Still high from nabbing the latest International Woolmark Prize for men’s wear, Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty took a luxurious turn for this rich, textured and colorful collection inspired by their exploration of Slovenia’s celebrated Krizna Jama cave network.
To set the mood, they staged the show in the darkly lit mineralogy rooms at London’s Natural History Museum, where models walked a long and narrow runway meant to recall the cave tunnels, and showed off printed silk trousers, delicate fuzzy wool sweaters and a distressed, flocked nylon tracksuit that looked as if it was made from bits of shiny black rock.
“We wanted a softer touch and a more formal approach to sportswear,” said Cottrell, adding that the aim was also to create “texture, layering and a lot more luxury to the fabrics.”
Textural effects came through with accessories and styling, too: Models carried spelunking equipment and wore chunky clips around their waists, while their arms and legs were streaked with a waxy goo as if they’d just emerged from the center of the earth. Trainers and leather bags, the latter courtesy of Mulberry, looked as if they were dripping with hardened wax.
The clothes were fit more for the city streets than for dank caves. Tracksuit shorts and bottoms — a Cottweiler signature — were covered in marbled or crystalline prints based on the photos the duo took during their trip to the caves, while distressed rose-colored knits and matching beanies looked as light and fluffy looking as clouds.
Silhouettes were neat and slim, while puffers were rounded and sculpted, ensuring those hardy Cottweiler boys remain on-trend above and below ground.