Menswear is so often about formality, there's rarely much room for vulnerability. Duckie Brown's S/S 13 collection showed a series of oversized denim and mixed plaid rude boy pieces, and even when taking creative license to augment the silhouette or cut out the back of a shirt it's hard to take the tough out. The standout piece from designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver though was a black rose jacket that unfurled from its center; like a youth whose ennui and romantic abandon is so earnest it blooms around him like a shield. This is the dark horse to traditional menswear, a moment of unabashed beauty and sensitivity.
Dazed Digital: Where did that rose jacket piece come from?
Stephen Cox: I've done Duckie Brown for 11 years and every drawing I've ever done has been something where I've known what I'm going to do. I think because we did Perry Ellis this season I kind of got my wearable conservativeness out in that collection, and when I started drawing Perry Ellis I knew exactly what everything looked like. This was a trench coat, this was a pea coat, this was a bomber jacket, it was everything that menswear is. Then, when I started doing Duckie Brown I was doing all these random drawings that didn't really make sense, I didn't know what they were. A friend of mine gave me this beautiful image of a boy that was holding a coat, he was in a club, this beautiful young club kid guy, and his coat was formed in such a way that it looked like a flower, and I traced over the image of that. There was this drawing that was a little head and a flower and I thought 'how am I going to do that?' I then worked with my pattern maker and we made this flower. That, for me, is the most beautiful piece we've ever done. It wasn't like a flower that was just stuck on the outside, it's coming from inside the jacket. It was beautiful and that's why I do this, for all the beautiful pieces, for the backs on the last ones and the ruffles. I don't know, it's like coming from England and going to college there we're taught to do something that is interesting and thought provoking. I don't want to show a white shirt and a pair of khakis, I can show that at Perry Ellis and that's good and we've tried to shake that up as well. At Duckie Brown it's just beautiful things .
DD: You talk about club kids, is that a big influence?
Stephen Cox: No, it's not a big influence but I'm always interested in youth; it's fashion, it's young, I have to have young people around me. I'm older now, I was a club kid at one point but I'm 45, I'm not a club kid anymore. When I was like 18 or 16 in London I was going out every night with Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark, I was in that whole thing. To keep young people around me, it's important in fashion, you have to have that. There's a club, on a Tuesday night in New York called Westgay that's in a strip club on Houston Street and the Westside Highway, and it's like an interesting night. I would have not known anything about that unless I had interns and young assistants that are helping me. Guess where our afterparty is for Perry Ellis next week on Tuesday?