It's a dark phrase, one made famous by punk innovator Richard Hell in the 70s; the same guy credited with influencing the Sex Pistols' look and attitude. Yesterday, those fierce words, which once emblazoned Television's Richard Lloyd's (and later, Hell's) T-shirt became the powerful motif of SIBLING's A/W12 men's collection, brought to life in flowers at the top of the catwalk.
Flowers on the catwalk, of course, are nothing new. Raf Simons' recent Dior debut created in collaboration with his florist of choice, Mark Colle; Dolce & Gabbana's couture extravaganza with garden backdrop; Yves Saint Laurent's lilac-laden catwalk in S/S07. All memorable in their own right. Yet whereas the aforementioned used the floral backdrop to highlight the floral accents in the collections, SIBLING's use at a menswear show felt fresh and exciting.
Here AnOther speaks to the London design trio, Joe Bates, Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan, about their punk references and favourite flowers.
How did the Richard Hell reference come about?
We wanted to look at New York rather than London punk. It was the meeting of Britain and America that was interesting for us. It was the idea of being a suburban teenager appreciating the cool of New York punk but living in a nowhere land in Britain. When you grow up, of course you appreciate both sides; the domestic has become as important to us as all of the cool stuff in what we do, particularly in this collection. But when one of us was a teenager in Leicester and our friend got a letter from Richard Hell, it was like Jesus had written to us! We were disproportionally excited.
What made you decided to put it at top of catwalk?
For S/S13 we had a giant banner made, covered with our East London Toile de Jouy print (hand drawn images taken from photographs of the east London Riots) sprayed with the word REVOLUTION in SIBLING pink. That banner made for an instantly understandable visual summary of the S/S13 collection so, with this in mind, we wanted to make what is a very blank catwalk space 'ours' again. Joe had been looking at punk band and grunge gigs at places like the Mean Fiddler and CBGBs and these funeral flower motifs kept cropping up – it was like the punk/grunge version of being a Goth and standing in Highbury Cemetery! It just clicked with what we we trying to achieve so we ran with it and then it also became a jumper: in look 1, the Please Kill Me sweater is embroidered with tiny tiny flowers by Laura Lees. And the wording comes from a T-shirt worn by Richard Lloyd of Television, but which is attributed to Richard Hell who says that he bullied Lloyd to wear it as he "was too much of a coward".
"As with everything SIBLING it was put together by friends...The flowers used were blue roses, gerberas, daisies and purple thistles – a glorious gaudy mix."
How was the artwork created?
As with everything SIBLING it was put together by friends – three in fact and not one of them florists. Laura Lees took her embroidery and reinterpreted it with oasis words (exactly the ones used at funerals) and Flynn Hall and James Hoy assisted, getting up in the early hours to go to the flower market. We are so very thankful for our friends as others, we must mention, were busy helping to knit the giant accessories. The flowers used were blue roses, gerberas, daisies and purple thistles – a glorious gaudy mix.
What's the Sibling flowers of choice? What's your favourite florists?
Anything sent to us in a bunch minus too much foliage with a note: With Love From… or even Happy Fucking Birthday (yes that happened). Our favourite florist has to be Lees, Hall & Hoy who perhaps should think about a change in career?
See the highlights from the collection here on AnOther Loves.
Text by Laura Bradley