Before Tumblr's "Bling Ring," there was London's Forty Elephants — a 19th-century all-female crime syndicate who specialized in shoplifting fur coats and diamond rings from wealthy families and fancy West End shops. Though the actions of the petticoat-clad, revolver-toting gangsters were definitely less than admirable, there are threads of empowerment and sisterhood that run through the legendary true story. Young London designer Essie Buckman found inspiration in those elements to create her deceptively delicate Fortie Label, which she debuted as part of the Central Saint Martins graduate show three months ago. Combining exquisite, disheveled silks with stretchy sweater ribbing and graffitied outerwear, it's no wonder the brand has already proved popular with the unofficial ringleader of today's most magnetic, multifaceted badgals. Rihanna snapped up Essie's "Katja" bustier for her OVO Fest performances, and has been spotted many times in the iced-out choker designed in collaboration with young jewelry designer Alexandra Hakim. We spoke to Essie about stereotypes, sexuality, and the enduring appeal of Fran Drescher.
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September 1, 2016