So many of the R13 collections start the same way – seeded in an early memory that still resonates today – inspired by the timeless, iconic and authentic. U2 sang the anthems of designer Chris Leba’s youth, with philosophical soul-searching sounds of honesty and grit. Photographer Anton Courbijn captured the band in stark black and white images out west in the barren landscapes of Death Valley and the desert of Joshua Tree. Silhouettes of the guys in military coats and felt hats broke up the vast empty skies otherwise inhabited only by one stark, but majestic, cactus. The hand-scribbled notes of tour dates and personal recollections of their road trips punctuate the duo-tone prints of their memoirs and this collection.
Leather, denim and military, are the cornerstone of the layered collection – along with other 80’s influences, nipped waist and the exaggerated shoulder, from Leba’s early heroes, Azzedine Alaia and Claude Montana respectfully. Wild shearling textures and deep teddy pile line the masculine jacket shapes, or cocoon the body, protecting from the elements.
Supporting Leba’s ongoing appreciation for authentic vintage – military, leather, denim, shearling and Sherpa textures are at the core of the collection. Classic moto jackets are up-cycled into strong hybrid silhouettes juxtaposed with metal conch shells and chrome-tipped bolo ties.
Patterns convey a worn graphic quality with classic buffalo plaids, boyfriend flannels and sun-faded leopard prints. The soft desert florals on velvet bring a soft femininity to the collection. Western classics are reimagined throughout the collection with an urban inflection. Monochromatic bandanas are dusted in Swarovski crystals, while tall felted Laredo hats top the seasonal looks.