SIBLING AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR LONDON FASHION WEEK
The working title for Sibling’s latest collection was simply Woman—a sexy, shapely, all-grown-up version of the screwball they’ve been courting for seasons. But nothing could ever be as straightforward as that for Joe Bates, Sid Bryan, and Cozette McCreery. If they credited Debbie Harry as an inspiration, it was the Blondie goddess filtered through the eyes of fans as ardent as they are. Not quite the real thing, but a loving, enthusiastic appropriation, like something a fan would create as an homage to their idol. A cartoon of a masterpiece, maybe. If the cartoon sometimes got a little too much—like the pink latex sheath, with its creeping infestation of knit and foxy fuzz—it was impossible not to smile at it. That uplift has always been Sibling’s ace in the hole. And Bates, in particular, has always been inclined to such fandom, particularly about New York in its sparky New Wave moment, embodied here not just by Harry (the lyrics of “Sunday Girl” were reproduced in a graffiti print that echoed the work of her favorite designer, Stephen Sprouse) but by disco icon Princess Gloria TNT’s caliente take on ladylike classics, and a hearty appetite for hot pink and orange.
That approach yielded some of the most sophisticated, even commercial, looks the Siblings have yet shown, like the glittery Lurex tweed suit, the sparkly twinset-and-skating-skirt ensemble, and the Fair Isle sheath coated in sequins. Still, as Bates pointed out, “Our starting point is always technique,” and a Sibling collection truly comes to life when ingenuity takes hold. Knit-meister Bryan fell under the spell of latex, punching holes in it, Swiss-darning it with merino, trimming it in fox that had been stripped and knit into a cloud of fur. The embroidery was so extravagant, it created porcupines of bugle beads. And that was aside from the usual spiderweb, crochet, and dégradé effects that turn a Sibling silhouette into the stuff of fairy tales. Naturally, there’s a princess and a witch. Finding a balance is the Sibling challenge.