Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hey doll faces!

Happy New Week. I took a bit of a hiatus from the world yesterday and did my favourite thing: lay in my bed covered in books, reruns of series I have seen and nasty food. And now all is better.

Last week was SA Fashion Week's presentation of Summer 2013 collections by South African designers and I must say, the whole thing is looking more oiled with each new season.  The standard of shows this year was better than before, the quality of the clothes on the runways was generally better and it was trimmed of a lot of fats, like too many designers showing. I have been attending Fashion Week since 2007 and it's good to see a steady growth.

I was impressed by the crop of young talent, although some of them have a lot to do to understand the fit and construction of clothing as well as how to make clothes for a real South African market instead of an imagined, ideal market.   But conceptually, they get it.  I particularly liked Annemarie Honnibol's winning collection (she won opportunity to show at Berlin Fashion Week), the idea is great from nucleus to execution, a good use of natural fabrics, the collection is wearable and really good quality.  And she has a humility that she will need in the long road ahead. Even though the clothes are not necessarily suited to my ever changing personal taste, I really enjoyed the commercial appeal of Bianca Warren and Sober's collection. I had never heard of them before Fashion Week and these are two labels to watch...and buy!

Stoned Cherrie showed a small and quintessentially Stone Cherrie collection on Thursday during the Tresemme Collections. It was very South African, with a grown up incorporation of the Joburg Skyline and clothing you would want to be seen in on a special day if you are a modern woman in your 30s. Another label that I've enjoyed watching grow from strength to strength is Rubicon. Hangwani has managed to improve her womenswear offering with every new season, opting for less show piece and more commercial.

I must say, the majority of the Afrikaans Designers always manage to bring something extra to the table each season.  The clothing from designers like Black Coffee, Tiaan Nagel,  Suzaan Heyns, Superella and now a new generation in the form of Annmairie Honnibol is laced in historical reference, a sense of belonging to something and somewhere, the clothes are innately South African. The black designers had their moment in the early 2000s with the Sophiatown and traditional wear references but since then, there's been a bit of a lull when it comes to a black identity coming through in the clothing. There's definitely an urban and peri-urban perspective coming from designers like Shaldon Kopman of Naked Ape, Skortch and Loxion Kulca, but I feel like there is something that we still haven't found.  I guess it comes with knowing our history.  My aunt went to an African restaurant in Soweto recently and upon looking at the menu, saw that the only breakfast option was Bacon and Eggs, which is a very English breakfast.  She ordered it and when it came with beans in mayonnaise, she called me to tell me and we had a little laugh about it. But seriously, that's just about not having a full grasp of our own history, which on many levels, makes it difficult to make things that are truly reflective of where we come from.  I'm sure Zulu's, BaSotho, MoTswana's etc have a traditional breakfast food but as our West African brothers and sisters like to day, we in Southern African have been ''over-colonised''.  I'm reading a brilliant book (Frontiers: The Epic Creation of South Africa and the Tragedy of the Xhosa People by Noel Mostert) that is currently enlightening me about being Xhosa on so many levels and it's a pity that this knowledge is not common. Before you say, history is told by the victor, this book is written by a white man that is only interested in telling the truth about our history. Anyway, this was not meant to be a rant, but like anything, fashion is deep seated within the complexities of culture and its expression.

Here are some of my favourite shows from last weekend.  The first two images are from Clive Rundle's installation and the rest are from Tiaan Nagel's.


sindisokhumalo said...

Anmari Honiball is definitely a star in the making. She's got a great sensibility about her, and her clothes are effortlessly well put together. I would wear her whole collection.

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