london fashion week: sass & bide
(images via style)
if the sass & bide s/s 2012 collection felt, in many ways, right on-trend with what other designers were feeling for the season in terms of colour and pattern, then it was also quite a bit softer than what we’ve come to expect from the duo, such as that which we saw last season, for their f/w 2011 range. that wasn’t a bad thing—in fact, there was something sleek and grown-up about it, which is rather impressive in the face of so many shows centering around the idea of going back to one’s schooldays—but a certain amount of the eclecticism was lost and a polish rang out instead in its place.
thus, as uk vogue wrote, “(d)ubbed Seekerstate, Heidi Middleton and Sarah Jane Clarke wanted the spring/summer 2012 collection to challenge our ideas with ‘aesthetic clashes and contradictions,’ as Middleton had told us before the show. ‘We’re inspired by the structure and high necklines of the Edwardian period but want to mix that with a clash, like an Eighties-style T-shirt’. Thus, cut-away black jersey dresses were accessorised by gold tribal-style necklaces and monochrome darts created hard, geometric designs with billowing draping, over-sized polka dots and changing lengths. As ever with the Sydney-based label, sequins were omnipresent but matte black shimmer was mixed with bold dazzling metallics. Bone-coloured beads sewn onto nude mesh combined beautifully with wheat-coloured, gold-threaded fabrics.”
wwd, meanwhile, chose some of the same adjectives to describe the range as i, commenting that for spring, the designers “revealed their sleeker side in this collection of techno-meets-bohemian looks. The Australian duo worked with sequins, neoprene and fluid silk to craft mini and maxidresses in a patchwork of patterns and colors. The clean lines of the garments heightened the modern feel. Standout looks included an intricately beaded tank top worn with a navy neoprene miniskirt, and a silver lame and chiffon maxiskirt paired with a tangerine tank.” and the uk’s my daily proclaimed that “This show was all about contrast, in every way, from the floaty floral prints to the multi-coloured beaded textures.”
"As the upbeat music pumped from the speakers; collage-like, panel dresses and separates filed out. Tribal influenced prints, sequins and metallics on sexy minis and dramatic maxi hems- all slashed to the thigh made the energy in the room shoot to the roof. Experimenting with scale and proportion, neon accents and mega jewellery complemented what Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton do best," sang a frothing grazia, while the not-so-impressed the fashion spot noted that “It was inspired by athletic cuts but executed in luxurious fabrications.” and vogue australia pointed out that “reference points vacillated wildly between the label’s signature artisanal aesthetic and body-conscious athleticism, with Aztec-style embellishment and neon-dipped primitive jewels sitting alongside scuba-like materials. The juxtaposition felt new, the pieces light and modern compared to the black taffeta and gold vinyl creations and sculptural mini dresses that emerged later in the show.”
finally, style said that “Clarke and Middleton’s love of marrying various elements together was still quite present, only less piled on. The seed of the collection was opposing forces, and in a single look you might find some amalgam of tiny burnished silver sequins, a navy and white batik polka dot, bright silk, a bit of neoprene or metallic leather, and a dash of tribal beading. It sounds like a lot—too much even—but the execution had an almost minimal precision. It seemed as if their magpie urban lass had taken to heart the old Coco Chanel chestnut about taking off one thing (or a few) before you leave the house, but in a macro way. Combing her hair into a sleek, middle-parted chignon didn’t hurt the elegance factor, either.”
the show’s models did indeed boast some of spring’s most intriguing hair (particularly when they turned around), and lead makeup artist terry barber for mac told fab sugar that he was inspired for the girls’ looks by the decadent, metallic and shimmery-faced linda evangelista and david bowie of the early nineties. “I was inspired by the fat, urban brow of this era. I use gels to fill in for a straighter shape without the razor-sharp edge. MAC Pro product Gold Metal X highlighter was used on the eyes and cheeks, I put a flesh colour balm on the lips, and applied no mascara to the eyes,” he explained. it has been interesting to see some of the british houses that specialize in colour and print—those things the upcoming spring so loves—like sass & bide (and vivienne westwood red label and basso & brooke) pulling back, but they’ve done it well, and made their shows that much more interesting, instead of less, that they can exercise a new kind of restraint.
(watch the collection video here)