Ornamental, extraneous, unnecessary - such ideas are antithesis to disciples of minimalist design. But, it is in these flourishes that much of what moves fashion forward can be found, and it’s certainly what makes it fun.
The latest Casely-Hayford collection might not have pushed the envelope very far, but there were a few saving graces that helped move it a mite. One such was an extra neckline which could be found on men’s striped crew neck sweaters. It appeared to be entirely decorative, twisted at a 90 degree angle from the actual opening and stitched in place to create a neat pleat just off centre. Wholly original? Nope. But well executed at least, and such little twists and tweaks have littered the shows this weekend - a reward for the detail-focussed in a season that has at times been lacking in bold fashion statements.
Casely-Hayford felt bold in ambition if less so in execution. Experimental knitwear ran throughout, especially in the debut of the brand’s womenswear proper. Although the father/son duo have created bespoke items for female customers for a while, this was the first time they have shown a fully realised offering for them. Unfortunately, these didn’t quite work - a Franken-knit navy polo neck splinched onto a bottle green cardigan made little sense, while the finale look that combined a blue silk dress pretty enough to stand alone was over-complicated and weighed down with half a navy cardigan and a panel of what looked like a lightweight flasher mac. In the context of the catwalk it seemed naive, but in the real world it would surely allude to a jumble sale at best, and the stability of the wearer’s mental health at worst.
This collection was intended as a celebration of Casely-Hayford Senior’s 30 year archive, explained the show notes, which perhaps could account for the hodgepodge feeling that pervaded. It was a surprise - a disappointing one at that - then, that there was something amateurish in idea and implementation from this elder statesman of London fashion.