LFW: SIBLING F/W 2016

Sibling F/W 2016
Sibling F/W 2016

So, that was awkward. Across fashion, there is a strong movement to connect more directly with the customer. To that end, Sibling decided that it would not require an invitation or ticket to get into its runway presentation. Sure enough, customers and fans of the brand flocked to the show space at British Fashion Council headquarters. All seats were taken and the venue was full well before start time. The problem? Major editors and some extremely upset buyers were not able to get in to see the show.

Can we say, “Oops?”

And this was, as always, an interesting show. The Sibling duo of Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan ramped up their knitwear collection with bright purples and yellows and more large fringe than anyone knew was possible. Sure, there were a couple of pieces that one might  wear out during the day, and some of those huge fringe numbers are separate pieces so the dresses under them can be worn like normal clothes. But this isn’t a normal label and they don’t try for a mainstream audience. This is what one wears to a Miley Cyrus concert or an underground rave.

The collection began tame enough, with a red and blue knit dress under an oversized gray, masculine tailored sport coat. Sure, we noticed the cute red and blue tassels on the shoes, but we didn’t think too much of it. We weren’t taken back any, either, when a couple of looks later the dress had disappeared and under the coat the model wore yellow and black star-shaped pasties and blue pants. We see ensembles like this on a fairly regular basis.

But then, we started seeing the pasties on almost every look. Necklines plunged both deep and broad, making nipple slips inevitable.  Then, the knits became looser and the crochet opened up making the pieces less opaque. The pasties quickly became a necessity.

As we went further into the collection, the tassels began to grow. First, they were on an earring, but models only wore one on the right ear. A very different curly-cue earring was in the left ear. Then, the fringe took over cowl necks and hoods. We’re not talking small fringe, either; this black fringe was so large that it had the visual effect of consuming the model’s face. Before long, the knits were quite transparent and the fringe only grew more interesting with each new look. Good thing everyone had those star pasties and tan-colored briefs. For a fall/winter collection, these knits are a bit drafty.

Accessories are interesting as well. The knit handbags models carried were nothing short of huge. Styrofoam headpieces shaped like headphones with random wires protruding from them were colorful distractions. Fringe on the back of heels, worn with sparkly socks, became the standard.

Oh, and body suits. There were plenty of body suits.

Get past the spectacle and this is, once again, a very creative and very strong Sibling collection. The prints are fun, the silhouettes are wearable and attractive, and the styling is adventurous. Whether or not the star pasties come with the clothes, I don’t know. I certainly hope so; those pasties alone justify a purchase.

So some buyers and editors didn’t get to see the show. There is little question the brand just connected with their fans in a very strong way. Perhaps buyers and editors should get accustomed to arriving a little early if they want a seat. As the fashion system skews toward a more customer-centric experience the power shifts to the end clients and buyers become less important. Is that really such a bad thing?

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