Paris. June 19th 2019.
Uprooting from his British heritage, Daniel W. Fletcher presents his Spring Summer 2020 Collection ‘Hopelessly Devoted' in Paris for the very first time. It might be this city that Fletcher feels helped him truly understand what it means to be a designer, yet it's the call of America that proves to be this collection’s most prominent narrative arc.
If in the past there’s been longing and looking to Fletcher’s British heritage, this time the muddied pitches of the North have been exchanged for the preppy football fields of an idyllic – albeit slightly twisted - America. It’s prom night and the Daniel W. Fletcher muse is fresh from the big game. His date is waiting and he’s not entirely sure what he’s going to piece together. Is it the time to wear the gym shorts with his long-loved sweater and a necktie for a nod to formality, or the lilac wrestling leotard stolen from the Lost and Found, repurposed as a backdrop to a blue button-down shirt? Perhaps. But there lies his father’s oversized tailoring. The seams are raw and the split trouser seams will flow over his polished-up shoes.
If his father’s influence permeates in the oversized tailoring and raw-seam coat, what about this high-school stud’s sister? Find her in the saccharine vintage moiré laced down the back of trench coats or worn Danny Zuko-style appearing under top-stitched blazer jackets, already bestowed with homecoming confetti. There’s the bow from her ball gown fastened over the waistband of varsity color trousers, too.
Like the plot-lines played out in classic American cinema hits, nothing is quite as it seems. Team knits not only come with initials, but with unexplained rips and tears, while cummerbunds find themselves at the meeting point between track pants and varsity sweaters.
Now with several seasons to look back on, Fletcher found creativity within his own archive. Understanding the pieces that have previously shaped collections and developed into signatures, you’ll find these here once again, but paraphrased to meet the optimism recently spending time in America offered to this Central Saint Martins graduate. The familiar navy, blue and monochrome color palette is awkwardly interjected with hopeful powder blues and lilacs that, while coming from a similar origin, don’t quite perfectly sit together.
Still packed with the spirit of a melting point between heritage and the rephrasing of contemporary menswear, there’s a new sense of formality that comes from this new-found place of optimism. It’s not quite hedonism but there’s a nod to the newness and uncertainty that surrounds Fletcher’s British grounding.
Of course, prom doesn’t come without graduation. So, it felt natural for Fletcher to swiftly think about his own time in education: predominately the European grants that offered him the chance to learn in the couture houses of Paris. Will this be offered to the next generation? The future remain unknown but the pertinence of what it meant to and enabled for Fletcher is as evident as it was the day he hopped back on British soil, there’s just a few more moiré prom king sashes.
Words by Naomi Pike.
Photographed by Jessica Segal
Styled by Ben Schofield