What is Twenty8Twelve? That was the question raised by the departure, earlier this year, of founding Twenty8Twelve creative directors Sienna and Savannah Miller. Frankly, the brand identity of Twenty8Twelve was always a little mushy, aside from what it shared with the Miller sisters' own girly, ambiently boho esprit. So the challenge facing new creative director Elsa Elphick this season was twofold: One, she had to figure out how to move Twenty8Tweve into the future, and two, she had to sort out what it was in the first place.
Elphick, a member of the original Twenty8Twelve design team, kept the brand's essential eclectic cutesiness intact. But she came at it from a new, conceptual perspective, riffing on the work of German surrealist Hans Bellmer and his disfigured dolls. Pieces that referenced Bellmer directly didn't quite work—to wit, a fitted pale blue shirtdress was a bit too frothy a look to incorporate a Bellmer-inspired articulated bosom. But other surrealist tricks were more convincing, such as the twisted, asymmetric blazer.
But the real answer to the question "What is Twenty8Twelve?" may be: a denim brand. This summer, the owners of Twenty8Twelve made a sizable investment in its denim, and the results are starting to show. The new denim included several pairs printed in super-fine, laser-etched patterns; the subtlety of the technique was demonstrated by denim that had been ever so tenderly mottled.
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