Ding dong, seconds out: Michael Halsband’s 1985 portrait of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat in boxing shorts and gloves sounded the starting bell for this progressively aggressive collection of virtuosity in knitwear. By Sibling’s unique standards, though, tonight’s show began gingerly, almost meekly, with black-backed blue or red jacquard blow-ups of a Sid Bryan doodle inspired by Basquiat and Grace Jones covers, on cardigans and blankets that were wrapped around the models like sarongs. Afterwards Bryan said he had been thrown against the ropes these first few rounds by the urge to keep this collection a muted one. “Last winter was so pink and so bright I wanted to do the antithesis of that . . . It was going to be all black and dark, dark navy. But then I couldn’t do it.”
Slowly Sibling succumbed to its siren song of WTF exuberance. The boxing theme took shape via hand-knitted head masks and gloves. The models were ever more densely peppered with Lurex yarn medals. Sibling’s off-color leopard print roared on boxers styled to ruck up the thighs of the tigers wearing them. Sequins and lace, an ever reliable one-two in the designers’ dressing up box of tricks, made their appearance. So too did their second fist at suiting, this time a sprinkling of baggy jackets and pants in Dormeuil wool based on Basquiat’s suits—which were probably Armani. The closing section of robes, all hand knit, were fantastic etched-wool homages to Basquiat’s bob-and-weave lines. Bryan insisted that these were not mere show clothes: “They’ve already got the customers lined up. We only make what we know we are going to sell, because otherwise what’s the point?” Technically brilliant, artisan-made fashion with an artistic sensibility that sells, sells, sells? That counts as a knockout.