Don’t look too pretty. An odd philosophy for a fashion line, but for Australia’s Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke, the team behind Sass & Bide, it’s the key to making beautiful clothes. “Old, beaten up and imperfect, that’s what makes a look come together,” says Middleton, who designs the line, while Clarke takes care of business and marketing matters. The two brainstorm together on concept and presentation of the line, which Australians first saw in 2001, and has a following that includes Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue.

“We love best to mix polar opposites — a beautiful sari fabric with distressed leather straps, sequined tops with torn denim,” Middleton explains. At their Monday presentation at the Chateau Marmont, both ladies wore Sass & Bide tops, with goddess-like beadwork and draping, which they mixed with vintage pieces they had found while scouring flea markets. Clarke had just come from New York where she had presented the line to press and stores, while Middleton made a two-day stop in L.A. from Sydney.

The trip was part of Sass & Bide’s U.S. launch, arriving in stores this month. New York and Los Angeles Bloomingdale’s have it in stores now, while boutiques like New York’s Kirna Zabete and L.A.’s Tracey Ross will carry it for spring. “The spirit of the collection is really about being independent,” said Middleton. “Nothing should look too put together — we don’t even wear Sass & Bide head-to-toe.” But, for those fans who are sure to follow suit this spring, they’ll be able to throw in a vintage belt or favorite pair of faded jeans with any number of Sass & Bide’s toga-like tops and dresses, heavy leather sashes or clinging, beaded, draped tops.

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