There’s always been a gently celebratory feel to Nicholas Daley’s work—not least at one of his typically boisterous runway shows, where musicians are likely to be walking down the runway while playing their instruments—but this season, he had particular reason to feel festive. Last month, Daley married his long-term partner, the musician and DJ Nabihah Iqbal, in a ceremony that paid tribute to their own respective cultural backgrounds, and those of their guests. (Theming the event as “going back to your roots,” guests showed up in the traditional dress of their cultural background, everything from Sierra Leonean kpokpo cloth to Japanese kimonos and Swedish reindeer-leather trousers.)
The harmonious coming together of cultures has been a guiding principle of Daley’s brand from the very beginning—in part thanks to his own Scottish-Jamaican background—but it felt especially potent in his latest collection, which was produced while Daley was knee-deep in wedding prep and was photographed in the immediate aftermath of the big day. “Everyone who was there at the wedding, the community of people I’ve worked with in the past, they were all reappearing in the collection, so it feels all-encompassing,” he said of the lookbook. “I try and keep humble about what I’ve been building and creating, but I definitely feel like this season is an accumulation of everything that I’ve been doing over the past few years—and all the incredible people I’ve met along the way.”
Titled “Calypso,” the collection is an ode to the historic Trinidadian musical tradition as well as Daley’s sprawling community of London creatives. Not coincidentally, the shoot also took place just after Notting Hill Carnival, London’s annual celebration of British Caribbean culture, where the steel drums of calypso serve as a reliable soundtrack to the various street parades. The generation-spanning lineup of eclectic talents in the lookbook range from yogis to poets to filmmakers to musicians; loosely inspired by Irving Penn’s “Small Trades” series, each subject is accompanied by props that nod to their livelihood. (Daley even managed to include the legendary Trinidadian steel pan player Fimber Bravo, who happened to be in town for Carnival.)
A handful of the lookbook’s stars also collaborated directly with Daley on accessories. Harris Elliott of Le Tings created an ingenious set of oversized totes upcycled from Ghanaian rice bags. British-Jamaican hatter Uptown Yardie crafted a series of high-domed, hand-painted hats. Colorful sunglasses were made with DJ and record label owner Bradley Zero. The graphics on T-shirts and jerseys, meanwhile, came courtesy of the artists Olana Janfa and Kione Grandison.