Sir Ian McKellen made a breathtaking entrance at the S.S.Daley show in Soho, where he stepped out of the shadows dressed in a silk sailor’s cap and a navy peacoat featuring a naked male figure. He recited one of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Arthurian poems, his powerful Shakespearean voice conveying the strength of the waves and thundering voices, highlighting the charisma he’s acquired from a lifetime in the limelight.
Stokey-Daley, the designer behind the brand, is renowned for infusing the energy of live performance into his runway events, frequently collaborating with the National Youth Theatre to create theatrical productions that blur the boundaries between fashion and drama.
However, this season was going to be different, as Stokey-Daley intended to do away with the theatrics until Sir Ian McKellen approached him, resulting in the actor opening the show.
Stokey-Daley’s meteoric rise to fame started in 2020 when he sent his portfolio to stylist Harry Lambert, who dressed Harry Styles in an entire look for his “Golden” music video. This led to an explosion of attention, culminating in S.S.Daley winning both the LVMH Prize and the Emerging Designer award at the British Fashion Awards. Despite this success, Stokey-Daley felt a sense of disappointment after last September’s show, feeling like he had something to prove after winning the LVMH Prize.
Stokey-Daley channeled his emotions into his latest collection, inspired by Kate Bush’s music and her epic song cycle “The Ninth Wave” from her groundbreaking 1985 album ‘’Hounds of Love’’. The Fall/Winter 2023 collection was a queer maritime fantasy, incorporating raw sexuality and homoeroticism into its design. The women’s wear was also more sensual, featuring bias-cut silk gowns and unbuttoned shirt dresses. With a large celebrity following, it won’t be long before these pieces hit the red carpet.
The designer has moved past the preppy charm of his previous collections and added a touch of daring to his designs, giving the clothes a needed edge. After feeling lost for a moment, Stokey-Daley is now steering his ship confidently.