Edgy meets Savile Row as Daniel W Fletcher unveils Huntsman collab
Daniel W Fletcher showed AW23 in London on Friday with the gilded-but-slightly-faded grandeur of a suite of rooms at RA Burlington House being a fitting backdrop for a collection that blended his signature attention to unmissable detail with the understated perfection of Savile Row tailoring.
While it was clearly a collection for someone who demands to be noticed, there was also plenty there for a shopper whose taste runs more to quiet luxury: an impeccable sharp-shouldered men’s suit or women’s tailored coat in neutral tones; softly flaring pants and crisp white shirts; tactile woollen not-quite loungewear with loose overshirt and relaxed pants; strapless loose and fluid dresses in black or white that feel very ‘1958 couture’; and much more.
What’s particularly interesting about this season is Fletcher’s collaboration with 174-year-old Savile Row tailor Huntsman (if you don’t know it, the business is the inspiration for the Kingsman movie series).
Over the past six months, Fletcher has worked with the house to develop nine bespoke suits (available made-to-order at Huntsman Savile Row) and 12 ready-to-wear styles, each inspired by the archives of both brands.
In line with this, the tailoring is undeniably formal but with a silhouette that’s sometimes more exaggerated. A key point is the stronger shoulder lines and narrower waists than Huntsman is used to (and that required it to adapt its techniques, more of which later).
Particularly appealing is the visible basting detail, used here as decorative topstitching and therefore forging a link with Fletcher’s signature top-stitching. That can be found on a series of casual jackets and pants, while the basting highlights the seams and edges on tailored coats and blazers.
Fletcher told Fashionetwork.com that after watching the tailors basting suits during fittings, he wasn’t sure Huntsman would like the idea of using it as decoration.
“When we were doing the fittings I thought ‘I love this’. Because they’re so traditional I thought they might feel funny about using it. But they loved it too,” he said.
It’s now all about sharp tailoring, of course. Fletcher also plays with a more louche silhouette for ready-to-wear, with a new fluidity for oversized shirts, wide-leg trousers and A-line jackets.
But the Savile Row tailoring link is crucial. “Paris has couture and London has Savile Row, so I wanted it to feel like that,” he explained.
And his decision to show as the slimmed-down June London Fashion Week was also a consequence of that Savile Row partnership: “It was about the collaboration and the time it takes to make the suits. People can have their fittings now to make the suits to wear in the autumn and winter. Plus it’s nice to have that menswear moment still”.
Meanwhile, for Huntsman, the collaboration is part of its efforts to evolve the house and reach out to new and younger customers — as well as women, who are increasingly important to the business.
Its Creative Director and Head Cutter Campbell Carey told Fashionnetwork.com that the original approach for the collab came from Fletcher, but once they came together, it was clearly a meeting of minds.
“He came to Hunstman and we pulled about a dozen garments from our archive. We talked through the nuances of a bespoke garment that we at Huntsman take for granted. Daniel’s very smart and picked up on those nuances from the get-go.
“We put one of our Huntsman single-button slant-pocket jackets on a mannequin and talked through tweaks to that silhouette and how we could make it a Fletcher-Huntsman silhouette. Daniel understands it.”
So how different is Fletcher-style Huntsman from Huntsman-style Huntsman?
“A lot different,” Cary said. One example of this is how “the waistline is more accentuated. You can’t just put the darts in and expect the inside to handle it. You’ve got to work on the structure on the inside. We put a lot of canvas at the waist. It’s really sculpted and all quite dramatic.”
The collab appears to be a win-win for both brands. Fletcher gets to work with a storied house that can help elevate his work. And Huntsman taps into the halo effect of a more progressive brand.
“We’re working on making Huntsman a more progressive forward-thinking house,” Carey added. The collection shown on Friday should get it closer to that goal.
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