Sass & Bide: boldness without power

It’s rare for sass & bide to fall down or fall flat; and having just sold off the majority of their brand to Australia’s Myer, now is probably not the time to start. Yet fall 2011’s toned-down take on their signature style was simply lacking a key ingredient: that fierceness, that fashion-forward sense of cool, that hyper-embelishment that sets the prices high and the demand higher.

sass & bide’s fall 2011 girl is still part of a tribe, but she’s no longer a warrior. Colours may be bold (a fact that is a somewhat refreshing change from last season’s black, white and gold) but cuts are relaxed and the sense of power and confidence has been brushed aside; the ethnographic prints and vibrant block colour pieces are not without charm, but nor do they carry the wow factor we’ve come to expect from dynamic duo Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke. It’s a collection that attempts a change in direction, and carries it off, but not with as much cohesion as we would have hoped.

Where the collection does succeed most – both aesthetically and likely commercially – is in peach silk with macrame-like edging, and some vibrant flowing gypsy skirts that swished enthusistically down the London fashion week runway. Cherry pick pieces like these, along with the exotically beaded belts, and there’s still something for the sass & bide girl – even if it’s not what she was likely expecting.

Including many detail shots, click on the thumbnails below to see all of sass & bide‘s autumn (fall) / winter 2011 / 2012 collection.