Chris Leba likes rock ‘n’ roll and punk. That’s as obvious a statement if there ever was one. Each season, the designer takes a subset of American culture, whether aligned with punk’s antiestablishment nature or not, and filters it through R13’s brand of urban glam and subversive tailoring.
On the origins of his spring collection, he explained post-show, “Who doesn’t know skate, right? It’s all the cool kids.” Taken with locals at the skate park he passes every day on the way to work, Leba decided to take on the challenge of promoting the essence of skate culture in new and exciting ways.
He did so with his effortless knack for pattern mixing, either through layering or patchwork designs. “The cool prints are very limited, so we basically regurgitate zebra, leopard and flames,” he continued. Those may not sound like reason to alert the media, but Leba’s stylistic approach and ease with color are more complex than they seem. He can build a look with four or so layers of differing prints for an overall effect of minimal effort. “We tried to group the prints together so it’s still a mix, but it becomes blocks of color almost.” No two looks were the same, but a denim jacket and chambray look with velvet zebra print skater shorts easily aligned with an outfit built of shimmery beaded plaids.
The closest thing he had to a formula was contrasting different patterns with classic men’s wear suiting, like animal prints under a short suit. The greatest interest came from disaffected looks: shirts tacked on in back as tails for stylistic effect; slipdresses falling off the body; lace-trimmed boxers pulled high, and jeans slung low with the aid of extra-long belt loops. “You see all the kids with the boxers sticking out, so we just exaggerated it,” Leba said.
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