British designer Nicholas Daley made his London Fashion Week NEWGEN debut this season with his S/S 18 presentation Madras. Daley has been cited as one-to-watch for some time now, no doubt because of his unique and in-depth references, his considered presentation format and of course, his skill.
This collection was not just about the clothes - which were excellent I might add - it was the details, the accents, the little additions, that gave this collection a 360 degree inclusive feel. The press release came in the creamiest of eggshells crafted from hand-made paper, the invite a bespoke check printed handkerchief by Moon Hussain inspired by Madras textiles from 1855 - which came in a hand-printed check envelope. Daley himself was circulating the showroom, wearing a full-look from the collection, shaking hands, smiling ear-to-ear and extending anecdotes. Everything adhered to Daley’s signature aesthetic.
Often fascinated by the joining of two cultures (the label’s first collection was entitled Culture Clash), for S/S 18 Daley looked to the 19th century British textile industry and its predominant trade with South Asia, indulging in particular with the 'Madras Check' and its many reinterpretations over the centuries. This check, of which Daley spent extensive time researching at the Victoria and Albert Museum, could be seen smattered across the collection in an assortment of variations; on a sand coloured double-pocketed summer jacket, on moss green shirts with an asymmetric neck, across adjustable knee-length shorts and applied traditionally on a tempting dove grey kilt - a nod to Daley’s Scottish heritage. The check was perhaps the most arresting when applied in a vibrant oversized patchwork of colour and style on shirt, short and coat.
Amongst the set of plastic decorative mats, woven ornaments and burning incense, Nabihah Iqbal (A.K.A. NTS DJ Throwing Shade, a regular collaborator with Daley) and Golu Singh Gaba were sat playing the sitar and tabla, highlighting once more Daley’s attention to detail and inclusion of the culture he has referenced so richly. While the ambience was very much that of Southern Asia, the presentation still projected the importance of British craftsmanship, see those desert chukka boots from Clarks and those slim checked scarves. Even the check itself was woven by J.H.Clissold & Son - a centuries old Yorkshire mill. Those waxen jackets too felt reminiscent of British heritage and really sang when worn next to the bright checks. This was a richly researched, cohesive collection and an impressive venture into the world of London Fashion Week Men’s for Daley.