The latest edition of our product focus series is based on our best-seller and founders favourite, the Kingfisher Silk Pocket Square, which is part of our William John Swainson Collection, a 19th century British artist and naturalist. This pure silk pocket square is a perfect addition to both smart and casual wear.
Below we will discover the inspiration behind the unique design, more details on the artist, and some creative pocket square folds to use when wearing this stunning item.
One of our co-founders and designer Elliott explains the inspiration behind this exquisite pocket square design.
‘I’ve always been inspired by the works of 19th century ornithologists. Individuals such as William Swainson were artists in their own right and produced stunningly detailed drawings of the flora and fauna they came across in their studies. This particular design is one of the first I produced and has consistently been a best seller. I aimed to demonstrate the beauty of the Kingfisher work by putting it front and centre whilst also ensuring the geometric repeat pattern around it acted as both a suitable pocket square pattern as well as a frame. The effect as well as the colour palette of orange and blue on a white base makes this incredibly versatile as a pocket square and we’ve had a number of individuals even frame them!’
Elliott Rampley - Co-Founder
ABOUT THE ARTIST
William Swainson (8 October 1789 - 6 December 1855) was an English artist, naturalist and ornithologist and is often best remembered for the quality of his zoological illustrations. He was also the first illustrator and naturalist to adopt lithography with the monochrome lithographic prints in his books being hand coloured, and it was use of this approach along with his natural talent at illustration that led to his fame.
Swainson was born in Dover Place, London, however his father's family originated from Lancashire, and both his grandfather and father held high posts within Her Majesty's Customs, with his father becoming Collector at Liverpool.
In 1806 Swainson accompanied the English explorer Henry Koster to Brazil. Koster had lived in Brazil for some years and had become famous for his book Travels in Brazil (1816). There he met and was influenced greatly by Dr Grigori Ivanovitch Langsdorff, also an explorer of Brazil, and Russian General Consul. By the time Swainson returned to England in 1818, he had created a vast collection of over 20,000 insects, 1,200 species of plants, drawings of 120 species of fish, and about 760 bird skins. In his own words he was 'a bee loaded with honey’.
WHAT FOLDS WORK BEST WITH THIS POCKET SQUARE?
The Kingfisher Silk Pocket Square works brilliantly as a silk pocket square due to the border pattern and mixture of scales between the centre item and the geometric repeat on the outside. This will enable you to be creative and playful with your pocket square fold type. We discuss three fold styles in more detail to use below.
Puff Fold The Puff Fold is not only one of the most popular folds but also one of the simplest to master. The most classic style is to adjust it till it forms a semi-circle above your pocket, but the very nature of the Puff Fold means you can be creative with the final look.
We feel it works best for a more casual look, and can be easily adjusted to display the different colours in your pocket square.
Stairs Fold The Stairs Fold is an elegant looking fold that although looks like it could be quite complex, is actually relatively simple to master and gives a very clean, crisp finish to your jacket.
Ideally, you want to use a pocket square that has some pattern on it so that it provides a nice differentiation on the stairs.
The Crown Fold The Crown Fold is typically three points, but can also be done across four. It is similar to the Three Point Fold both in how it's created and how it looks, however, the key difference being the two peaks on either side are folded rather than flat to give it the 'crown' look.
The sophisticated nature of this fold lends itself well to more formal events such as a wedding or other special occasion. Simply choose a brightly coloured, square and set to work creating this aptly named regal fold.
Below in our Product Insight Series, Alex explores how to create the perfect pocket square Crown Fold.
1. We use the finest mulberry silk with our silk pocket squares and linings. The quality of the fabric can be seen in the texture and the level of detail and vibrancy of the finished product. All our silks are printed in Macclesfield, England, an area renowned for silk printing for the past 200 years.
2. We take the utmost care in printing our silk pocket squares and linings which results in truly remarkable levels of detail. Faces, objects and colours are sharp and well defined to give a truly stunning finish. We also take exceptional care with the colour bleed, so the print is almost as crisp on the back as it is on the front, allowing for an unlimited number of folds to a pocket square.
3. The art of hand rolling pocket squares is a unique craft and truly makes each piece individual and unique. We feel that the precision and care taken by our skilled artisans gives each square its own unique character, finish and feel. To create the finest rolled hems, the edge of the silk must be softy turned over with a handheld needle and then small stitches are inserted approximately one half to one centimetre apart around the edge, creating a supple yet prominent border.
4. We believe that 40cm is the minimum size for a high quality pocket square. Any smaller and it will slide down inside your pocket with any movement of your jacket, while it limits the number of folds you can achieve as there is not enough volume to hold it in place. It goes without saying we would never advocate any form of pocket square holder. All our pocket squares are either 42cm x 42cm or 40cm x 40cm.