August 11 2012
When a designer makes a special, more accessible range for a department store, it needs to be done well. This generally means being immediately identifiable as the designer’s work, like a diffusion range rather than something anonymous, however good the quality. If it references the designer’s current work, so much the better. It is therefore a great pleasure to discover that Clements Ribeiro’s latest offering for John Lewis does exactly that.
One of the most established of the newer wave of British designers, the duo are best known for their embellished cashmere knits and their fine use of mixed print and texture – they were pioneers of the genre that is currently so high fashion. Their link with John Lewis began last autumn, but this season turns to their ability in print.
Most designer diffusion collections feature ideas from the previous season, probably to retain a distinction for customers of their latest catwalk pieces. But Clements Ribeiro have steered a neat course, with influences from both last summer and this autumn’s prime collections. Summer’s pieces included a trompe l’oeil mix of real and printed lace, with slightly Moghul prints in washed, dusty shades. For this winter their prints turned to richly gem-coloured, Russian peasant style.
Their John Lewis capsule features the Indian-style prints but on silk and reworked in deep blue, forest green, mauve and black and mixed with a handpainted black lace print. Easy-fitting, relaxed trousers (first picture, £99) and a figure-skimming, short-sleeved top with scalloped edges (first picture, £85) hint at the voguish pyjama look, while the star piece is a simple, long-sleeved, fitted dress (second picture, £150), where the print tells the story. The pieces arrive online and in top stores at the beginning of September, but quantities are limited.