Stefan Cooke A/W 2020 London Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: For a good chunk of time it seemed that London’s designers were hell-bent on reorganising the status quo. Gender constructs? Out of the window! Masculine or feminine readings of clothes began to feel dated in an age of inclusivity. Stefan Cooke and partner Jake Burt, however, are poised on the brink of a new dawn of clothes tailored to the male-identifying body. A/W 20 was focused on elegance and gesture. Here, the frill of a pleated peplum fell over a straight leg jean; a bare chest peaked out from underneath a sliced lavender coloured knit. Dress coats and slim trousers came in English tweeds; Icelandic inspired knits were slashed at the shoulder. Necklines on coats and tailored jackets took their cue from wide, boat-neck tops channelling a 60s couture oomph. It felt like a fresh, unabashed decluttering of norms.
Team work: Since launching in 2017, Cooke and Burt have ushered in a tactility largely absent from young menswear. Their focus is innovation, the merging of techniques. Their diamond cut-out knits have in a short time become a clear signature of both craft and cool. For A/W 2020 they applied this thinking to denim, unveiling a new collection with Lee Jeans. The brand’s classic Rider jacket jeans and Wizzit overalls had been studded all-over or laser etched with a baroque pattern.
Scene setting: The official show space for London Fashion Week Mens is a daylight-flooded old brewery – its polished concrete floor and white walls offer an anonymity required for the showing of multiple collections. Yet a handful of designers have already transformed the space into a more imaginative backdrop. For Per Götesson, artist Tony Hornecker littered the runway with pagan bricolage fountains and flowers. Bethany Williams projected a collaged animation onto a canvas box. Art School guided models through a hazy cloud of white chalk, their footprints streaking the floor. A set speaks volumes. For Stefan Cooke, designer Zechariah Miah placed rows upon rows of chairs and musical stands down the runway. They sat empty throughout the show: an invisible orchestra. The duo’s very own trompe-l’œil ensemble. §