"We want to challenge ideas of masculinity and explore the secret codes of British subcultural dress, the hidden identities that you learn and familiarize yourself with," Cottweiler co-founder Matthew Dainty tells Highsnobiety after his latest collection has walked the London runway.
Dainty and fellow London-based designer Ben Cottrell named Cottweiler's FW19 collection "The Lost Art of Cruising" — that is, the pursuit of a sexual partner, usually in a public space. The collection comprises trademark thermoregulated soft shell tracksuits, libidinous style details (exposed nipples, diagonal flies on the pants), and two new collaborations: one outerwear, one footwear.
The show's setting, a subterranean London parking lot with forest green backdrops and metallic urinals, set the tone for the athletic yet fetishistic looks in a palette of moss, white, olive, and navy. The show notes indicated that the collection was a rebuttal of app-driven hookup culture, signalling a nostalgia for face-to-face encounters in the dark corners of the public sphere. The overall effect on display was very "tennis at 10, rave at 11," with some midnight cruising planned afterward.
The collection has a much wider product offering than prior seasons, with Dainty telling Highsnobiety, "We wanted to move away from the sportswear/tracksuit idea of the brand, with more tailoring, denim, and sheepskins." These new additions to the Cottweiler look added a more formal touch, with hand-dyed merino shearling, mohair appliqué, and semi-transparent sheer fabrics for the shirting.
The first of the two new collaborations was with Italian outerwear specialist Allegri, a series of elegant raincoats to counter the more casual style of the track pants and cropped tees.
For the second, Cottweiler once again tapped sportswear brand Reebok, giving us a new take on formal/informal hybrids: the "sneafer." The shoe, a green and black sneaker-loafer hybrid, is a comfortable and athletic-looking slip-on that symbolizes how the brand can play with the tension between sportswear, hashtag menswear, and underground subcultures.
Check out the looks in the gallery above and drop us a comment with your thoughts below.