Leonardo Da Vinci said back then that “water was the driving force of all nature”, and we couldn’t agree more. Steven Stokey Daley, founder of the S.S.Daley brand and winner of the LVMH PRIZE 2022, is surely on our team and thinks the same as the creator of the Monna Lisa because this molecule also known as H2O and its enveloping and expansive world played a special role in his latest collection presented during London Fashion Week.

It all began with Kate Bush’s The Ninth Wave, a song cycle inspired in part by Alfred Tennyson. For Steven, these songs came together with newly discovered family stories about his great-grandfather’s life at sea, as well as queer narratives and a yearning to chart the brand into new territory. Listening to one of them, the designer discovered a whole universe in which he saw clothes as music. This feeling had to be captured and so he did, he filled his offer with a stimulus of sound and water, which together transported us to a new and fresh world, about the confidence of being who I want to be.

Sailor through time, dressed in a rounded jacket (which draws attention to a drawing made by his lover), a pleated shirt, a sequined rugby, and a sequined cap on his head, became the emblem of the show. Continuing with this figure and drawing inspiration from it, he followed it with three shredded and then untucked shirts, a hand-knitted balaclava, and a T-shirt with Daley’s signature knotted keyhole detailing.

And attention and drum roll, because for the first time, Stokey introduces technical clothing, which he has been interested in since university. Well done Steven! Few designers usually nail it as well as S.S. did, and if not look at the hooded cagoule with an asymmetrical zip and double-layered raglan sleeves, with custom-made silk jacquard on top and dry cotton beneath, combined with brown cotton cargo pants with lieutenant pockets on the sides, finished with hand-overlock stitching.

From technical garments, we move to knitwear that extends, such as a floor-length jumper, decorated with a patterned life print and worn over a multi-striped shirred godet skirt. And yes, before you say anything, maybe in ancient times sailors didn’t wear skirts and dresses, but the ones Daley proposes for 2023 do. Fashion moves on ladies and gentlemen, and fortunately, so do minds. For the less daring, there are also knitted garments such as the jersey knitted with dried flowers, or hand-knitted cardigans.

Tailoring was another highlight of the collection, of course. If you don’t do tailoring these days, you’re out, and Daley has done it and done it well. An example of his mastery is the cropped jacket with a sailor collar, characterised by hand-stitched front seams and ceramic buttons, and worn with slim trousers.

If we had to pick our favourite piece from the line, we’d probably say the tailored jacket with a drawstring back, which opens up the front to proudly show off the jersey and boxer shorts worn underneath, or the cotton dress cut in a balloon shape before the gathered hem.

Check out the collection below: