U2 and the early years Chris Leba explores the Eighties style side of the Irish rock band
R13 designer Chris Leba was inspired by rockers U2 and traditionally he moves seamlessly between both men and women. But this season he chose to highlight his collection using female models.
“I love girls in guys’ clothes,” said Leba after his show.
“I liked the purity of it. The clothes are so masculine; you want an all-female cast or it would have bended slightly in a different way than I would have liked.”
In so doing, he reminded us of one of the style’s enduring truisms, one which birthed the boyfriend jacket and the boyfriend shirt: Women often look incredibly sexy in clothes designed for men. “Most of the time if you want to make a girl look cool, you throw something on her from a guy,” said Leba. “It might be motorcycle boots or combat boots.”
And one might add to this the crisp white shirt and men’s pajamas.
There was plenty that was alluring and looked gorgeous on the women (and which incidentally would have looked just as attractive on men). They towered on stacked platform combat boots in black and in a fierce patent green. Skinny denim jeans and utilitarian cotton jackets took on sensuality that admittedly would have been absent if worn by the other sex. Leather jackets with exaggerated shoulders and nipped waists were inspired by the Irish band and additionally called to mind Azzedine Alaia and Claude Montana, two Frenchmen who are favorites of Leba and celebrate the female form.
The core accessory was a skyscraper hat, evidently a take on U2 lead singer Bono’s penchant for brimmed hats in his Joshua Tree days.
Looking to U2 in the Eighties, still in the relative childhood of the band’s career, took Leba into today’s thrift-shop chic. “You can see it all on the runway,” he said. “Because it’s very much our vocabulary.” Military jackets, camouflage pants, and olive green jackets had a worn soulful spirit to them.
Bono, Adam Clayton and The Edge, three of the most prominent members of the Irish group, would look at home today in any of the R13 looks. Whether they would want to relive their sartorial youth is another question.
“It’s always best when you are kind of young and have no money,” said Leba. “It’s when your soul is the purest in a way.”