British brands and the power marketing behind them-- never mind the pure Shakespearean drama -- has always intrigued fashion watchers. The phoenix-like rise and fall -- and rise again -- of brands such as Burberry and Mulberry have kept fashion critics, consumers and business analysts on their toes for years. Now, another brand has entered the fray. We are talking about Daks, whose once staid, camel check ID has gone through the polished Italian treatment with its Creative Director Filippo Scuffi.
Last season, Scuffi started on the path of a makeover, jettisoning wool for taffeta, camel for lavender, checks for monochrome -- and even introducing a mantilla (like we said -- on our toes). Today's presentation was another step forward in that path of haute gamme Italian tailoring, delivered via the unlikely mechanism of bikers. Looking like it was inspired straight from Peter Lindbergh's 90's iconic shoot, "Wild at Heart" (where Marlon Brando was conjured up by the likes of Helena, Tatjana, Naomi, Cindy, et al.), luxe tough was the theme.
The biker cap set the tone, and from there, geometric dresses and looks with bright tights that are having a moment were backed up by linear tailoring. A killer blood red look with quilted cuffs on the trousers drew an approving gasp from the crowd. In fact, a highlight was the quilted detailing: those looks had an unmistakable Italian toolmanship behind them. A simply beautiful print that looked like the Union Jack flag devised from florals soared, adding oomph to the grey Prince of Wales trousers and sumptuous leather jacket with shearling detail (by the way, that jacket had us thinking "save up paychecks" already).
There were some dubious looks -- like a red biker jacket that was too Michael Jackson for us, and a leather boiler suit. Thank the fashion gods the latter was on a dude so we don’t have to think about it. The niggling doubt that we left with was whether Scuffi was heaping on too much Italian and perhaps leading Daks down a path of losing its English identity. Don’t forget, Daks has a huge Asian following, a clientele with an insatiable appetite for all things English. That fact has been the saving grace for many an English brand -- so let's hope that Scutti won't lose sight of it.