The designers of Sass & Bide, Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, titled their collection Wintergate this season, and said the offering was "born from a curiosity about man-made objects. We wanted to study the internal mechanics of them."
If that sounds a little clinical and sterile, the aim was to cut through that with the contrasts of "beauty and femininity," and there is always a nod to the natural world with the pair. In many ways the collection was a continuation of the stripped-back, stark spirit they began exploring last season. And this element of gridlike control is something that suits their collections well; it has elevated their offerings away from craftwork more toward Kraftwerk.
The standout pieces were at either end of the spectrum: sunny, shiny yellow vinyl garments—infinitely man-made-looking and wiped clean—and the floor-length, knitted maxi dresses that had a kind of "future craft" approach. These were also accompanied by a contemporary take on what might be described as a Masai necklace. The collection needed more of those clean, strident statements, although this season did appear less fussy and more together than before.
Embellishment was once again used with precision and control, such as to enhance the structure of dresses. What was different this season was that structure itself was transformed into embellishment, particularly in the utilization of caged bodices and armadillo layers. Although it never quite went the whole Richard Rogers with internal pipes on the outside—rather, there was some squiggly piping—this did point the way to how the antipodean duo's clothing could develop in future.
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