Monday 10th June

| BY Helena Fletcher

Stefan Cooke: Menswear SS20

Swathes of white cotton sheets pegged onto adjoining washing lines filling the centre of the catwalk bellowed gently with the breeze as guests passed by taking their seats. The set design by Zechariah Miah was a scene setting nod to the curtains of cinemas and theatres, which act to conceal as well as dictate what can and cannot be seen. The concept of façades was pertinent and palpable; interwoven through almost every aspect of Stefan Cooke’s SS20 collection.

“We did a lot of deep research into costume and visited a few costume archives, looking at a lot of techniques found on 16th-century dress but only having like 20p to do it and try to innovate and trick everyone in the process,” explains Stefan Cooke. The ideas of acting and costume also have a personal resonance to the pair: “We realised it’s what we’ve been doing, putting on a front,” says Jake Burt. Inspired by the Off-Broadway theatre scene and the actors they met whilst visiting New York earlier this year, the design duo melded together high and low intrinsically, incorporating couture-level intricacies and techniques juxtaposed with sweatpants and extremely wearable pieces. The devil was truly in the detail.

Both Cooke and Burt have a mutual innate penchant for thrift shopping, scaling charity shops and getting up at the crack of dawn to visit a car boot in a far-flung corner of London, always keeping their eyes peeled for gorgeous goods and fostering new ideas. And their approach and attention to details have established themselves as a brand with accessories to watch. This season the button bag strap returned refined and joined by the addition of intricate crochet rope straps. Cooke’s debut shoe collaboration with Marko Bakovic took the form of dress shoes that laced up from the toes in a wine red, powder pastel hues and monochrome. The sunglasses were again designed with Tom Davies-Kent, who invaded dainty chains within the clear frames. It was a sublime first standalone show.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans