Casely-Hayford Fall/Winter 2016 London

What is today reserved for ceremonial duty in the canon of military uniform—bold color, intricate frogging, and perhaps a dashing scarlet flash down each leg—was once standard attire on the battlefield too. The turn-of-the-20th-century realization that blending in to the background rather than standing out from it was a better to way to evade bullets heralded the muted modern era of khaki and olive.

Despite the astonishing breadth of 21st-century consumer choice, drab uniformity of one sort or another is the go-to for most civilian males. So props to Charlie and Joe Casely-Hayford for reminding their audience of the fabulousness of officers past—with a heavy nod to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—as they presented some electric variations on contemporary uniform. The psychedelic splash jackets, pants, and black paneled overcoat were eye-watering but unignorable. More circumspect was the magenta print on evening jackets and pants, and patched onto other garments including an incongruous check henley teamed with lovingly washed jeans. This collection’s most impressive maneuver was its variations of modern military staples, zhuzhed up to Romanov levels of ostentation. Fishtail parkas were elongated until those fins dragged behind their wearer like the train of a wedding dress. Mosaics of patched denim—the street’s equivalent of olive drab—were transplanted onto the body of MA1s. The closing look of premodern military yoke and collar strafed with golden frogging over a sweatshirt in muted camouflage pitted the dowdier now against the old kapow. Have fun, this collection urged: Be bolder.

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