Earlier on this week Anna Wintour said that this season is a big one for London Fashion Week as all eyes will be on the capital in light of the Queen's Jubilee this year and the Olympics. The strong house checks that Sheila McKain-Waid used to open the Daks show this morning were a fitting tribute then to all things British.
As always, the collection was all about heritage. Over the past few years the brand moved away from focusing on their check, which is something we saw a lot of brands do over the course of the recession, especially with logos, but it was nice to see them celebrate this heritage this morning. Over the knee length dresses and outwerwear all came in the print, which also appeared in quilted styles. The emphasis on heritage was apparent in McKain-Waid's emphasis on the the classics this season, as the collection was full of pieces that you know will last years and transcend seasons. Many dresses came with conservative hemlines and were subtly belted at the waist whilst others came in halter neck styles that revealed an appropriate level of skin on the back. Equally good were the simple but effective palazzo pants that came with thick waistbands with streamlined turtlenecks tucked in underneath.
Burberry aside, not many brands do heritage quite like Daks. If you want proof, look no further than their Fall 2011 collection, which has just hit shop floors. The recent opening of their archive museum saw the house reflecting upon their history for the new collection.
Like seasons past, the collection features all of the signature pieces that you would expect from the brand like the original check appearing on the lining of classic outerwear pieces and light cashmere in re-worked styles born out of their partnership with Johnston's and Elgin. But that's not all. Despite the emphasis on the past, the collection definitely has something new, spurred no doubt by their collaboration with Emma Bradbury, Daks/RCA 2009 Competition Winner, who continued the brand's penchant for all things British on the knitwear whilst also adding something contemporary.
A short film playing on the runway before the show began transported us to seaside this morning at Daks. Inspired by the British seaside in the 1950s, the show featured a selection of summer classics like white summer dresses and the seaside theme translated onto nautical stripes on tops and drawstring roped shorts. Terrycloth playsuits and shorts came in an oversized version of the signature Daks house check, which also appeared on mens coats and women's trench coats tapping into the brand's heritage, which is particularly relevant considering the recent opening of their archive museum.
Knitwear was also a key element of the collection with Emma Bradbury, the Daks/RCA 2009 competition, winner coming on board to experimet with blue-faced Leicester wool - another aspect of the collection's strong nod to all things British.
Despite changing creative directors a while ago the collection was still Daks, although slightly less exciting than past seasons. Sheila McKain-Waid kept their usual muted tones like crisp white, nudes and navy and their signature poplin shirts came in an updated style tied at the waist and the traditional summer dress was made more interesting as they came in stripy bias cut halter neck styles with pleated and embroidered calf skimming skirts.
It felt like fashion week had officially started today when the first model walked down the runway at Daks. As you would expect, Filippo Scuffi worked the brand'ssignature clean aesthetic to great effect. The collection opened with high waisted knit shorts teamed with a simple grey top and pinafore dresses also appeared in a similar hue. Lines were kept simple with white blouses styled with high waisted tailored shorts in mustard and a white bibbed shirt dress came in a maxi length.
Inspired by India, long sleeved tops and dresses came in lightweight fabrics that will be perfect to wear in hot temperatures. Trousers were often wide legged and linen, and breazy maxi dresses came in off-white styles with strong box pleats which also appeared on midi skirts styled with black knitwear tops. The pleating - inspired by the 1930's - got heavier as the show went on dominating a grey bell shaped dress,
Rich mustards appeared throughout - based on the designers love of the rich spieces and colours of India - giving a welcomed splash of colour to the predominantly neutral colour palette. Bright mustard appeared on subtly printed volumous and simple shirt dresses but most notably on a summer maxi styled with a simple grey knit cardigan.
Scruffi also played with easy tailoring, sending relaxed fit jackets down the runway with structured cropped shorts with big satchel bags in vachetta leather finishing the look. Even eveningwear had a relaxed understated elegance.