For ‘The Abstract Truth’ Autumn/Winter 20 collection, Nicholas Daley digs deep into Afro-Futurism, psychedelic rock and experimental jazz, adding new layers of reference and exploring the boundaries of creativity.
Inspiration comes in the form of the 1970’s Black Abstraction art movement, specifically, celebrated Guyanese painter Frank Bowling. The artist’s iconic ‘poured paintings’ play a pivotal role in Nicholas’ latest work; their riotous colour blends, experimental textures and spontaneous forms set the tone for this multi-layered collection.
As always, music sits at the core of Nicholas’ work and this season, Jimi Hendrix and Art Ensemble of Chicago represent key influences. Highly experimental in both their respective soundscapes and stage attire, these pioneers mastered their craft in order to turn it on its head. The collection itself pays homage to one of Nicholas’ favourite albums, The Blues and the Abstract Truth released by American jazz legend, Oliver Nelson. For this season’s live performance, Nicholas collaborates with Rago Foot alongside South London duo Kwake Bass and Wu-Lu, who have created a specific live score reflecting the ideas and experimental nature of this latest offering.
Translating this season’s psychedelic influences to clothing, AW20 begins an exploration into Japanese textiles. Extending his long-held appreciation of craft to new regions, Nicholas has worked with a team of Japanese specialists to create bespoke fabrics, transforming them into a concise capsule. Here, a Japanese marbling technique known as ‘Suminagashi,’ or ‘floating ink,’ has been employed. For Daley, his age-old practice perfectly encapsulates the meeting of craftsmanship and controlled chaos. Echoing this sentiment, the designer once again calls on visual artist Tilly Mint, whose ethereal reactive dye paintings are incorporated throughout both textiles and visuals.
To cement this ongoing commitment to craft, Daley rekindles a series of UK partnerships. Sudbury-based silk weaving mill Vanners develop an exclusive silk/wool jacquard for the season, while renowned Scottish tartan maker Loch Carron dig deep into the archives, uncovering two subtle checks in tactile mohair. In addition, Nicholas continues his relationship with Northampton Shoemaker Tricker’s, returning with a reworked Derby shoe presented in high-shine leather with an almost iridescent finish. The iconic oversized Baker Boy also returns in new form, this collaboration with British hat maker Christys’ presented in signature textiles for AW20.
Brand collaborations come courtesy of two British menswear stalwarts. Firstly, a sophomore collection with Fred Perry focuses on punk’s cross-pollination with the reggae scene of the late 70’s and features a classic grain leather Monkey Boot from shoemaker George Cox. Lastly, Nicholas goes behind the scenes with British sound system culture, imagining a practical uniform for his first release with traditional
quilted outerwear specialists, Lavenham. As always, Nicholas’ visual language plays strongly across all collaborations, weaving in his own personal narrative alongside that of his creative partners.
“Experimentation and craftsmanship have been two key elements I’ve focused on for this season’s collection. Whether it’s through textiles created with dye specialists in Japan, inspiration via the poured paintings of Frank Bowling or collaborating with musicians Rago Foot, Kwake Bass and Wu-Lu on an original score for the show – everything has been interconnected and continues my
own creative journey connecting fashion, music and culture.” –Nicholas Daley