Pull up to my bumper, baby, in your long lilac cardigan with hand sewn sequin trim. Perhaps that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as the original line, but, lyrical tweaks aside, on the runway Sibling’s twisted take on Grace Jones dressing was fantastic. Back at LC:M, Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan’s A/W 16 menswear collection was one of their strongest yet. Their achilles heel has always been getting the balance right between playful energy and product focus, and, at that show, they struck gold, seducing us while also selling to us. Today’s womenswear show built on that success and followed similar formulas. Retro icon as inspiration? Check. Pragmatic hues to break up the otherwise bold colour palette? Check. (While pictures may suggest this was a festival of purple, there were a number of commercially appealing plain black pieces on show, including sheer tops - all hand-knitted of course - that will fly off the shelves.)
This was a boisterous, confident show - how could it not have been with Jones as the starting point? It’s easy just to focus on Sibling’s catwalk theatrics - the bare breasts with Instagram friendly star-shaped nipple covers, the sexy retro body suits, the knit raffia-snoods, the plethora of lurex, the signature leopard print. But if you look beyond the obvious, they’re pushing a more complex form of dressing that extends far beyond show pieces and statement knits. It’s a new kind of power dressing, one that rejects the notion that one has to look ‘serious’ to be smart. When I interviewed the late Joe Bates, one of Sibling’s founding trio, in 2014 for SHOWstudio’s rolling In Fashion series, he quipped, with his signature wit and intelligence, ‘it doesn’t have to be bleak to be deep.’ It was that ethos that shone for A/W 16. This was cheerful and jubilant, full of fresh bold emblems like urgent brush strokes alongside Bryan’s signature mind-blowing craftsmanship and innovation - how he makes those yarns hang the way they do is beyond me - but it was also smart, urgent, relevant and, to an extent, political. It presented a woman who’s right for now. She’s not infantile or objectified, but she’s still sexy. She’s not stuffy or severe, but she’s clever and self-aware. The Sibling woman has always been a force to be reckoned with, but she had a new authority for A/W 16. Aptly, backstage they noted this may have been the first time they’ve used a model with short hair. I wanted to be the Sibling girl - and that’s the best kind of envy in fashion. The desire to buy clothes because you feel intimidated, insecure or want to fit in may shift plenty of cocktail frocks or stilettos, but the desire to buy something because you aspire to be the best version of yourself is something to be cherished. Just as Sibling push knitting excellence, they also promote a better, more sustainable, more positive view of femininity - one that’s built around strength rather than mere style.