Sunday, June 18, 2017

BEAUTY: Clothing--DAKS SS'18

I have said it before and I still mean it: Filippo Scuffi, Creative Director at DAKS, really knows how to work a theme. Just take a look at the last Spring Summer '17 collection, which riffed on shapes and colors of the Indian Subcontinent, here (in the world of fashion, of course, this means this collection is current although it was introduced last year at this time). So for inspiration for this year's Spring Summer '18 collection at Milano Moda Uomo, Scuffi piggy-backed on last season's Winter '16-'17 collection seen here. Winter was all about a wonky, re-proportioned vision of the classic English Businessman, bustling about in The City, circa 1955 by way of the future. It was a fun, interesting, imaginative collection.

Well, why mess with a good thing when you're on a roll? Here we see another version of the classic Englishman...this one circa 1890 to, oh, perhaps about 1918...Scuffi gives us a delightful parade of Englishmen punting at Cambridge on the River Cam or perhaps at a regatta. And why not? The house has the credentials to back it up: founded in 1894, the house has a royal warrant of appointment to HRH Queen Elizabeth II, a royal warrant of appointment to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip, the Queen's husband), and a royal warrant of appointment to HRH the Duke of Wales (their son Charles). Is that enough for ya (wink, wink)?

On the surface, this is less about the concept of fashion and much more about the concept of costume. Which is fine by me. Clothing can and should be an opportunity for expression in any form. And at its essence, all clothing is costume--what we choose to wear every day is a costume for who we want to be, who we believe we are, and who we want others to think we are. No matter what you put on, you can't escape that. Even the folks who don't "dress  up," or who profess to hate "fashion" wear a costume dedicated to that attitude. If your subtext is, "My clothing has no message, I don't follow 'fashion,' it's just something to wear," then that is your costume...and you've probably chosen pieces that stand in opposition to what you believe "fashion" to be. You make a choice even when you don't choose (as with everything in life).

But back to this season's DAKS: I love the flat boater hats, the cream pinstripes, and the intarsia crests on sweaters. But look at these outfits with a deconstructing eye: any one of these pieces can work as a separate, on its own with other, more modern garments. I mean, the jackets are fun (especially the leather ones) and the waistcoats are great (over a worn tee shirt and jeans would be superb), but I would love to have any one of these beautiful, wide-legged, flowing trousers--they could pair with a tailored silk shirt or even a more casual, loose denim shirt!

And I must mention two delightful details from this show. I commend DAKS for 1) hiring mature models as well as young ones (these silver foxes are just gorgeous), and for 2) instructing the models to smile and make eye contact with the audience and to have a good time, while greeting fellow models like old friends. So refreshing to see smiles on the runway!

In fact, the professional punters who take tourists on guided trips on the River Cam today still wear such clothing!

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