R13 is reverting back to its eccentric, grunge-tinged roots for spring. After a couple of seasons of relatively tame, albeit modern, interpretations of American classics, designer Chris Leba is going eclectic, all-in. Each show has been an evolution for the brand, moving closer to what Leba wants to express about American fashion. Fall leaned toward suiting and workwear, while resort was a case study on the everlasting appeal of the Fifties.
His spirited spring runway explored the notion of layered dimension and mix-and-match dressing in a display of confident subversion. Plaids and tartans were paired with graphic Ts or over floral skirts, often in a youthful play on proportions and two-tone construction. One of the clear highlights of the show were the aprons of various designs that topped off many of the looks — a tabletop check over a dress over a striped tee, a silver version over a lumberjack button down, or a black leather one that toughened up a gingham look — all worn askew. “An apron is kind of like a work piece,” Leba said backstage. “Let’s celebrate the utility of the apron.”
He drew inspiration from an unlikely source, name-checking the Hutterites, an ethnoreligious group (similar to the Mennonites) from the upper Great Plains. “They mix all these patterns together, and these aprons,” he continued. “They have their own way of living.” It was certainly a refreshingly offbeat approach to Western style. Other highlights included a denim grouping consisting of an open mechanic suit with big flared legs and other pieces with open seams that continued the thread of long lines and motion. “We’re looking for new ways to say something about denim,” he said. “It’s sort of my personal ambition to elevate denim.”