Since the house's inception, Casely-Hayford have forged an eloquent handwriting of modern English style that has left the pulse of this blogger's eyes racing. The father and son design duo have carefully crafted a signature style of relaxed masculine proportions and exquisite tailoring, whilst fusing it with an injection of the raw energy of London's dynamic under belly that constantly inspires them both. Their's is an ever intriguing house that encourages change whilst being grounded in tradition. With each season, they explore, play and experiment with the duality of English Sartorialism and British Anarchy. With each season, the desire to own a Casely-Hayford dominated wardrobe grows. I had the good fortune of examining the AW12 collection up close back in February thanks to The Showroom Next Door and even though most events that occurred that far back have been long forgotten, memories of this collection have stayed with me. Months may have passed but my longing to touch the collection has never wavered. So, as it goes live on their site today and the products begin to find their way in a selection of the finest stores across the globe, I snapped up the opportunity to revisit the collection
For their previous Autumn/Winter collection they offered an eloquent summation of the previous five collections and signified a real statement of intent. The pair used the previous collections to individually explore key strands of the house DNA, from the luxury sportswear of SS09 to the Afropunk of SS10 and military detailing of AW10. Now, taking inspiration from the acclaimed Grayson Perry exhibition ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’ that lit up London’s British Museum late last year, where ancient and modern artefacts were placed in unfamiliar territory, Casely-Hayford bring together signifiers from a range of British cultural symbols to create a cultural similitude. As Perry prompted the viewer to consider his curated artefacts in a new context, they offer a sartorial reality which is simultaneously old and new – it’s aim being to emphasise 'subcultures' which actively sought a minority style in an attempt to lay claim to an identity apart from the mainstream. For AW12, the sartorial alchemists draw influence from a series of British iconic signifiers associated with subcultures of the past, present and future. Parkas from 60’s Teddy boys, Biker jackets of the 70’s Punks, MA1’s from 80’s skinheads, Puffa Jackets from Manchester’s 90’s rave scene and bomber jackets from 00’s youth street culture have all been run through the Casely-Hayford design machinery for a unique reinterpretation.
The idea of cultural similitude is probably seen at its best in the style Biddick. Here, Casely-Hayford partner with English heritage brand Lavenham, makers of the original quilted paddock jacket, to introduce a great hybrid which merges this classic item of English country attire with the edge and rebellion of the leather sleeved bomber jacket. Elsewhere, the house continues to source and collaborate with a selection of the finest British manufacturers. From working with a small artisanal knitter based in the Donegal Mountains of Ireland by taking colour from the rugged Donegal landscape and knitted in authentic Aran Tweed to create ‘Thames’, an anglicised version of the familiar Varsity Jacket to the 'Viking' crew neck which streamlines traditional patchwork and cable designs to create a strong 21st century graphic statement through a sharp fusion of pattern and texture, these fair Isles are continuously celebrated.
Much as I excitedly bounced from rail to rail in the Showroom Next Door back in February, my eyes now dance from each look book shot. Below, a few of my favourite looks are accompanied by my own detail shots from London...
Throughout this considered collection, the sartorial alchemists that are Casely-Hayford offer a plethora of appealing and surprising proposals whilst cementing the House's ethos of 'Innovation through Tradition'. With a rich seam of ideas heavily based on English tradition, they simultaneously navigate unchartered territory by looking to the future, AW12 offers a new and relevant meaning to the signature Casely-Hayford handwriting.