So, as with every other Swan Collection, I've gone ahead and prepared this lovely "review" post for you. This SS13 collection has seen a new direction in the collaboration between Evans and Clements Ribeiro… Gone are the heavily structured dresses, extreme bold prints and super high prices… This collection is colourful, playful and vibrant - the label on the tin describes this collaboration as a "Holiday Collection"… And it's a very true way to describe the current endeavour.
The Clements Ribeiro Holiday Collection SS13 is different and has certainly created a little divide online… But what great collections don't do that? This is something new and different. This Collection isn't the same as Clements' last two collections for Evans and some women have reacted with confusion and a lack of understanding about what's on offer - but, like it or love it - the girly, playful aspects of this should be clear… This isn't about structure and high nights on the town - this is about joy, relaxation and mirth. It's effectively lips and lobsters - which to me, sounds like summer and fun!
For my review, I bought five items to look at with you. Two dresses, one shirt-dress and two t-shirts. Let me go ahead, right up front, and say that I think the quality of the fabrics are great. I'll go into detail throughout the review - but I have to say - the weight, feel and buttery softness of the textures against my body are just divine. I also love the use of blue, pink, orange and red all anchored against a type or marl grey - it makes the colours and prints pop, without being too "IN YOUR FACE"… It's almost a reverse subtlety at work! The lengths are good too - and while this collection doesn't boast the type of structure of the earlier offerings (Betty Dress, I'm looking RIGHT at you), this collection is formed well against my roundy body. My one big gripe is dual sizing; I hate it and I lament it's constant use in plus sizes. For me, as a person who borders a 20/22 the choice between an 18/20 or 22/24 almost guarantees that whatever I get - it will be a little too tight or a little too big. Please brands and all you designers who use dual sizing - JUST STOP.
Seriously, fat girl says "no".
Roll on the Collection.
I love this little lip dress. Of every item I've tried, this dress is certainly the cutest and I felt my "girlishness" points go UP as I put this on. The texture of the dress is similar to a soft jersey- but there is a comforting weight to this fabric (65% polyester, 35% cotton)- it's not flimsy, but it's still light enough to be very summery. The lip print through the dress is totally cute and I love the reds and pinks against the grey. The absolute POP in this print comes from the randomly placed blue lips, they're delightfully cheeky.
This dress has good little sleeves and on my 5'5" frame hit just above my thigh. I'm in the 18/20 and had ample room through my bust and back, but I did feel a tightness through my thighs getting this on… Once on though, it sat well - although will give me a belly when I walk… I don't mind this (I mean, my belly's there anyway), but some of you might - so perhaps try a few sizes to make sure you'll get a fit you like.
One of the coolest things about this garment is it's versatility. It can be worn a few ways - and you can see, I wear it plain, belted AND I've thrown a jacket over it… This is versatile, fun and says "It's Summer, Let's Play"…
That''s a cool message, yo!
Let's face it - the lobster, to a degree - has kind of become a "face-piece" of this little collection. It's such a DIFFERENT choice of print and the image seems to JUMP from the screen demanding people pay attention. It's playful because it's different and snappy. The fit of this dress is just like the Lip-Print dress (reviewed above), so let's run through it.
Has sweet little sleeves.
Cool wide neckline.
Sits on my low thigh (I'm 5'5").
Dual sizing after an 18 :(
Great fabric - a light jersey feel but with good weight through it.
I really like this dress, but I think this snappy little Lobster won't appeal to everyone. You can't really belt this baby without decapitating the lobster which is something to note if you like heavy clothing definition.
Now, I feel I know my readers pretty well, and I'm aware that some of you prefer much busier prints, rather than one bold statement - but this Lobster (and his statement) works. I've worn this quite plain so you can see its simplicity and fit - but imagine a huge necklace, some bracelets, sunglasses and LOTS of sunshine. This doesn't feel so much like Summer - but a beachside holiday.
The Lip-Print Shirt Dress. Okay. This is SOLD OUT online - so if you want this one, you'll have to stalk online returns… I can't emphasise enough how buttery, light and soft the fabric in this dress is. The texture is beautiful and I felt like I was almost wearing air. There is also some good, sneaky structure in this garment - with a tailored low waist flowing down to a rounded hip. Also - pockets. Of all the items I tried, this is probably the most "me" in the sense of both shape and print. I like colour, structure and interesting print work. You can see I've belted mine, pulling it together a little and I've left the collar undone…
Here's a photo of the collar done up:
You can see that works too - but for me, style wise, I feel like Busty LaRue when my neckline's that high. Also? For me, the open collar adds an extra element of summer and play to the dress, which (let's face it I'm Aussie), is what I look for in a Summer outfit… I wear SPF 50, but I still want my chest to get sun kissed and soak up lots of Vitamin D. This dress, at length, hit just above my knee and was a WEE bit longer than the Lip Print and Lobster dresses. There's some smart elastic in the back of the dress to give the garment a TINY bit of stretch (which is a feature I love… AND is something I've incorporated into my own Simply Be dress… High Five for design features!!).
I'm wearing this in a 22 and I'd be hard pressed to go smaller… Button Up fronts, particularly through my bust (almost) ALWAYS pull. This fit OKAY on my 38H rack, but certainly I could've gone to a 24 to reduce ALL signs of button strain. The buttery soft fabric consists of 57% modal and 43% viscose.
The Zebra Print Tee. This is my absolute favourite piece. 100% this is THE ONE for me. We're talking playful, cute and adorable. I love the stripes, I love the BLUE and I love the smiling Zebra. I think this is clever and cheeky by design.
The fabric on this is 100% polyester, but don't be put off by that… This is a light fabric which feels more like cotton than anything else. There's a type of faux sheerness to this top too - which will encourage air and movement through summer.
I bought this in a 20, but will need to size down to get a fit I like. I have PLENTY of room through the bust and LOADS of room through the back. Length-wise at the front, I like where this falls and I don't mind the slight increase in length through the back. I want this top to be a bit more fitted rather than oversize and certainly - in a 20, this is bordering on oversize for me. I love this though… this is my favourite piece and it's selling out, so if you like this cheeky little guy - GET IN.
Almost exactly similar in fabric, fit and structure to the Zebra Print Tee is this Op-Art print top… Again, I'll need an 18 to feel really comfortable… I bought this as I was drawn to the bright colour and pattern… Again - this feels great on.
I'd be interested to hear how you feel about the Collection. Many of these pieces aren't my usual taste - but they're all really fun and joyful; I certainly had to try them for Summer. I'm going to exchange my Zebra top and keep one of the Lip Print dresses (because they're BEYOND cute).
I really like this Collection - certainly - for me, the earlier Clement Ribeiro Collaborations were more in keeping with my usual style - but I like the guts these Designers have had to come up with something completely different. There's a lot of flow, movement and cheekiness in these pieces. Collections SHOULD change from season to season and SHOULD appeal on different levels to different people - I didn't expect this Collection when the images were released and I LIKE that... It means I don't know what they'll do next, and that's impressively played.
I also SUPER adore that the designers wanted beautiful, interesting women to model the pieces (women who LOVE and actually WEAR Plus Fashion day-to-day) and I love that Clements Ribeiro haven't stayed safe with colour or print choices. However you feel - this is a great Collection, I really like it - this wears well, the fabrics are good and the styling screams Summer. Well Played.
If you're "thinking" about this Collection, I suggest you get in quick - key pieces are selling out and the others will no doubt follow. This is giddy, playful, whimsical stuff - and unlike anything else on the High Street right now... Evans and Clements Ribeiro have created something beautiful and different - so, GET IN.