‘There’s a strictness and gentleness to it,’ says Dutch photographer Annemarieke van Drimmelen of the brutalist architecture of London’s South Bank, the backdrop for her first campaign for Margaret Howell, which launches exclusively with Wallpaper*.

Such descriptors match Howell’s own approach to design, whereby a singular vision – often inspired by the precise lines of uniforms, workwear and midcentury furniture – meets a softness of hand, a desire for clothing to feel ‘relaxed, lived in’. ‘I enjoy pulling these threads of British tradition, quality and skill together in clothes that are meant to be worn in the real world,’ she has previously said. 

Annemarieke van Drimmelen shoots Margaret Howell A/W 2022

Model wears Margaret Howell A/W 2022, photographed by Annemarieke van Drimmelen

The various images, photographed against the South Bank’s aged concrete walls – of a colour and texture van Drimmelen describes as ‘beautiful’ – capture Howell’s A/W 2022 men’s and women’s collections in black and white, a monochrome palette long favoured by the designer for her campaigns. 

‘I like to shoot our campaign images in black and white,’ Howell tells Wallpaper*. ‘This may be connected to social documentary photographs, which are always a source of inspiration for me when designing clothes. People’s expressions, their clothes in movement, a moment caught. I chose to work with Annemarieke as I feel she shares this approach to her photography.’

Detail of Model wearing Margaret Howell A/W 2022, photographed by Annemarieke van Drimmelen

‘Even though the campaign is shot in black and white, the light and the models’ expressions are quite soft and gentle, which is something I wanted to bring back to the photography for the campaign,’ says van Drimmelen. ‘I love some of her early campaigns. The eye for details seen in a gentle way is something that I still associate the brand with.’

The photographer, a former model who is based in Amsterdam, notes that the project is something of a dream collaboration: ‘I’ve been a customer at Margaret Howell for a long, long time,’ she says. ‘To me, there’s something honest about what she makes: essentially it’s very good clothing made really well. That sounds simpler than it is. To do that right for a long time and not compromise is such a strength.’

Model wears Margaret Howell A/W 2022, photographed by Annemarieke van Drimmelen

‘I have a lot of respect for how she works on set. When I work I often disappear into what I’m shooting – I tend to forget everything around me. Margaret let me wander off where I needed, but also stayed with me. With Beat Bolliger [the campaign’s stylist], we made it together.’

‘The devil is in the details,’ Wallpaper* wrote of Howell’s A/W 2022 collection when it was released earlier this year. In van Drimmelen’s clear-eyed images, such details are revealed and magnified: the upturned collar of a trench coat, the cuff of a sweater with a fingerless ribbed glove beneath, a pinstripe shirt appearing from beneath a blazer. Others capture the clothing how it is intended to be worn: in movement, for the day-to-day. 

Model wears Margaret Howell A/W 2022, photographed by Annemarieke van Drimmelen

Asked what it is about her photography that she believes drew Howell to her work, van Drimmelen answers that it is more of a question for the designer than for her. ‘But I do feel we both come from a personal place,’ she says. ‘We don’t create anything that we’re not. And perhaps in some ways that’s the same woman.’ §