The Story Behind The Gucci Slogan Knit You’ll See Everywhere Next Season

Never Marry a Mitford jumper

by Katie Rosseinsky |

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele certainly knows how to capture our attention. Since taking the reins at the Italian fashion house at the very start of 2015, the wunderkind of out-and-out maximalist design has transformed the brand’s signature aesthetic – and made it one of the hottest tickets of Milan Fashion Week, no, fashion month in its entirety. Nearly three years later, his winning streak shows no signs of fading if his latest S/S’18 collection, which took inspiration from the glam-rock stylings of Elton John’s stage outfits, is anything to go by.

While there was plenty to take note of, from reimagined 80s shell-suits embroidered with jewels to disco-style sequinned dresses, one of Michele’s more conventional looks still managed to catch our eye. From Bella Freud’s recognisable styles to the latest cult jumpers from HADES, there’s something about a simple slogan knit that’s like catnip to the fashion crowd. That’s why we’re expecting that Gucci’s navy jumper with the words ‘Never Marry A Mitford’ in red will be the brand’s next most Instagrammed item: think along the lines of other street style status symbols like the Gucci belts and logo tees.

Never Marry A Mitford on the Gucci catwalk
Never Marry A Mitford on the Gucci catwalk ©Rex Features

Unless you have a long-running Tatler subscription and are entirely au fait with the in-jokes of the British aristocracy, the slogan itself might leave you a little confused, so here’s the backstory. The Mitford sisters, the six daughters of the 2nd Baron Redesdale, were notable and often controversial figures in British high society in the period around World War II. There is, of course, plenty to say about the lives and times of Diana, Jessica, Unity, Nancy, Deborah and Pamela – far more than the confines of this piece would ever allow – but in 1941, Deborah was married to Andrew Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire, and became the lady of Chatsworth estate in Derbyshire (or, as you might better know it, the real-life Pemberley from the BBC’s 1996 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice). The Duke was something of a slogan knit pioneer himself, with a habit of making ‘comedy’ jumpers embroidered with comic phrases like ‘Get Up And Do Something’ and ‘Far Better Not.’ And yes, one of those jumpers was ironically embellished with ‘Never Marry A Mitford.’

How did this upper-class in-joke find its way onto the Milan catwalk? These jumpers are currently on display at Chatsworth as part of House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth, an exhibition which celebrates the stately home’s fashionable legacy. Curated by Hamish Bowles of US Vogue, House Style has been sponsored by Gucci, making it rather less surprising that these jumpers have been playing upon Michele’s mind. They say fashion goes round in circles, but those circles are rarely the ones you might expect…

WATCH: The Best Ever Burberry Front Rows

READ MORE: Gucci Is Launching An Interiors Collection, And We Want Every Single Piece

READ MORE: Get Closer To Gucci With Their New Places Project

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us