When R13 burst on to the scene in 2009, fashion girls instantly gravitated towards the brand's denim staples. Perfectly distressed, the jeans were quickly picked up by the likes of Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York. While the brand’s offerings found its way into many a girls’ closet – the designer behind the denim remained anonymous.
Fast forward to last year, when the R13 founder and designer decided to reveal himself after leaving a full-time stint at Ralph Lauren, most recently as the vice president of design. This week’s show marked his third collection for the label, and was styled by W’s own Creative and Fashion Director, Edward Enninful.
“Always punk,” Chris Leba said post-show backstage, as models like Jamie Bochert and Lindsay Wixon changed from Leba’s oversized shearlings and cropped flare pants back into their street clothes. “Punk, the 90s, always are my references,” he reiterated. This came across loud and clear in the covetable floral print Angela Chase dresses. However it was also quite clear that his grunge girl had grown up. High neck white shirts were paired with all looks, and leant the floral dresses an air of sophistication, and Leba’s pant and coat silhouettes were of perfect proportions.
But it wasn't all Nineties nostalgia. “As you know, I was at Ralph Lauren for 17 years,” Leba reminded me, and it showed. All grown up grunge girls will be sure to embrace his Prince of Wales check coat, the boxy herringbone blazer and his utility inspired outerwear. Leba’s reimagined punky girl still knows how to rock a leather pant, and many an editor professed their desire to add them to their own wardrobe come fall. With all those too-cool for school models, like beauty Winnie Harlow, stomping down his runway, Leba is sure to garner a legion of fans who want to be just as effortlessly cool.
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