February 16, 2013
Suzanne Clements, one of London fashion's great contrarians, lolled backstage today in a Rolling Stones sweatshirt. "I'm in a sweatpants mood," she drawled dismissively, after a show that was as un-sweatpants-y as you could imagine. But her outfit sort of fit anyway, because she loves the Stones, and she and husband Inacio Ribeiro built their new collection around things they love. One such is the notion of the "working holiday," where they'll disguise one of their frequent getaways as a quest for inspiration. A new print was based on log cabin quilting as practiced by the women of Gees Bend, Alabama, whom Clements and Ribeiro came across on a recent road trip. Another print was the chita, a floral found on a similar excursion through the heartland of Ribeiro's native Brazil. The designers combined the two visuals for a striking culture clash. Then they layered on red lace, tartan, gilded animal print, and gold brocade poppies. A black kilt-buckled coat was textured with tone-on-tone embroidery; collars and half-belts were jeweled.
But even though the level of decoration was intense, the clothes themselves were sweater-and-skirt sporty. The duo's signature cashmere sweaters were slightly elongated, and so were the skirts, which loaned a newly languid proportion. The effect was like an eccentrically dressy, slightly decadent country-house party, the Mitford girls gone a little punk, an impression that was compounded by the uniformly flat footwear, which included pointy buckled booties and golden pixie shoes, even with a sparkling, sheer evening dress. It pays to remember that London's current fashion boom is firmly founded on such idiosyncrasies from the likes of Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro.