Well, our grandparents’ postcards from summer holidays long gone continue to flow in, securing a place in our personal style files for the next fashion season, that much is clear the moment you step into the show space. The pre-show film, ready to take you from Brighton to Monte Carlo in an instant, is all vintage beach sports and fashion fun, buzzing with the sound of retro music, and anticipation.
I can’t quite decide whether I’ve been transported back to these olden golden days, and am about to witness the premiere of Bardot’s latest movie, or I have stumbled upon my imaginary grandfather’s film reels in the attic, and got totally absorbed in one of his own holiday tapes about the dolce vita and the time he had a brief brush, as I'm told, with high society.
Once the mood is set, Sheila McKain-Waid sends a selection of chic cuts from a variety of eras, most notably, the 1940s, 1950s and the 1970s down the catwalk, infused with modernism and minimalism. First, vintage and retro water sports and beachwear with an art deco feel rule the scene, gradually giving way to crisp ladylike outfits, ranging from old Hollywood glamour to a more paired-back post-war aesthetics. Finally, summer nights demand their share as the spectacle blends seamlessly into the signature diagonal stripes and tiered dresses of the late 1970s. My favourites at DAKS have always been the modern pieces made in the house’s heritage check, with the short jumpsuit as a perfect example. While the statement dresses are reserved almost exclusively for the tallest and slimmest, the wrap shirts, the best shade of navy, the simplicity and the easy elegance continue to be an inspiration for fans of all shapes and sizes. Bring on that dolce vita – all I need now is to find imaginary grandma’s real jewel chest.