In general, ease is not a word one throws around when describing Sass & Bide, a brand for which hyper-structured tailoring, sweeping panels, and dense, Deco-tribal beading are its bread and butter. But Pre-Fall found Sass (minus its founding designers, Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke, out this past July) in a relatively staid mood—nearly monochromatic, featuring several yards less of flou. Maybe the label’s New York outpost has been rubbing off on it? There was certainly a lot of black here, and a welcome new coziness: boxy, brushed houndstooth tops; coated sweats; and long, full leather skirts. But it wasn’t all burn-out knits and shearling bikers: The familiar Sass & Bide glitz made cameos, too, as Middleton continued to guide the studio team for this outing. Against a backdrop of the wearable and relatively quotidian, a few dresses verged on ostentatiousness. Unfussy moves like teaming a metallic jacquard blazer with a tee and jeans—not to mention casting cool girl Langley Fox for the lookbook—were savvier. While the official debut of new creative director Anthony Cuthbertson (a vet of more minimalist houses Max Mara and Joseph) doesn’t come until Fall ’15, it felt as if he might already have proved a good influence.

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