LONDON–Through a scrim we could see the models for Clements Ribeiro’s Spring 2011 show assembling–an array of reedy girls in shifts and A4 paper hats. We knew it was time to begin when the lights dimmed and a spotlight threw models’ silhouettes onto the thin muslin screen, creating what was surely one of the week’s most quietly lovely images.
From that beautiful beginning came a parade of palette-cleansing clothes, a fashion sorbet of ladylike dresses in gorgeous original prints. First down the catwalk was a purple and green hydrangea-print shift, followed by a shirt with boughs of jasmine in white on a red background. This same print in a skirt looked perfect when paired with a fine gauge Breton-striped sweater.
Best of all, though, was a nipped-waist v-neck dress with browns, peaches, aubergines and lemon curd tones applied to those same hydrangeas, prompting instant covetousness and some magical budgetary thinking on my part.
When the print disappeared, ensembles briefly veered into less interesting territory. An off-the-shoulder navy blue embossed silk dress with an obi waist tie and wide sleeves would have been stronger without the large paillette flowers (sequins fell off of other heavily embellished garments). But a navy cardigan the same length as a short lace dress in the same color read as flirty and young.
At the end, the crowd exited The Old Dairy smiling. These are easy-wearing silk shifts and shirtdresses that won’t date, well-suited to the socialite circuit and special occasions.
All of this, by the way, progressed against my favorite soundtrack of the week: a slow, breathy rendition of “Hey, Big Spender.” Are you listening, buyers?