Playing dress up with Madonna, the early years. Drawn to eighties New York style as documented by Amy Arbus and Maripol, the Sibling trio (Cozette McCreery, Joe Bates and Sid Bryan) landed on Arbus’ famous straight up of pre-fame Madonna posing on the streets of New York. “It wasn’t the fact that it was Madonna. It was that she actually summarised that moment in that time when she was wearing that granddad overcoat literally over her pyjamas with a scarf,” Joe Bates said after the show as he spoke of a time when “it didn’t matter if everything came out of a rubbish bag or off a designer rail. What mattered was that it had a look. What came through was just the pure joy of dressing up – day, night, disco, supermarket, it doesn’t matter.”
Raiding the dress up box:
From an explosion of frills to the Keith Haring-esque scribbles and ra-ra skirts that had grown into full-on ball gowns, this was an exercise in the giddy excitement of raiding the dress up box. What you get with Sibling is an unbridled love of clothes. Theirs are not silly clothes by any means – their knowledge of modern culture and meticulous craftsmanship alone should tell you that – but they make you smile. This season, the trio went one up on their handiwork, sending out a succession of gorgeous hand-crocheted raffia dresses with macramé details and oversize fluffy jumpers that turned out to be curly rubber bands on closer inspection, set off by Madonna hair bows that had grown into oversize BernstockSpeirs headpieces and Tatty Devine’s interpretation of Maripol’s vacuum band bangles.
The joy of clothes:
Backstage, Bates spoke of the magic of dressing up. “I think it’s a joy to have it. I feel almost sorry for people who don’t have it. I suppose they watch football instead or something. Something I don’t understand or have a passion for. They don’t get quite why I would get enjoyment out of what I selected out of my wardrobe that day. But that’s what I hope that we reflect with our work: the absolute joy of just playing dress up.”