It’s all in the details for emerging Sydney label Serpent & the Swan. Created by two sisters who share an enduring childhood love for the animal kingdom (and a deliciously morbid fascination with the anatomy of creatures and their mystical incarnations), Serpent & the Swan is a label that refuses to follow in local fashion’s buoyant footsteps.
Black anchors much of the clothing designed by sisters Hayley and Lauri Smith, who interrupt mostly moody collections with lighter colours and textures before fixing each with its own inimitable signature. This might be a row of handcrafted hummingbird buttons, a double-headed wolf brooch, or a single bone fashioned from antique copper. These pieces of hardware have become Serpent & the Swan’s hallmark, with each piece handcrafted in their Sydney studio and each remaining tonal against the garment or accessory to which it is applied.
Considering that both the inspirations and the colour palette of these designers are decidedly morbid, it’s interesting that Spring 2012/13 is one of their strongest collections yet. The contrast of prairie-girl faded florals against tough distressed sequins is just one of the elements suggesting that there are two identities living in harmony inside this collection. Elsewhere, A-line dresses and tailored shirts make an appearance in both light and dark fabrics, and there’s a swimsuit that could even convince a goth to get in the water.
‘Awoke Into a Dream’ will drop into stores later this year. In the meantime, sate your inner cynic with a trip to their moody Tumblr.