Cottweiler are known for ‘story-telling’ and portraying a narrative at presentations and shows. Their Spring Summer 2017 collection is no exception. Cottweiler envisioned a future European community representing a new Mediterranean. “The inspiration originally came from an archaic Cycladic sculpture that was passed down to Matthew from his grandmother, who was from one of the Aegean Islands,” says Cottrell. “This sculpture became the starting point for our research into the importance of the Mediterranean, past and present.”
This looking at the importance of the Mediterranean and envisioning of a future European community may have been a reaction to Brexit and the growing political divisiveness in Europe. The British designers may be portraying the idea that a European community is diminishing and now only exists in imagery of paradise. For example, Dainty and Cottrell decided to place smashed ceramics over the runway and called it the “future ruin of a hotel resort”. In itself, smashed ceramics hold connotations of aggression and brokenness.
However, there is humour surrounding the collection as Cottweiler look to holiday makers for inspiration; those that laze around in leisure garments going for health treatments or to the gym. The sky blue looks could be said to be a golf-visor and the towels tucked into waistbands are those going to the spa. This collection, like a lot of Cottweilers previous collections have an element of ‘fetishisation of sportswear’. This influence derives from the gay skinhead scene; which is communicated in Murray Healy, the author of 1996’s Gay Skins: Class, Masculinity and Queer Appropriation – one of the earliest investigations into the gay skinhead scene. Ben Cottrell grew up as a skinhead and therefore may have seen or experienced this culture first hand.
This influence is seen through the transparent shorts and trousers, glossy fabrics, open jackets tucked into trousers and necklaces that are similar to ‘spiked bondage’ necklaces. ‘Look 6’ (seen in fig.8) in particular carries strong references as the topless ‘pool boy’ wears loose glossy trousers and a hat. The designers have admitted to this being an influence. However, the pair do not set out to be sexually provocative, they see this as a subtle influence and feel that the lines are blurred.
// Photography – SIMON ARMSTRONG //