Classy, cool, crisp – all words that spring to mind when looking at Daks Spring/Summer 2013. Sheila McKain-Ward lets us into the Daks world with a peek at her moodboard for the collection.
Fabric swatches, original Daks sketches and treasured postcards of 1950s sirens, fixed together by coloured drawing pins -the Daks S/S 13 moodboard could be the scrapbook of a fashion student obsessed with heritage glamour. But while the moodboard might be a romantic tribute to Daks’ past, the collection was all about propelling the brand into the present.
The women in the snapshots are an advertisement for British summertime, wearing clothes designed for sipping lemonade at the country club. So no surprise that Sheila McKain-Ward’s modern Daks woman is just as refined, wearing butter cream and chalky white in weightless fabrics like chiffon, silk and nylon. Witness the first look: a simple white dress and buttermilk single-breasted coat with sloping shoulders, clearly inspired by the images of women in white leaning on tennis rackets.
And inned to the middle of the moodboard? The Daks house check, given a modern twist with a diamond pattern. McKain-Ward was inspired by the abstract expressionist movement – in particular, a Jasper Johns painting of white paint on top of a raw canvas. In her cool, crisp collection, that translated to layered textures and brushstroke prints.
Split in two halves, the show opened with transparent neutrals and closed with black leather – with the Daks signature check featured in the middle of the show, transitioning between the two palettes. The order perhaps signaled that McKain-Ward will continue to push the brand in new directions, but will stay loyal to the traditions that lie at the heart of the iconic brand.
Clever, simple, fluid and effortless – McKain-Ward mastered craftsmanship when working at Halston, Donna Karen and Oscar de la Renta. No wonder she produced a collection that recognised the house’s heritage – but one that lifted it to luxury status and beyond.
Words: Emma Spedding