Introducing Richard Allan: Wearable Art in Accessories Form

The legendary silk accessories designer Richard Allan, who rose to prominence in the 1960s in London, is the latest name to join our roster of British brands. With scarves, pocket squares and neckerchiefs available for both men and women, we're certain that they'll bring some sixties swagger to your wardrobe.

If you were to take a second and visualise the ‘swinging sixties’ in London in its kaleidoscopic glory, the accessories brand Richard Allan existed at the core of the decade’s fashion and art scene. Richard Allan was an artist in the purest sense and with business acumen to boot, who conveyed his work and ideas through the medium of silk scarves for fashionable men and women who were keen to make a statement. 

Richard Allan working on his designs (circa 1962)

In 1962, Allan founded his eponymous company and in his first year sold over 50,000 silk scarves to what was a burgeoning market that reflected the decade’s positive and vibrant aesthetic and he gained international recognition. He received fabulous exposure with the endorsement of Diana Rigg, who wore his scarves in the hit TV-series The Avengers. He went on to collaborate with Alfred Dunhill, Yves Saint Laurent and Schiaparelli. The aforementioned Titans of the fashion industry commended Allan for not just his profound creativity in design and use of colour, but also the standard of workmanship he practised. He used super-premium silk twills that were woven in Kent, printed in Macclesfield and hand-finished in London. There’s no denying that he was the very essence of what is considered a British brand of the highest calibre. 

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers (1966)

No decade would have been more inspiring to live in than the sixties, and Allan found inspiration in all of the beautiful nuances from daily life such as the svelte lines of a classic sports car, the architecture of a building, the detail of a suit, or a minute detail of a painting. Channelling psychedelia, abstraction, art-nouveau and more, his desirable creations developed broad appeal, became must-have accessories and established a loyal following for years to come. In 1982, Allan developed Parkinson’s and sold the business but despite only operating for two decades, he is still regarded as one of the eminent silk designers of the 20th century. 

A model with a Richard Allan silk scarf in Country Life magazine (June 1964)

Last year, his daughter Cate Allan relaunched the Richard Allan collection, initially selling limited edition prints inspired by her father’s designs but has since expanded into accessories – and quite rightly so. She says that her “scarves today achieve a fresh, new, contemporary statement”, and this can be seen across not just scarves, but pocket squares and neckerchiefs, too. “He was forever inspired by colour, the way colours play off each other, the way in which colours enhance and alter the perception of a design when cleverly used,” she adds.

A model with a Richard Allan scarf tied around her head in Flair magazine (January 1964) 

Cate’s entire range continues to uphold the creative values established by her father. Each individual item is entirely Made in England using traditional methods and techniques. Not just that, but with a family business, there’s an ingredient of unconditional love and respect for the craft that is all too rare these days. 

Marina in Curry & Paxton SS20 Campaign, wearing the Metro model by Richard Allan. 

We’re immensely excited to welcome Richard Allan to our roster of the finest British brands, and whether you’re wanting to acquire something for yourself or for your other half, we’re confident there’s something to meet your tastes as each accessory is suitable for both men and women – you just might have to fight over them. 

Explore the collection, here

NB: Richard Allan art prints are also available for sale. Feel free to contact Cate directly if you are interested in decorating your home in addition to your neck (or pocket)!

Richard Allan Limited Edition prints on paper, available directly via Richard Allan London's website.