ARCADIA is a menswear collection rooted in my upbringing in the English countryside. I intend to explore my relationship with the expectations of archetypal English men, exploring the vulnerability and gentility I believe should be, yet is not, innate in this ideal. The motivation behind this collection is to determine an epicene balance between fragile elegance and masculine virility. To find in beautiful details, colour palettes or ways of wearing clothes an imbued notion of softness and fragility, yet to remain grounded in menswear. Tropes of traditional English public school and countryside clothing such as tailoring, piping, cable knit, and cricket jumpers will be reinterpreted to form new notions of English masculinity.
The muse of the collection is a young aristocratic man who is born into but does not adhere to the inherited archetypal ideal of an English gentleman, instead adopting his own free willed less laboured notion. This muse would be akin to characters such as Sebastian Flyte, the protagonist of Brideshead Revisited, and Rupert Everett’s portrayal of queer defiance and fragility in the face of British tradition in Another Country. As well as this, the spirit of Cecil Beaton and his delicate male portraits, and the languor of Deborah Turbeville’s photographs permeate the collection. Ensuring a departure from the traditional ‘buttoned up’ idea of English men, remaining couth but with an instilled sense of self-determination.
The colours are largely muted, encompassing a palette of neutral camels, ecru beiges, and flecked oatmeals. These will predominantly be worn tonally, with wool sateen suiting, lambswool twills, suedes, and exotic leathers providing varied and sumptuous materiality. This materiality is seen further in the development of a silk satin cable knit quilted sweatshirt, a lavish reimagination of the cricket jumper. There will also be injections of lightness through classic blue shirting fabrics, whilst the hazy rich and dark markings of tortoiseshell will punctuate looks through use in linings, accessories and statement outerwear.
This collection is intended to feel tailored, yet languid, with sloping shoulderlines and a sense of ease defining the silhouette. Scarf lapelled overcoats swathe the figure whilst deep pleated trousers break softly over shoes and semi-detached cuffs fall gently over the hand. Leather bags will adorn looks with a multitude of small leather goods tied on nonchalantly, injecting both practical storage and the luxurious visual impact of varying textures of leather and suede.
The motivation behind this collection is to determine an epicene balance between fragile elegance and masculine virility.