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Casely-Hayford A/W'11

Dazed Digital gets an exclusive first look at Casely-Hayford's A Darker Shade of Black A/W'11 collection

For its fourth collection Casely-Hayford explore the boundaries of black. Having forged a strong house signature that sees the design deo combine fine tailoring with elements of sportswear and the spirit of London’s youth culture, the Casely-Hayford vision is translated into a new statement for Autumn/Winter 2010. For this season, they reassess ideas of masculinity, drawing influence from military uniforms and revisiting the darkened sensibility of their AFRO PUNK. The collection focuses on layering and ornamentation, exploring notions of the trans-cultural nomad; a constant traveller whose identity is shaped by the multitude of cultures which surround him. To celebrate our exclusive first look at the collection we sit down with Charlie Casely-Hayford to learn more about A Darker Shade of Black...

Dazed Digital: When I bumped into you a few months ago you mentioned that this is the collection you have wanted to make since launching the label. Was the desire to capture the duality of English Sartorialism and British Anarchy still the driving force behind the AW10 collection?
Charlie Casely-Hayford: Very much so. We start from the standpoint of these two extremes every season. In creating a new collection our driving force is to capture the feelings of an ever-changing environment and communicate society's natural inclination to move forward. There is always a narrative at the core of what we do, connecting each collection to the last and making foundations for the next.

DD: How did the collection evolve?
Charlie Casely-Hayford: AW10 started out as a discussion between the two of us about the recession and how people subconsciously react to it on an aesthetic level. The importance of body armour as a form of protection stimulated ideas about re-interpreting outerwear. Black felt like a natural principle colour to express what we wanted to communicate, and this was how we came to combine military clothing with evening wear as one of our lead looks.
DD: Your clothes reflect the spirit of the 21st century gentleman, a character conscious of many reference points yet someone who chooses to distill his style into a concise statement.  What were the main reference points thrown in to the sartorial mix for AW10?
Charlie Casely-Hayford: Our main reference points were cultural signifiers that captured strong ideas of masculinity. It was about reasserting a physical representation of strength and gravitas during bleak times. We turned to military paratroopers, boxers, bikers, traditional English Labourers and added formal evening wear into the mix and then began to dissect and rebuild their parameters. All our influences reflect men with a strong sense of self and pride.
DD: How has the design relationship with your father developed in recent seasons?
Charlie Casely-Hayford: Our different perceptions of the same subject have always created a dichotomy within the brand's DNA. We have always kind of seen our role together as conduit rather than author - making new clothes to reflect a new society. Our vision is very much shaped by our mutual interest in anthropology, striving to reflect our surroundings by using the collection as a form of cultural documentation. We focus quite heavily on a strong discordant synergy as a means of communication. It is something that has always intrigued both of us and enables us to use a new dialogue that interrogates culture.
DD: Talk us through the influences of the look book itself...
Charlie Casely-Hayford: We had just returned from a business trip to Tokyo before we began styling the look book, and I had just had my first kimono fitting. It had some influence on the loose feel and the way we chose to layer the collection, placing emphasis on bringing the silhouette in at the true waist through different forms of belting, in a similar vein to the obi belt used in Japanese culture for the Kimono. One of our favourite pieces is the archive Joe Casely-Hayford coat. We raised the back belt to a new point not often seen in menswear. My father was really interested in the fluidity of the drawstring blazer. Throughout the look book are varying references to the way we addressed the waist as a point of tension and restraint against a voluminous silhouette.
DD: What are your favourite pieces of the collection?
Charlie Casely-Hayford: My favourite piece is probably the 'Storm Trooper' jacket - a take on the traditional Donkey jacket. It fuses elements from two extremes of British society within one garment. The outer shell is a donkey jacket formally worn by English labourers and later adopted by skinheads and punks as a symbol of British working class pride. The leather shoulder panels were often used as protection against wear from carrying a shovel or hod on one's shoulder. The inner garment is a classic English Huskey style waistcoast worn most commonly by English aristocracy on country shoots. Together in one garment English Sartorialism and British Anarchy stand true.

UK stockists for Casely-Hayford: Hostem and Dover Street Market

Photography: Katinka Herbert
Photographic Assistant: Christopher Kennedy
Art Direction: Casely-Hayford & Son
Stylish Assistant: Christopher Amfo-Okampah
Grooming: Oliver de Almeida Waqued
Models: Stefano and Andy
Jewellery: Tessa Edwards