I know I’ve taken my sweet time to review South Africa Menswear Fashion Week –which “SHOCKER!” I’m usually so vigilant – But I literally had no words to muster for the mild and mediocre event. I’ve only just managed to rustle up the energy to say something.
My instagram has been busy though, as I made sure to capture the best parts of South Africa Menswear Week SS17, namely: the models, my front row style aficionados, and the few fresh threads that graced the catwalk.
One of the attendees I spoke to, actually chiseled down the annoyance I had for the lack of innovation I’d been demanding from the menswear designers; simply surmising that menswear shouldn’t be challenged to overtly manifest new innovation the way womanswear is pushed.
Honestly, the real review is the sell-throughs; and for men who buy, they don’t honestly want the exaggerated showcase designs I’d like to see, which is why this seasons SA Menswear Week could be deemed a design showcase success – because EVERY single designer delivered purchasable goods.
Mai Atafo’s collection manifests as the crown jewel of tailoring capitalist excess…and I loved the undeniable achievement of sophistication and luxury. The brand delivered minimalist and classic designs, worthy of the Savile Row Academy certification Mai Atafo boasts. In the simplest way, imagine his collection as the 60s style Henry Cavill wore in the film “The Man from U.N.C.L.E”.
2BOP has a cute name, but a commonplace collection. The pieces do seem perfect for SA street style, but the bland staple of the trend they followed means one could pick up similar items at your nearest Mr. Price.
I honestly mistook Arakani and Black Dog’s designs for one another, and nothing about their showcases was memorable save the downright chiseled model faces, the makeup adorning their faces, and the dramatics of the music. BLANC was so anticipated but they pretty much gave me what Arakani and Black Dog did. There was potential for depth in the collections meaning – considering the religious iconography – had the pieces been cut with more flair; but the need to conform to street style trends made the BLANC designers yield to archetypal slapdash printing, and an all-round insipid collection.
Augustine’s’ pastel geometric shapes included oh so subtly enhancing A-line forms with belts, and enhancing shoulders more broadly, making for a collection I’d invariably give the nod to.
Image courtesy of SDR Photo
Not to be out done, Merwe Mode forced me out of my perpetual funk with “Inchoate Etiquette” – a stunning offering of European style inspired grey-tinged pastel powder pink shirts and pants I abso-f*cking-lutely need for a summer spent slaying all comers. Also, can we have a moment of silence for the deconstructed lapel of the shirt/blazer Merwe Mode created?
I’m not a lover of prints and patterns – I get hives thinking about clashing together things that have no conservative colour coordination; but I was talked into liking Chulaap by Chu Suwannapha by several of SA’s best style dictators, as well as being swayed by my fondness for the familiar man. His crocodile and zebra pullovers were…charming.
Other honourable mentions for Spring/Summer17 at SA Menswear Week include:
- Lukhanyo Mdingi for those (I’m ashamed to say) cute leather fanny-bags, and those burnt orange, red and brown earth-toned pieces made with luxurious fabrics, that had me thinking of sand dunes and safari’s. He had inarguably, created one of the greatest feats of design this season – those loose origami pants.
- Jenevieve Lyons for giving me durability, colour and shape – and now that I know her design aesthetic, I can appreciate her ode to Spring.
- Issa Leo for pretty much creating a collection that looks like my dream man’s wardrobe. There’s nothing fancy…it’s just literally how most of my celebrity crushes dress.
- Tokyo James for throwing retro swag into the mix. Can you say “athretroleisure”? Seriously, can you? Cuz you’ll have to if this becomes a thing that plays out athleisure.
- Rich Mnisi x Thebe Magugu because owmygod owmygod you guuuuuuuys, those coats! And that gold shirt. My Gaaaaaawd! Loved me the jewellery by Gisele Human of WAIF and artist Githan Coopoo. Also, kudos on the bravery of taking the theme of Hollywood red carpet evening gown rose petal detailing, to menswear street style. That piece of design creativity resulted in a perfect unisex clothing item.
- And finally, Terrence Bray. *cue slow clap* Go look at the pictures. #NuffSaid
To review the event as a whole – predictably missable. But I have FOMO when it comes to fashion weeks so I couldn’t abide missing this seasons showcases. The Cape Town Stadium hosted us; and by us I mean more than 55 designers, and hundreds of fashion enthusiasts, buyers, media and other industry professionals.
The style off the ramp
Key Season trend pick-ups
All-white unisex garb
The colours orange as well as powder pink
Deconstructed traditional apparel
…and luxury handmade slippers.