Sibling have come out fighting. 2015 was a tough year for the label - the death of one of the trio, Joe Bates, left some wondering about the future of London’s adored knitwear label. Would they keep showing? Who would replace him as the lead creative voice? If those rumours felt slightly overdramatic at the time, they seem even more shortsighted now. For A/W 16 Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery were seemingly feeling more confident than ever. You could see that in the two given inspirations, two of fashion’s most loved, and referenced, figures - Grace Jones and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The former inspired the bright palette of primaries, which nodded to her album covers, while the latter inspired the free way stitches and knits had been rendered as abstract forms and urgent squiggles and dashes. Basquiat’s personal wardrobe, as well as his art, had caught the duo’s fancy - baggy trousers and wide, cropped suit jackets were a tribute to his undone style.
While Jones and Basquiat may have inspired the stitches, weaves and tones, an attendee at the fashion show, when faced with just the styling, would have been forgiven for thinking that this whole collection was just about boxing - though you could link that right back to Basquiat, who has a well-documented passion for the sport. Models wore oversized gloves, which harked back both to those cartoon mittens from A/W 13 and Michael Halsband’s iconic portrait of Warhol and Basquiat in boxing gloves, and carried punchbags complete with Sibling branding. But look beyond the costume elements and the duo had continued to grow their offering, extending their core building blocks from beyond knits into tailoring and now underwear, thanks to some leopard ‘boxing shorts’. If in the past their shows have felt like a celebration of all things silly and suggestive, this felt like a consolidation of what the duo can provide not only to press and stylists but also to buyers and customers. That said, the soundtrack still promised high jinks. ‘We all love good times,’ sung Chic from the speakers. Sure there were still the frolics - sequins, the usual sexy, toned bodies and so on - but the overall feeling was something more grown up and focused. It was by no means subdued, but certainly there was a quieter, less camp sensibility. All those boxing motifs certainly created a more masculine air, a contrast from the deliberately sick pink of last season. This seduced rather than shocked or surprised. In summary - a knock out.