It's two weeks before their first SISTER by SIBLING salon show. And Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery are doing a fitting – with Barbie. "She's a great model," says Bates. "Though her schedule is very packed!" The trio are the latest in a line of designers to dress the American icon – it's the most tuned-in she's ever looked, in a three piece Leopard Fair Isle set.
Over a cup of tea and away from the celebrity, McCreery and Bates talk through the full-size collection, as Bryan is hard at work in the other room along with fourth SIBLING Mycroft, the cheeky English Bull Terrier who likes to play – whether shoving his head in a Goyard, licking an Yves Saint Laurent bag or trying to ingest random objects (sometimes).
"SIBLING this season is based on the idea of the Marked Man," explains Bates, whilst the kettle boils. "And the relationship between a protective matriarch and her wayward son. SISTER by SIBLING is the matriarch, the kind of figure you used to find in east London pubs. The collection's called Diamond Lil."
McCreery works through the samples, piled high and acid bright in shocking mohair or shimmering pailettes, light bounding off in twenty directions at once.
A backless dress is directly referenced from Paris Texas. Leopard, a signature of the house (it has been since the first men's collection in 2008) is a full-pelt print on orange, or blown-up as black and navy sequins.
SIBLING this season is based on the idea of the Marked Man. And the relationship between a protective matriarch and her wayward son. SISTER by SIBLING is the matriarch, the kind of figure you used to find in east London pubs. The collection's called Diamond Lil
Another hightlight – literally – is the glitterball, a totally-sequinned cardi, crew and skirt combination in silver. There's a lot of lurex too. The archetype glamourous fox stole – with head and legs still attached – is knitted over a taxidermy fox skull, complete with teeth. Whilst Chelsea boots and creepers are realised in collaboration with Underground.
The crux (and genius) of SIBLING is that both SISTER and the menswear share styles and techniques. And that is brilliant. If you're creating designs for life, why should anyone be left out?
Photography by Thomas Giddings: exclusive unpublished A/W 12 lookbook images.