There’s no denying that Sibling loves a good laugh. Bums, jock straps, and the spitting image of the all American jock – the perfect ingredients to give the audience the giggles, tweeting “No you didn't!” Every Sibling show for the last few seasons has gone straight from the runway to the headlines, and there is no reason why this one should be an exception.
The first look opened the show on a deceivingly restrained note: an immaculately tailored suit with cropped trousers and oversized football shoulders. Affectionately christened the Sibling/Sexton silhouette, it ushered in Sibling’s tailoring arm. Fabrics are made in wool tonic cloth lined with Sibling Swirl print and fitted like a glove. Fresh as it may be, it was scandalously tame by Sibling’s standards. But true to form, the decoy didn’t last long as it escalated very quickly to the sounds of the marching band soundtrack. Before long there were vivid print-on-print, raffia trimmed parkas and skin, lots of them. By the time half the looks came down the runway, the audience felt right at home with the Sibling vocabulary they’ve come to know and love. Jock straps peeking through skin tight trousers soon became undone and by the end of the show it made its way as outerwear. The pageantry was in full force, as male models armed with oversized pompoms cheered on their fraternity in sequined tank tops and varsity knits.
The ingenuity, however, was in the message: the pitch-perfect comedy thinly veils the commentary of social milieus through the eyes of the Other. Describing the show as an extension of their “investigation of male subcultures” – possibly in the context of observing the male tendency to organise in tribes – Cozette McCreery, Sid Bryan, and Joe Bates shone light on the most tribal of the lot: the jock. Campy in its execution, hyperbolic and outrageously entertaining, the show was a masterclass in parody, turning the idealised image of the type-A male on its head. The concerted reference to Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of the modern man in the prints also made the commentary more acerbic. Despite the full-moon experience from the rear view (from the low-rise trousers), the show was cleverly staged and strangely endearing – a highlight at the end of the second day of London Collections: Men.