Australian fashion label Sass & Bide has had a busy year juggling creative directors. It took the brand seven months to name Anthony Cuthbertson as creative director, following the departure of founders Sarah Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton, who then left shortly thereafter. The brand went through the spring and pre-fall seasons with no head, just leaving the work to a design team within the label, and finally, during the summer of 2015, Therese Rawsthorne was named as the latest creative director. She is one who knows her way around the industry, as she was the head of her eponymous Australian brand before moving on to other national brands and locations. Her Sass & Bide fall 2016 RTW collection marks the first in the new position, with the result being sleek and retro.
“We were thinking about taking a meandering trip through Morocco,” Rawsthorne said at Sass & Bide’s flagship in SoHo during a walkthrough. So for fall, the brand went on a vacation. This is backwards thinking for many people around the world, especially those who follow Fashion Weeks, who commonly associate a fall collection as being for cold months. Regardless of the clothes’ seasonality, there were some great, smart separates and stunning dresses throughout the line, especially when the best fads from the ’70s were embraced without falling too hard and taking away from the modernity.
There was a little bit of everything in the Sass & Bide fall 2016 collection, when all was said and done. And the pieces were quite lovely, but as a collection things became a bit messy, in that the cohesion was lacking at some junctures. For instance, a deep red handkerchief dress with bustier cups was sweet, but didn’t have the same ’70s edge or much in common with the rest of the line in general. The dress wasn’t new, as it could easily be found at a department store, so it didn’t seem to add anything. The collection wouldn’t have been lacking if the garment hadn’t been added.
The white garments on the other hand, were crisp and rather luxurious. The color might not be practical for wearing everyday, because it is way too easy to pick up stains, but the impact white garments can make is astronomical. The line began with some staple basics, a blazer and a miniskirt, both in a stark white. The effect is striking, especially when the outcome could have fallen quite flat if any other color had been used.
A classic denim or leather jacket, modern white and black color-blocked pants, and resort-esque tropical color-blocked tops and skirts all came together in one collection. Despite the cohesion not always being where it should have been, for a first showing with a new brand, Rawsthorne has proven that there is a lot she will be able to bring to the table, as long as she decides to stay on board.
Photos courtesy of Vogue