Written By: Taryn Watt
What will Sass and Bide look like with new designer Anthony Cuthbertson at the helm?
There are few Australian brands with such instantly recognisable design aesthetic as Sass and Bide. Even in a crowded room Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton’s signature embellished style can be noticed a mile away; so with the founding duo recently announcing their departure from the brand, the question must be posed, what will become of Sass and Bide?
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The brand was born on the streets of London as a stall selling jeans at the Portobello Road Markets in 1999 and has evolved into an international label which has gained acclaim the world over. However according to designers Sarah-Jane and Heidi, it was never their intention to pass on the business to their children and leaving after 10 years was always a part of the plan. It’s been 15.
“Our dream was to build an international brand and to at some stage sell the business and explore other creative projects. At the time we put a ten year time frame on that,” Heidi told Vogue Australia.
The best friend’s transition out of the business has been in the making since 2011 when Myer bought a considerable portion of the business for $42.25 million. The brand is now completely in Myer’s hands and without its namesake designers at the helm Anthony Cuthbertson will become design director and Bonnie O’Hare, Art Director.
Anthony has most recently consulted with Victoria Beckham’s label and designed for David Lawrence’s Atelier collection. He has also previously worked for Mulberry, Ralph Lauren, Max Mara and Joseph. An impressive resume no doubt, but all brands with a distinctly different design aesthetic to what we have come to know and love from Sass and Bide. In particular Anthony’s most recent appointments with Victoria Beckham and David Lawrence are labels known for sleek, classic lines and minimalistic style; the polar opposite to that of Sass and Bide.
Whilst at David Lawrence Anthony experimented with neoprene (a glimpse of a more eccentric creative flare desperate to escape?) but thanks to his previous influences, will he be inclined to bring a more neutral palate and understated style aesthetic to his early collections for Sass and Bide? Naturally Anthony’s collections will have a unique touch and be different to what we are accustomed to from Sass and Bide. How different that touch is, is the question on the minds of many long-time Sass and Bide devotees like Lauren Veiling. “I think like any company when the original founders leave it always changes the dynamic. It will be interesting to see how much the style changes.”
Eventhough Anthony Cuthbertson may seem like an unusual choice to replace the original design duo, we can be certain that the decision was not made without extensive consideration by all involved. In their interview with Vogue Australia, Sarah-Jane and Heidi make it clear they believe they have left the brand in safe hands.
“We believe that the existing team and Chris, our CEO, really have the strengths and the ability to take it into an even stronger realm. It will naturally evolve into a slightly different creature. It obviously won’t have our signature touch, but it will have another great aesthetic,” says Heidi.
Are you a fan of the brand? What would you like to see out of the new Sass & Bide? Let us know in the comments below!
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