On the morning we meet Barbara Horspool, Jigsaw’s Product Director, she greets us dressed to the nines in a slick Jigsaw black dress, a tailored blazer jacket and a pair of black Isabel Marant pumps. Not even she gets to visit the House of Lords every day. “I’m meeting Lord Stone to talk about British manufacturing,” she says, justifying her grown-up groomed look, with hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea. She’s just as passionate about resuscitating Jigsaw Menswear as she is about developing the women’s part of the business. So just how exactly does she like her Jigsaw men?
“The thing I really like about Jigsaw Menswear is that both my son and my husband can wear it. The range can appeal to quite a broad spectrum. For me, the next step is talking with a specific voice. My son doesn’t want to be spoken to with the same voice as my husband. I want the range to be very clear that the brand is talking with an age – and guess what? That age is probably the same age that the women’s line should be talking with. We need to get the ranges working together,” she says, her eye always on the ball.
When we bring up her televised friendship with renowned British designer Giles Deacon, it’s hard to avoid the obvious question: is a “Giles for Jigsaw” collection already in the cards? “I’d love for him to do some of the judging for Wool Week for us next year and I also think he’d be great to do some menswear, because he lives in our menswear. What I love about Giles is that he’s democratic. He’ll do design projects for everybody. He doesn’t believe design is just for the elite. He’s done Mulberry bags and he’s done New Look hosiery. He, personally, is like that as well. You do know he has a rabbit in his studio, right? Katie Grand and Victoria Beckham are always tweeting about it,” she says.
At the moment, she is most concerned with broadening Jigsaw’s customer base. Group Chairman John Robinson makes her laugh when he says he doesn’t want the brand thought of as too “fuddy-duddy”: “We need the spirit of Jigsaw to be appealing to someone who’s 25 and 55. It’s far easier to do that when you’re niche, but we’re not, we have a loyal following across all ages. My work here is an evolution, not a revolution.”
Keep in touch with Barbara Horspool on Twitter @BarbaraHorspool.