eliot’s room

S.S.Daley tunes Pitti into E.M. Forster prose and Oxbridge dorms
By Barry Pierce | Fashion | 12 January 2024

There was a palpable sense of local pride as the spectators shuffled into Florence’s opulent Palazzo Vecchio (the city’s town hall) for S.S.Daley’s FW24 show. One of the most lauded British designers of the moment, Daley’s Pitti show marked the first time he has presented outside London. But would his designs translate to the often uber-masculine pageantry of Pitti Uomo?

It’s a thought that was clearly on Daley’s mind as the inspiration for his FW23 show was E.M. Forster’s 1911 A Story of a Panic, a story about a British man’s feelings of alienation whilst on a trip to Italy. Pillars of pillows dotted the runway, a reference to Oxbridge dorm rooms, intimate places where young men discover themselves. Oxford tails, floor-length rugby shirts and undone, after-class tailoring emphasised these moments. The familiar S.S.Daley icons were on display – flared trousers, cotton suits, and statement woollen jumpers with kitschy intarsia – but there was also a stark advancement to the brand with bags and shoes making their way down the runway.

Standout looks included huge woollen ponchos, maestro-style coats, a classic yellow rain jacket, a set of padded jackets and shorts, and an off-the-shoulder jumper with the words ‘Snug as a Bug’ emblazoned across the front. Many of the outfits found themselves in a sort of ‘morning after’ styling, formal shirts were worn without trousers, ties were removed and top buttons undone. There is little subtlety in imagining what happened in the dorm rooms the night before.

S.S.Daley has become known for his theatrical shows, often casting from the National Youth Theatre and having the likes of Ian McKellen walking for him. But his FW24 collection was as traditional a runway as he has ever done. It felt almost iconoclastic for Daley to ‘simply’ send his models down the runway, but given the hugeness of the space there was no need for theatrics, the room did all of that for him.

It truly felt like a landmark show for Daley – the collection showing advancement on every front. After the show, the news broke that Harry Styles is now a minority shareholder in S.S.Daley. Things are only going to get bigger. 

GALLERYCatwalk images from S.S.Daley MENS-FALL-WINTER-24