Cottweiler’s Spring Summer 2016 presentation at London Collections Men was one of the most talked-about shows of the season. The collection has two key influences; London Hare Krishna Group and New Build housing. They combined elements of religious dress codes with soft furnishings to create a collection that explores notions of nature and harmony.
The fusion of religion and soft furnishings may be a reaction to the current trend of compassionate capitalism. Within this we see capitalism being used as a means to achieve compassionate goals. Therefore, the influence of new build housing represents capitalism and materialism and Krishna represents compassion; being the God of compassion and love in Hinduism.
The idea of a return to spirituality can be seen in the theme of cleanliness in the collection. Furthermore, it is seen in the key references; “In Hinduism, cleanliness is an important virtue and the Bhagavad Gita describes it as one of the divine qualities which one must practice.” Also, the necessary virtues of a new house are cleanliness and simplicity in design; both are necessary for modern living.
When the designers viewed and analysed show rooms for new houses they found that clean white interiors effectively portray an air of luxury. Cleanliness is portrayed throughout the collection and has impacted the choice of colours, fabrics, cuts and the presentation itself. The collections colour palette present shades of white; colours are stripped out and the focus instead is on the simplicity, purity and range that white can provide. Cottweiler like to create new colours by playing with transparency and layering of fabrics – “The pearl finish gives an etherial quality and added to the softness we were trying to achieve this season.”
The presentation for the collection was set in the squash court of a sports centre in Holborn. The influence of show rooms is clearly seen in the set design; the models standing on a single piece of furniture and simple surroundings; no clutter.
Furthermore, I believe the pink background provides warmth to the presentation. This colour choice may have been a reaction to the trend ‘Millennial Pink’. The trend slowly began in 2012 and found its title ‘Millennial Pink’ in 2016 when the trend peaked. This trend has influenced male and female fashion and has encouraged men to wear shades of pink without feeling feminine or emasculated.
The colour now has lost a lot of its feminine connotations and has become more gender neutral. This may have been interesting to Cottweiler as the designers are continuously blurring the lines between conventional gender attributes. Although it’s a menswear brand, hints of femininity show in the spring summer collection by the use of the translucent fabric; which could also link back to their initial influence of the Hare Krishna Group and how god is often portrayed as genderless.
Furthermore, the collection could be a reaction to the trend of minimalism in fashion and interiors at the time. This is portrayed within the minimalist colourways and classic tailoring cuts and choice of fabric. The collection embraces and prioritizes cut and craft; Garments sit low over knees and elbows and are cropped at the ankle. The simplistic design means more importance on fits and tailoring; which is something that Cottweiler deem of high importance.
// Photography – SIMON ARMSTRONG //