Clements Ribeiro's hand-crafty, sweetly eccentric collections have been one
of the highlights of the London shows since the mid-90's. But the stakes have
now been raised for the young duo, who are showing their own collection in
Paris, as well as having taken the creative reins at Cacharel. Like all
independent designers they face, not just the pressure to stun people with
their originality, but the toughest financial climate in years to boot.
It was a shame, then, to see this show fall several notches short of the creativity benchmark set by Paris thus far. Clements Ribeiro said they'd been inspired by Lord of the Rings, which meant they'd followed the folkloric path already trodden by hordes of designers this season. They did picture-book flower appliqués sewn on to sweats, track tops, coats and skirts with blanket stitching. They got into pleating in a big way, in print skirts and plisse tops, and worked a new form of appliqué by cutting out raw-edged satin flowers and hand-sewing them to georgette. A small flash of their pioneering talent showed itself in cashmere knits with a version of their signature stripes done in bands of folky pattern. Shoes and boots featuring cut-out leaves of metallic leather were eyecatchingly sexy. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to suppress the feeling that Paris expects more of them than this.