Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
Heading down to the Earth’s Treasury gallery in London’s Natural History Museum, we were all squinting a bit yesterday evening. Shadows cling to the corners in museums at night just like you’d expect them to, and shiny precious pebbles in their glass-case beds were all alight with out-of-hours attention. Indeed, none of this was fortuitous – inspired by the subterranean lakes of the Krizna Jama cave network in Slovenia, Ben Cottrell and Matthew Dainty’s fall collection draws from the technical gear of miners and cavers, laced through with a lode of luxe. As the show begun, little flashlights worn as necklaces lit up with sulphurous highlights crisp textured tracksuits, pink marbled nylons and metals. Clusters of salt-encrusted carabiners dangled from harnesses secured tightly to the waist and tights: a distinctly sensual note which carried through, by way of printed silks and fluffed merino wools, soft ad tactile in the dim light. Cottweiler’s workwear is idle workwear – that is, fit for the urban landscape and the suburban club, until miners be persuaded to adopt it. Their models wore it with loafers and spray painted Mulberry bags, curls gelled to their nape as if they’d just emerged from a subterranean lake dip. The last one walked in carrying a luminous sizeable rock, bounty perhaps of a fortunate expedition, inside a display-case plexiglas backpack: for those with more gems than secrets.