Cashmere Queen Madeleine Thompson: My Fashion Life 

Knitwear designer Madeleine Thompson talks style icons, her Resort 19 collection and her top cashmere tips and tricks

No one knit wonder: Madeleine Thompson launched her eponymous label in 2006 and splits her time between London and Hong Kong

You were originally a fashion buyer, how did you make the leap to designer? I worked as a buyer in a major department store, which showed me the reality of the business and was an amazing learning experience. My light-bulb moment came when the store asked me to start designing for its own label. This was an amazing creative process and made me realise I would like to do for myself. Looking back now, I can’t believe I had the balls.

What’s the secret to shopping for cashmere? Cashmere at its best is the warmest, softest and most durable fashion out there! There is a lot of cashmere out there and the main thing is to avoid the pieces that are made from cheaper yarn. This is made from shorter fibres that are prone to snapping, which causes bobbling.

How do you recommend caring for your cashmere? I always recommend dry cleaning your cashmere as it responds very well to that treatment. However, it’s also good to wash it cold with a good cashmere shampoo and dry flat on a towel. Once in a while brush it down with a good cashmere comb or de fuzzer as no matter how good the quality, cashmere will pill as it’s quite fragile and general wear and tear will cause bobbling.

Where do you look for inspiration? Oh my goodness, everywhere.  Especially for colour combinations; a bus, a bird, vintage sports magazines.  I live most of the year in Hong Kong, and regularly visit London and LA so I draw inspiration from all of these places.

Tell us about your new Resort 19 collection. It’s a bold romp through colour and pattern. I’m trying to continue to push the boundaries of what can be done with knitwear, while staying true to our retro sportsluxe vibe and excellent quality.

What’s your favourite piece from the new collection? That’s too hard! Like choosing which child I like the most!  But I’m very fond of the Trento tracksuit set, which is in pink and red, and I also love the sporty Aqua stripe hoody and pants that's sold on Net-a-Porter.

What has been your career highlight so far? Getting stocked in Net-a-Porter was without a doubt the most exciting point in my career. They are amazing and the best. The past two years have been super fabulous seeing the pieces fly out into the world. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It has also been incredible seeing so many amazing celebrities in my pieces, such as Rita Ora, Olivia Wilde and Michelle Monaghan. 

Which fashion brands are your go-to? Right now I'm loving Ganni; they are killing it.

What’s been your most extravagant fashion purchase to date? I wore two off the rack Chloe dresses for my wedding - magical.

Who are your style icons? Annabelle Wallis is nailing it with her whole vibe and look at the moment. Kate Moss always gets it perfectly right without looking like she’s trying too hard.

What are your wardrobe staples? A good pair of white trainers is key and my cashmere joggers are very hard to take off!

What’s next? More of the same... and more! I am just loving it so much. Can’t wait to show everyone the new collections.