What do you expect to see at a runway show by a highly respected British sportswear brand? I’m sure traditionally English things like chequered prints, soft colours, khaki, wool and jodhpurs. The London S/S 2015 shows are full of such nostalgia… all but British sporting giant Daks, made a complete about-turn in terms of it’s design.
Gone are the red- blooded English- heritage looks; instead of camel cashmere and riding boots, Daks premiered a soigné of soft and elegant looks in silk plissé, taffeta, and ostrich feathers. Creative director Filippo Scuffi turned to ballet for this offering, with Swan Lake’s Odette being highly referenced’ hence the show’s setting- the magnificent Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Silhouettes were graceful and feminine and there were many beautiful couture details to be seen throughout. Origami pleating, fan shapes, layered organza and a gorgeous floral silk-taffeta neckline were striking inclusions, but the real show-stoppers were to be seen in the designer’s use of feathers. Layered flat over heavy silk like an intricate cloth pattern, or decorating the hemlines of jackets and dresses like frothy lace, the feathers were unexpected and sublime. Feather detailing is an art form and keeping their use from looking messy or overly fussy takes the hands of design and construction masters. This show proves Mr. Scuffi’s and the House of Daks’ talent, as here they appear streamlined, strikingly cool- and completely gorgeous!
It was a sumptuous show, with a rich colour palette in tones of lavender, gray, black and white (another ballet reference?) and a wide range of looks that are easy to incorporate into a modern woman’s closet. There really is something for occasion in this collection, with streamlined daywear options being seen alongside sportier looks and striking red carpet fare. All this from a sportswear brand?? I was pleasantly shocked too.
There’s a subtle sexiness to be seen in the very short shorts, the odd crop top and the whisper-thin fabrics, but its still very ladylike. Everything’s sleek and neat- almost professional, but with an endearingly sporty and relaxed edge. The dressier items look surprisingly casual, with simple shapes and minimal fuss- one evening look showcased a layered taffeta ball skirt with a grey button-down tee!
Truly, it’s a takeaway from what you’d expect from Daks- a brand which holds three royal warrants for it’s traditional work, but despite all the changes they stayed close to their sporting roots. Crisp white cotton skirts and sleek pleated trousers were shown along with relaxed blouses, dresses and tee-skirts- there was even a little leather to be seen as well. With the fantastic design growth and experimentation of this brand, who knows, next show might bring some python or crocodile!
My favourite pieces are the tailored trousers in metallic grey silk, white organza and (of course) the feathered version. I also like the layered ball skirt, the white button-front dress with the origami sleeves, the strapless silver mini and the white tuxedo blouse. I could wear these pieces almost anywhere.
Al in all, the show was an interestingly surprising and successful one. It will be interesting to see how Daks’ customers adjust to the change. If anything, this collection shows that even if you live a sporting life, there is always a need for clothes that can work both on and away from the sporting greens. -Ana