Saturday, September 17, 2011


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Printed guipure lace on a Y-back jumpsuit at Clements Ribeiro   

Last night I popped over to Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro's house in Bayswater expecting to see the place in a frenzy of pre-preparation for their show today at 10am. Instead I pulled up with Nic (my calm, un-rufflable Mercedez driver) to see Inacio calmly sipping a cup of tea in his living room, and scanning over the running order for todays show. While his wife Suzanne popped to get me a strong cuppa, their divine five year old daughter Violet popped her head around the door. So far, so homely.

Turns out Clements Ribeiro, who have been going since the 1990's in various incarnations - some big, some small - were looking to their own home for visual fashion inspiration this season. Indeed their house, a London townhouse in charming disarray - bare floorboards, homespun knick knacks, and Suzanne assures me "wallpaper peeling on the upper floors to reveal even older wallpaper underneath" seems fertile ground for the collection hanging in front of us.

Suzanne pointing out home-spun details from the collection including botanical drawings, wallpaper prints and and nick-nacks from their home

Easy silk trousers and a Clements Ribeiro signature sweater

The show was a short but sweet breath of fresh air. With a disembodied version of Mrs Robinson, by Simon & Garfunkel on the speakers, the models with their eccentric hair and vaguely desperate housewifish attitude strolled out in the inimitable Clements Riberio look that sells so well on  

"We're into American sportswear shapes, not sportswear itself," Inacio told me last night, brandishing a pair of elasticated waist silk tapered-leg pants printed, before picking up a matching silk T-shirt, and then a cashmere stripe sweater - their longtime signature item. "Our prints are not about making people into walking works of art. For us prints become texture." 

The way the couple have worked their prints is an artful mash-up of juxtaposed elements, a Victorian paisley wallpaper print say, abutted with toile du jouy, botanical prints then worn with a guipure lace print itself trimmed with real guipure lace. "We've created out prints this season like a patchwork, but made into one print. we want to create an easiness," says Ribeiro. "Its an anxious time. We want this collection to be cool, calm and soothing."  In that case, job done.

If you look closely at the black and white graphic peeking from the back of the model boardin the below picture, you will see the inspiration for this dress.  

My favourite looks from Clements Ribeiro