The well-dressed and well-heeled businessman Nat Peal was a plucky man who knew an opportunity when he saw one. In 1936, a shop lay vacant in London’s famous Burlington Arcade: the cashmere brand N.Peal was born. Three years later, when war broke out Peal, quite fortuitously, found himself stationed on the Shetland Isles. From here, he could supply his new store with beautiful, high quality sweaters, woven directly from the wool of Scotland’s famous sheep. Being able to supply the London market with products of this quality and craftsmanship, during ration time, meant the N.Peal name became a name in demand.
N.Peal Store Opens
When peace was finally declared and international trade blossomed again, Nat Peal could once more supply London shoppers with the fabric he loved best – cashmere. The business prospered.
The Fifties were a time of great prosperity for N.Peal. Having established his home market, Nat Peal looked to America – and his tactics were faultless. He made annual visits to New York and Boston, in each city hiring the best suite in the most glamorous hotel. This gave him the perfect backdrop in which to entertain the local press and potential clients. His efforts were brilliantly received and the business boomed. Later, he extended his trips to include Hollywood. The celebrities loved his elegant designs and his English accent; soon he was dressing Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Cary Grant, as well as the innately stylish Jackie Kennedy.
The luxury traditions that Nat Peal established remain a strong legacy. Fifty years after its inception and
N.Peal cashmere jumpers, still as plush as the first designs, were now gracing the backs of Princess Diana, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace of Monaco. Still upholding its shop space at the top of the Burlington Arcade, the N.Peal name was by now synonymous with the world’s most sumptuous cashmere.
Change of Hands
Every good business undergoes times of change, and in 2007 N.Peal was bought by Adam Holdsworth and Nick Falkingham. Each with over 25 years worth of experience working with this luxury yarn, the new owners resolved to give the brand, with its history and honour, the space to grow again. Holdsworth, an expert in cashmere manufacture, understands every junction of making the ultimate sweater: from the goats on those cold Mongolian steppes, to the design of a finished fashion garment, he has stayed true to his word and given N.Peal a renewed direction
Internationally respected fashion designer, Sara Berman is appointed as N.Peal’s new Creative Director. With a natural understanding of the contemporary, luxury fashion market, Berman has applied her love of colour, shape and exotic prints to N.Peal’s long-established ideals. The union has provided a renewed sense of energy and fashion direction.
If you are going to have two women endorse your brand, then you aren’t doing badly with Kate Moss and the Duchess of Cambridge. But N.Peal has a strong male following too, and in 2012, it dressed our current James Bond, Daniel Craig, in Skyfall. The item, an elegant navy cashmere sweater, was requested to be made and supplied 25 times over so that it would look pristine in each of the all-action sequences, which were filmed in multiple takes.
This year, N.Peal completed a full refurbishment of its Burlington Arcade store. The concept was taken from the clean, refinement of those original Deco years when the greens were cool and minty and the typography had smooth curves. The result is a store and a branding that has echoes of those early days, but also feels utterly modern.