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Inacio Ribeiro Relaunches Clements Ribeiro Cashmere Knitwear

LONDON — Inacio Ribeiro is unleashing a wave of color at the London showroom Rainbowwave as he relaunches the Clements Ribeiro brand after a seven-year hiatus.

Ribeiro and his wife Suzanne Clements wound down their ready-to-wear label in 2014, and since then have been focusing on other projects.

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Clements has taken up painting, and is posting her work on Instagram under the name @officialsuzanneclements, while Ribeiro has been consulting for a variety of British and international brands, including Benetton and Toast.

The pandemic, and the months spent in lockdown, fueled Ribeiro’s entrepreneurial spirit, and he decided to relaunch the label, with Barrie, the Scottish company owned by Chanel, producing the cashmere knitwear.

“I thought the end of the pandemic would be a good place to start again,” said Ribeiro, who is still based in London with Clements and their son and daughter. “It’s a time of new things, and new ideas.”

He’s beginning again slowly, selling the debut collection of 16 “super, super colorful” cashmere styles at Rainbowwave starting this week. While Clements isn’t involved in the design, Ribeiro said she’s keeping a watchful eye and acting as a sounding board.

He’s designed dresses, skirts, trousers, tunics, a cardigan and a long, hooded sweater, all with the vibrant stripes and palette for which Clements Ribeiro has long been known.

The designer has worked diagonal stripes that run right to the edges of a roomy knit top and matching midi skirt. The multicolored stripes have been engineered to match, while the chevron is Ribeiro’s leitmotif. The designer has tossed together strips of pink, yellow and orange for a roomy cardigan.

Ribeiro is keeping a close eye on distribution, concentrating on the brand’s e-commerce platform, which will relaunch in October, and looking to form partnerships with select retailers.

There will be two collections a year, with the first set to arrive in-store in November.

Retail prices range from just under 400 pounds for a tank top (part of the brand’s signature twinsets that he’s reviving) to 1,500 pounds for the hooded tunic. The average price is 600 to 800 pounds.

Ribeiro’s look book model is Eddie Ashley, Laura Ashley’s granddaughter and an artist.

He tested the waters last year with a very small collection known as Cat Lover, which Rainbowwave also sold. It was named after his habit of posting cat pictures and videos every Saturday on Instagram.

Maria Lemos, the founder and director of Rainbowwave, said the showroom started with Cacharel as its first client in 2002 when Clements and Ribeiro were creative directors.

“So it is really lovely to be part of the reawakening of the brand in 2021. Clements Ribeiro has, and continues to be, unmatched in terms of quality from Barrie Cashmere in Scotland and with their distinctive use of color, the brand feels so right for now, as it just makes people smile,” Lemos added.

Ribeiro and Clements met at Central Saint Martins, married shortly after graduation and started their label in early ’90s London, rapidly becoming one of the must-see shows during the city’s fashion weeks.

Their cashmere knits quickly became popular with Britpop musicians, such as Jarvis Cocker, actors including Nicole Kidman, and a very young Kate Moss.

In 2000, at the height of their popularity, they were named joint artistic directors of Cacharel, where they remained for seven years. During that time they showed their knits and rtw collections in Paris.

Over the years, the designers turned their hands to different categories including men’s, footwear, maternity and children’s wear.

Partnering with Barrie on the manufacturing should take this latest iteration of Clements Ribeiro to another level.

Barrie is based in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders region, a heartland of cashmere and merino wool manufacturing since the late 18th century. It was making Chanel’s two-tone cardigans for decades before the French giant bought the company from its indebted owner Dawson.

Barrie is now part of Chanel’s Paraffection affiliate, along with companies such as Maison Lesage, Goosens and Maison Michel. Barrie sells its collections online and through it shops on rue Cambon in Paris and on Conduit Street in London.

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