’s work, it had a huge effect on me as a kid and I still love it to this day. It’s so iconic, memorable and charming. I grew up near the small town of Dunkeld in Scotland, where Beatrix Potter went on holiday. She is said to have first written the letters there that would become The Tale of Peter Rabbit, also said to be inspired from this time are Mrs. Tiggy-winkle and Squirrel Nutkin. I loved the fact that the beautiful nature of Scotland that I enjoyed so much had influenced her work and the amazing stories she created.'
Follow the Beatrix Potter anniversary with the hashtag #Beatrix150, and watch out for these fashion design editions, available on 7th July.