Cottweiler, spring 2018 – text by Silvia Bombardini

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Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,


A water tank to hand, a gem-set choker around the neck – the contrast should be jarring, but is it? There’s such a thing as a luxury of practicalities, when needs are not simply met but anticipated. Informed by the escapism of motorhomes found in off-grid desert communities, mixed with their signature tech fluency, Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty’s spring collection calls to mind the recent news of Silicon Valley’s best and brightest getting ready for doomsday by heading south, equipped with stockpiles of canned foods. It features the sculpted bare midriffs of contemporary fashion and sport, tempered by the yet again not-quite-so-clashing retrograde pull of heritage textiles – a sandy Baja woven fashioned as a djellaba-sweater, for example, fastened with a golden gecko brooch pebbled with emeralds. The geckos are applied as shiny temporary tattoos too, and yet functionality manages to retain a leading role. Convertible and packable fits suit the nomadic lifestyle we may have to get accustomed to in a possible future – possibly just in a season of two. But this doesn’t have to be a last resort: as Cottweiler prove, it could just become the preferable option. The collection paints a picture of serene self-reliance, where sage and tomato hues join aluminium fibres and UV protective layers realised as part of the brand’s ongoing collaboration with Reebok. As the earth warms up and catastrophes of all kinds loom upon us, the design duo look at the extreme challenges of ‘Marathon de Sable’, a desert marathon known as the toughest foot race on Earth, for inspiration and reassurance of the incredible resourcefulness of humans.


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