While in the United States we consider a brand that has lasted 30 or 40 years to have achieved a tremendous feat, and in today’s economy they have, when we “jump the pond” we see labels that are well into their fourth or fifth generation. Such is the case with DAKS which is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. The brand started by Stephen Simeon is renowned for its incredible tailoring and unwavering commitment to wearable style.
DAKS did what one might expect for this anniversary, going back and looking at some of their better pieces from earlier generations. Most specifically, much of the inspiration for this season’s collection came from the 1940s. There is a very definite military feel to many of the silhouettes and a certain air of classicism to the collection as a whole. Yet, don’t think that this is a retro look. While unquestionably influenced by the past, these looks are 100% new in ways that are absolutely wonderful.
Refined is actually the best word to describe this collection. From the camel and gold colors that provide the foundation for the majority of pieces, to the high-waisted slacks that are pretty much synonymous with the DAKS brand, these are ensembles that are well put together. The correct shoe and the correct glove go with the correct coat over the correct dress.
Where these clothes really stand out is in the detailing. A double-breasted military style coat has a cape-styled back and belts from the inside. A tartan skirt with asymmetrical folds ties loosely at the waist. Full-length cable knit sweater dresses that have gold lame panels in back. Attention to details at this level are what has made DAKS the popular label it is and obviously a habit that is deeply ingrained.
If there is one curious element to this collection it is the use of Busby hats throughout. We Americans know them best as the big black hats worn by the red-coated Beefeater guards at Buckingham Palace. Here, they appear not only in black, but in camel and even in tartan. The visual effect is a curious one and I don’t see it quite making its way to stores this fall. There were also some backward newsboy hats, but they came across much better.
There is also an interesting amount of gold lame scattered throughout this collection. For the most part, it is used wisely and appropriately, but there are a few pieces that go off track a bit with looks that come off cheap and costumey.
Not all anniversary collections look back without sacrificing contemporary styling, but DAKS has done a very good job of celebrating its anniversary with both classic looks and contemporary refinement. A very wearable collection should do extremely well in stores this fall.