WHAT USUALLY is a loud and vibrant celebratory starting gun show to welcome fashion back to the streets of London, this year was a muted, solemn return to the city that breeds some of the industry’s biggest names. With a backdrop of the capital and country mourning Her Majesty, this coming week was sure to be one hard to forget as shows cancelled and parties were silenced to allow time to take in this momentous occasion. But understanding the importance of the phrase ‘the show must go on’, Daniel w. Fletcher invited us to The Londoner to watch his spring-summer 2023 collection unfold.
After a minute of silence, the lights came back on to the chilling, but apt sound of violins gradually becoming more intense for his show, entitled Stand And Deliver. Opening the show with a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, the first look is an all-black morning suit constructed from British wool that is accompanied with an armband as an ode to the Monarch.
Beyond this look, the British designer took inspiration from the archetypes, from the past and present, that have made London their home and in turn, have become synonymous here in England. Taking the style impact of the King’s Road punks, the Savile Row tailors, the suited gentleman in The City, and the eccentric nightlife characters that adorn the streets of Soho, Fletcher decided to take elements of each, and through his pristine lense, created an amalgamation of cohesive looks for both men and women.
The influence of tailoring in this country is evident no matter the decade or aesthetic, so beginning his SS23 collection, he focused on suiting balancing the weight of naval uniforms with the refined taste of Mods, taking Prince of Wales check and adding satin collar shirts and country kilts spliced at the hip for a modern infusion to a classic.
Referencing past collections in his SS23 instalment is a beautiful, yet subtle nod to the designer’s evolution since his days at Central Saint Martins. From SS19 corsets, AW20 racing jackets and the famous pyjama sets in red and blue that launched his career, he played with his own pillars of brand heritage.
In particular, taking something usually referenced as a feminine item, Fletcher gave men the chance to wear corsets, either adding them to a rigid tailored look or accompanying them to schoolboy shorts alluding to the dress-up and dress-down notion associated with the relaxed vibe of Londoners dress sense.
As the collection unfolded, the last quarter of Fletcher’s exploration of British style saw a swansong of characters arrive from the depths of nightlife. In a chocolate brown leather blazer, a direct nod to the queer scene of the nineties, a stomping of trailblazing looks, complete with body-hugging evening dresses, leather slim-fitting trousers and trailing faux fur stoles, make the revival of the mid-century aristocrats attire an exciting to the contemporary sphere of London Fashion Week.
This collection was clearly a love letter to the designer’s newfound home, well the one he has inhabited for the past decade, and the influence of those that have walked the streets before him was evident. Though many would struggle to encompass the multitude of aesthetics at play, Fletcher’s ability to craft an array of looks across women’s and menswear that balance legacy with his design language is something truly noteworthy. And if inspiration from the grey streets of the capital can infuse that much elegance into his clothes, I look forward to seeing what comes next.
by Imogen Clark