I don’t even remember who showed before Suzaan Heyns. That’s how amazing her collection for Autumn/Winter 2012 was. As the show was starting I was chatting to a friend when we were interrupted by what sounded like a million photographer's lenses going off at the same time - a crispy crunchy sound that turned out to be everybody opening black plastic envelopes that read ''open at the start of Suzaan Heyns show'' - and already we knew we were in for a treat! These pictures do the seamless flow of the clothing down the runway no justice! Just thinking of the virtuoso that conceptualized and designed this collection and the meticulous hands that cut out each of the leather scales on the dresses gives me the gumption I needed to say something, something I can't say about the majority of other collections. And yet, I just want to savour it for a little while and not spoil it by breaking it down and talking about it.
The thing I enjoyed most about this collection is what I said in a tweet " I respect designers who stick to their quintessential yet have the ability to bring novelty with each new collection'', and for me, this applies to Tiaan Nagel's fresh take on Lanvin's, Alexander Wang and Calvin Klein's leg of lamb inspired silhouettes. This is something so fresh and global for a South African runway and audience and judging by the number of people who were in Tiaan Nagel during the week (including me on two different nights), this collection is going to swing easily from the runway to somebody's wardrobe.
This collection could have been on any runway in Europe and America in terms of design aesthetic, craftsmanship and creativity...but I really liked it because it reminded us that we are in Africa. The colour scheme, fabrication and the sheer strut of the men in that tailoring sent tingles down my spine. What I would do to be surrounded by a room full of men who dress like this all day everyday. And 10 out 10 for presentation. There was a ceremonious start to the show - huddled groups of men that conjured up images of amakhetha (circumcision initiates) in the wild, wrapped in blankets and their new manhood. Shaldon's Kopman's men had cloths with studded letters that spelt words like Sotho and African names. It was a welcome production. And thank you for the dancers.