Lady Melissa Percy Meet the new cool coun­try set

Bethan Holt takes a look at the new brands bring­ing a mod­ern twist to dress­ing for the great out­doors

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front page -

Where would you ex­pect to find Bri­tain’s bright­est young things in the early hours of a Satur­day morn­ing? Not so long ago, the an­swer might have in­volved tum­bling into a cab out­side an ex­clu­sive night­club in May­fair. But for Lady Melissa Percy, the an­swer couldn’t be more dif­fer­ent.

“I’ve just had five of my best girl­friends up to Scot­land for a week­end of ad­ven­ture,” she re­mem­bers of her l lat­est wild an­tics. “We camped, woke up at 5.30am and then spent t the day grouse­shoot­ing shoot­ing, ca­noe­ing down the river and quad-bik­ing.” This w whole­some de­sire to spe spend down­time in the coun­try­side ch chimes with the he health-con­scious mi mind­set of a mi mil­len­nial ge gen­er­a­tion that has sh shunned drink­ing an and tak­ing drugs in favo favour of the nat­u­ral high highs of­fered by fresh air a and en­dor­ph­in­gen gen­er­at­ing coun­try pur pur­suits.

But this re­newed en­thus en­thu­si­asm for spendi spend­ing week­ends in the gre great out­doors does throw u up one tricky

dilemma: what to wear? Lately, a se­ries of new la­bels and poster girls for a very mod­ern breed of coun­try­side style have an­swered the ques­tion, with their blend of the most el­e­gant tra­di­tional tropes with a more con­tem­po­rary and, yes, cool aes­thetic.

Thirty-year-old Lady Melissa, known as Missy to her friends, is on a mis­sion to reimag­ine the coun­try look with her new la­bel Mis­tamina, which launches this week­end.

“Ever since I was tiny there was never stuff out there for girls which was trendy and cool, es­pe­cially if you had your own in­di­vid­ual sense of style,” re­flects Lady Melissa. “So my mum, my sister and I would ei­ther buy boys clothes in small sizes, or we had things made, which is in­cred­i­bly ex­pen­sive.”

Mis­tamina (the name is a pur­pose­fully mis­chievous play on her nick­name coined by her old ten­nis coach) is the pas­sion pro­ject that Lady Melissa, daugh­ter of the Duke and Duchess of Northum­ber­land, has thrown her­self into since her di­vorce last year from Thomas van Strauben­zee, one of Prince Wil­liam’s clos­est friends and god­fa­ther to Princess Char­lotte.

Rather than com­pletely rein­vent­ing the her­itage look that is syn­ony­mous with Bri­tish coun­try life and still car­ries se­ri­ous style ku­dos – Stella McCart­ney’s lat­est col­lec­tion in­cludes quilted khaki coats and belted field jack­ets rem­i­nis­cent of those you might find hang­ing in the boot room of most coun­try manors – Mis­tamina up­dates the classics with sleeker, more flat­ter­ing cuts, which still leave room for mov­ing around eas­ily in the fields.

And in fab­u­lously posh style, each piece is named after a beloved fam­ily dog.

“Ru­pert was my dad’s first dog, and he had the soft­est ears you have ever felt in your life, so we’ve named a lovely soft shirt, which comes in three colours, after him,” she ex­plains. “When you’re out­side, it’s good to have lay­ers, be­cause you’re ei­ther too cold or too hot, so it’s quite handy if you can just take off one.”

She ad­vises wear­ing them tucked into plus fours or high-waisted jeans, de­pend­ing how much or how lit­tle you care to amp up the look. She has also been care­ful to keep prices ac­ces­si­ble, with shirts and jumpers com­ing in be­tween £70 and £90.

Lady Melissa is not alone in her mis­sion to give the coun­try look a mod­ern twist. Lu­cia Ruck Keene and her sister Rosie van Cut­sem launched their la­bel, Troy Lon­don, last year after a trial col­lec­tion in 2015 went down a storm with their coun­try set.

Their “hero” pieces are parka jack­ets that com­bine supreme prac­ti­cal­ity – think wa­ter­proofed seams and hoods that can­not be shifted, even in the most blus­ter­ing of gales – with a re­fined, el­e­gant look that has made them cat­nip for the Duchess of Cam­bridge, who has worn hers for two pub­lic en­gage­ments to date.

Lady Alice Man­ners, a model and Sun­day Tele­graph colum­nist, says coun­try style is “quite a per­sonal thing”.

“Some of my friends and sis­ters see dress­ing for the coun­try­side as a time to re­ally show their fash­ion ku­dos,” she says. “And, of course, we are all se­cretly tak­ing notes on how we’ve all worn cer­tain items.”

She rec­om­mends mix­ing fash­ion la­bels such as Chloe and Is­abel Marant with mod­ern coun­try cloth­ing brands (Hol­land and Hol­land and Troy are her favourites) with a se­lect few fam­ily favourites – her mother, the Duchess of Rut­land’s old brown an­kle boots and suede trousers are cur­rent ob­ses­sions.

Be­cause it wouldn’t be true coun­try style with­out an heir­loom or two in the mix.

mis­tamina.com­mis­tam The DuchessDu of Cam­bridgeCamb wear­ing her favourite­favou Troy Lon­don jacket;jacket Lady Melissa Percy, right, wears the ‘Stan­leS­tan­ley’ jumper, £90,

Bri­tish model Jac­quetta Wheeler wears Camo wax parka, £375 troy­lon­don.com

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