'Rich Hippy'. The phrase alone makes you inwardly groan - floaty, chiffon layers of frills, straight-from-the-silk-road faux-ethnic prints and that boho-hobo thing that suddenly seems terribly last decade. That throws up a conundrum as to how to class what Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro offered for Autumn/Winter 2012. It was certainly rich, with brocades, cashmere knits, embroidery and jewel-shades of amethyst, peridot green and citrine; and there was more than a touch of the hippy to kashmir-whirled, bishop-sleeved silk dresses and billowing cossack blouses.
That bohemian deluxe has been much-loved territory for couture's hautest of clientele ever since Yves Saint Laurent's Russian collection back in the seventies: teamed with fluoro court-shoes, chi-chi leather gloves and tight turbans, it was easy to imagine the legendary likes of helena Rubinstein, Brooke Astor or living legend Iris Apfel pitching up in multi-patterned Ribeiro garb (seven-figure jewellery sold separately). Perhaps the key is that rather than trying to make hippy seem rich, Clements Ribeiro were stabbing at getting 'Rich Hippy' looking cool again. Cool for them means throwing everything a little off-kilter - the faux-leather dirndl that bottomed the opening look is a perfect example, quickly trounced by wide pleather slacks, belted jacket and a neat leatherette t-shirt.
In layman's (read: non-storied socialite) terms, this collection boiled down to a simple but chic mix of tartans, paisleys, brocades and zingy blocks of hot colour, cut in simple below-the-knee skirts, body-skimming sixties-style duster-coats and the odd mid-calf dress belted with a wide waistcincher. It was unchallenging, unpretentious and unashamedly appealing.