Sibling:Twins have more fun. LFW menswear day

Posted on 22nd September, by Colin Chapman in menswear. No Comments

Sidestepping a rather frenzied doorway to the Navy Boardrooms at Somerset House, where an over-running E.Tautz was about to happen, the Sibling presentation in the adjacent Portico Rooms was a haven of relative tranquility, albeit a slightly demented one. Knitwear. Lots of it and in the maddest, Pop Art meets Punk graphics colour collision since Jamie Reid met Linder.

Film is becoming an established part of fashion presentation (see Carolyn Massey’s much praised Isle-of-Sheppey set piece later today) and one that I’m rather keen on, being a cinephile and long-since-distant film graduate and all. But it can be hit and miss, in the same way that video installation pieces in the art world can either make the heart sink or skip a beat.

Sibling’s choice of film today was a perfect conjunction to the knitwear on display.

At the literal centre of the presentation, was a video collaboration with stylist Alasdair McLellan. An urban skinhead fantasy, worthy of Bruce la Bruce, I was transported to a time when dreadlocked, male Marilyn Monroe impersonators shared squats in central London with a legion of other wannabe popstars, and spent at least some of their time seeking refuge from/lusting after, the local lairy skinheads.

This combination of punk/skin agression and the seemingly more demure world of luxury knitwear is a heady mix. With no demure twinsets in sight, sweaters and cardi’s are elaborated with text such as the ever-charming ‘Cut here’, more usually seen as a tattoo on a skinhead’s throat. But there was also charm, I loved the wordplay on a sweater spelling out ‘X-Ray Specs’ (the replacement of the expected ‘x’ (referencing Poly Styrene’s band) with an ‘s’ at the end of ‘Spec’s, being a witty reminder of knitwear’s more genteel image). A nearby stylist reaching out to touch drew my attention to the fact that the swirly sunglass lenses on this sweater are done in sequins. The collection also strongly referenced the collision of London and New York’s subcultures that was Punk. One sweater bore the image of the Statue of Liberty, but adorned with a very ’80s Kings Road mohican. New York was also referenced in the shadow of Warhol: as stars and stripes, as primary-coloured camouflage, in the overall sense that pop culture is meaningful and that time is fleeting. And London was ever present in the on-screen presence of those menacing, sexy Skins.

So, lots to appreciate here at Sibling and a presentation I was really glad to attend. I’ve a feeling that graphic sweaters will be a big trend next summer (hello Henry Holland giraffes, Tigersushi Furs tiger and Carolyn Massey deco jazzy stripes).

I have to say I really didn’t like the tracksuits bearing the aforementioned ‘Cut here’ amongst other neon graffiti, possibly being too reminiscent of Mr George O’Dowd’s rather hideous B-Boy ‘line’. But I genuinely loved lots of the knitwear pieces today. Of particular note, was a black knitted cardigan, a perfect replica of a leather biker jacket, with incredible attention to detail, including lovely chunky zips. In my crystal ball, I envisage at least the next year being heavily influenced by the kind of punky streetwear kids used to wear as a sign of their allegiance to particular tribes: be they punk, skinhead or an-other. This is England 86 is a very zeitgeist TV programme. In a world where identity can now be bought in two mouseclicks and tribal boundaries are blurred by illegal download, its nice to be reminded of a time when clothes carried great meaning to the wearer, and subtle signs of tribal affinity were communicated over time, and slowly at that.

The Sibling presentation today showed an awareness of popular cultural history that was witty, engaging and involved the clever manipulation of the generally benign sweater in a potent way, usually reserved for the T-shirt. Messrs Warhol and McLaren would be proud.

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