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In Collaboration with Christopher Kane

Feb 20 2023

The Spirit of 1926 tells the story of a remarkable woman in The Macallan’s history called Janet ‘Nettie’ Harbinson. She was an individual who was driven by conviction, determined to follow her own path while believing in the extraordinary. 

It was important for Scottish fashion  designer Christopher Kane to capture the essence of her spirit and lifestyle through his designs, while also symbolically illustrating the changing character of Nettie throughout her story. 

Globally renowned for his eponymous label, Christopher Kane created a series of costumes for Nettie using luxury fabrics from artisan suppliers including the bespoke The Macallan tweed. With two fashion labels to his name, he is drawn to ideas that challenge orthodoxies – perhaps the reason Nettie’s story chimes with him. Christopher Kane expressed that he was inspired by her remarkable character, a free-spirited woman who went with her instincts and moved through various phases of her life at a fast pace. His witty creativity reflects a respectful irreverence, with designs that convey every facet of her evolution.


The Evolution of Nettie’s style

We see Nettie’s style evolve as her story develops. She begins as a woman in love, sporting glamorous hats and trench coats as she drives with her husband through Speyside or mingles at social occasions with her community. At her husband's funeral, we see her as a woman in mourning, where black lace was a key feature. 

At the final stage of her character development, Nettie leans towards tweed jackets and double breasted blazers, signifying her transition to a businesswoman as she takes the reins of the family business and symbolically fills the shoes she was told only a man could step into. 

Using locally sourced fabrics from the heart of Scotland, Christopher Kane beautifully captured  the style of the era, and the evolution of Netties style and spirit. Each look is diverse, creative and symbolic, key features that make the designs distinctly Christopher Kane. His work continues to expertly upend expectations of luxury with playful irreverence.

Meet Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane was born as the youngest of five children in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Growing up he always had an affinity for art, fashion and design and at age 18, he arrived in London to study at Central Saint Martins, where in 2006, he graduated with an award-winning M.A. show.  ​

That same year he founded his eponymous label, Christopher Kane, with his sister Tammy. Since then, it has been renowned as the London label challenging fashion ideologies and notions of beauty. Among his accolades, Christopher has won the Vogue Fashion Fund and 5 British Fashion Awards, including New Designer of the Year, British Fashion Designer of the Year, and the 2020 Designer's Designer Award. 



Through his creative designs, Christopher was faced with the challenge of transporting us back in time to 1926. His creative vision was primarily drawn from his own life, experience and Scottish connections. Christopher grew up in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, which was a small working-class village in Scotland near Glasgow. His Scottish connection meant meant he had a strong sense of what people wore at this time, especially rural people. He  knew that tweed would be fundamental in capturing the essence of the era.

He describes his work with Emily Mortimer as a partnership, weaving personality into the tweeds and floral embroideries to aptly portray Nettie as the custodian she was, almost a century ago. Through exceptional craftsmanship, Christopher transformed simple fabrics into beautiful, intricate designs. Starting with autobiographical inspirations he brought his vision to life through skill, creativity and innovative techniques. 

Emily was so much fun to work with, it was remarkable to witness her transformation into Nettie’s character during fittings.

Christopher Kane

The Macallan 1926

In 2019, The Macallan 1926 broke the world record for most valuable single bottle of wine or spirit ever sold at auction. This is Nettie’s legacy, encapsulated in a single, incomparable spirit.

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The Macallan 1926, Bottle Still

Foundational Values 

Nettie’s story reflects The Macallan values that, almost one hundred years later, are fundamental to the brand today. Through the exceptional craftsmanship of Christopher Kane among others, her story can be told in a beautiful way.  

Nettie believed in caring for people and the community around her and set the standard that we still adhere to today. She crafted the most valuable bottle of wine or spirit ever sold at auction through her dedication to excellence, and conviction to create the extraordinary.

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