Stefan Cooke S/S 2020 London Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: Last season, the textile duo Stefan Cooke and partner Jake Burt reflected on their earlier work, looking at contemporary notions of craft and the playful pop-art qualities of tromp l’oeil. For their first standalone show, their collection took inspiration from the archetypal theatre archive and the Off-Broadway scene in New York, where the duo had spent some time this year. Designers are so often found rootling around historical dress collections, yet Cooke was interested in how the look can be recreated with minimal funds. The resulting collection saw scans of original antique costumes and court dress applied onto inexpensive canvas and cotton. A frock coat from the Royal National Theatre archives was printed onto an engineered smock; a 15th-century dress seemingly wrapped itself around a pair of trousers.
Scene setting: The season looked at the getting in-and-out of costume, on stage and off. The duo mused on the downtime dressing of drama students juxtaposed with the mad flurry of costume changes that might happen mid-show, when elaborate stage wear is undone in seconds with the yank of a zip. Set designer Zechariah Miah created a washing line installation down the centre of the show space; white cotton sheets, just hitting the floor, were reminiscent of theatre curtains ready to be drawn, yet also alluded to the everyday drama of domesticity.
Best in show: The craftsmanship at work for S/S20 included standout diamond cut-out knits. Central to the season was a beautiful hand-tied tulle overlay applied onto trousers, the sleeves of a three-button wool shirt jacket and made into sheer vests. The textile was used as a reference to the conservation lace used to prevent the decay of old fabrics left to languish in the archive. §