Monday 6th January

| BY Dino Bonacic

Stefan Cooke: Menswear AW20

When it comes to London Fashion Week Men’s, most of the collaborations here are focused on hype. Special edition trainers or novelty accessories, maybe a puffer jacket here and there. At Stefan Cooke AW20 though, the collab game was taken to a whole new level. As part of their second standalone collection since emerging out of Fashion East, Jake Burt and Stefan Cooke worked with Lee Jeans, the legendary all-American denim brand. And when I say “worked with”, I really mean it. Looks after looks of classic jeans and trucker jackets, revisited and elaborated on like only this duo knows how. Covered in trompe l’oeil prints (which were actually engraved via a laser technique which has been quite prominent this season), as well as embellished with rhinestones and intricate stitching, the denim pieces were completed with matching little hunting bags which extended Cooke and Burt’s successful interest in reworking vintage purses.

In fact, vintage silhouettes enveloped the collection as a whole. Mostly womenswear, of course. Stefan Cooke is a brand that takes a lot of cues from old couture shapes of the past. This season, those were present in the form of boat neck raglan-sleeved coats and pleated mini skirts in plaid poking underneath the outerwear, all somehow referential of Cristòbal Balenciaga; if his customers were 1990s-obsessed grunge kids. Painted-on leather garments marked a partnership with an old intern and a good friend of Burt and Cooke, Will Bond who also happens to be an expert in airbrush paintings. Their strong accessories game continued with the hats, with simple beanie shapes transformed into something thought-provoking by the introduction of a simple slash, allowing the customer to play with the piece and personalise it in the process. The name of the collection was “The End”, with the line also appearing airbrushed onto some of their reworked vintage bags. It was meant to signify their self-referential tendencies which resulted in reconsidering elements from their past outings in fresh, new ways. But with a demonstration of forceful creative power like this, Stefan Cooke are just getting started.

Photographs by Jason-Lloyd Evans.