SYDNEY — Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke clearly aren’t the superstitious kind — the Sass & Bide duo has just used more than 200 broken mirrors to create a giant mosaic in their new flagship on Sydney’s hip Oxford Street strip.
On Friday night, the designers toasted their first freestanding boutique with a throng of stylish friends and fans — including actress Kate Bosworth, who’s in town shooting the next “Superman” film. As both designers are recent first-time moms, it was something of a triple celebration: Clarke’s son, Bo, was born in March and Middleton’s daughter, India-Grace, arrived on July 10, as the store was opening its doors.
“I feel like I’ve had twins — the baby and the store,” quipped the remarkably svelte Middleton.
Going for a “French boudoir” look, the designers created one entire feature wall of the vintage glass mosaic, with blond wood shelves housing the trademark Sass & Bide jeans running down the other wall. Quirky touches include trompe l’oeil doors, “candelabra” illustrations painted directly onto the walls and a grouping of leather saddles — a witty reference to Sass & Bide’s other fashion trademark, the leather harness.
The 2,100-square-foot unit houses the complete Sass & Bide collection, with some pieces done specifically for the store. First-year sales are expected to be an estimated $1.6 million (2.2 million Australian dollars at current exchange), according to industry sources, who also estimated Sass & Bide’s overall volume right now to be $18.2 million (24 million Australian.)
The Sydney flagship is the first of a six-store rollout planned for the next three years. The designers plan to open in Melbourne and Brisbane within the next 12 months, with a planned second Sydney store to follow. Within 18 months, they expect to open in New York — where the pair will return to the spring 2006 runway show calendar in September — with a London site slated after that.
But apparently they won’t be getting any outside help to fund this expansion. Australia’s fashion buzz has it that Melbourne entrepreneur Solomon Lew is close to buying Sass & Bide for between $3.8 million and $7.6 million (5 million to 10 million Australian). Middleton and Clarke flatly deny it. “We think it’s hilarious — I heard six months ago that we’d sold to a Chinese company for 20 million Australian [$15.2 million],” Middleton told WWD. “Why would we want to sell when I’m working with my best friend, doing my ultimate dream job? We’re not selling.”