Designers Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen create a 36-look collection that has the spirit of the lush and tropical Durban landscape and looks at the idiosyncratic still lifes of artist Georgina Gratrix.
The designs are true to AKJP’s signature artful take on classic and utilitarian menswear and make use of layering, asymmetric detailing and impactful styling. Reworked prints inspired by a jungle landscape in muted pistachio and shades of navy, charcoal and olive dominated the range that includes a number of overcoats, culottes and overalls. The duo describes the collection as “comfortable, ready-to-wear pieces with a lush and tropical finish, a nod to Durban beach culture.”
The wool appliquéd coats were fun to make as we used different fabrics to make one panel – we ended up calling it a patchwork jacket. This entire collection is about detail. The jacquard pieces, for instance, are testimony to this as we have been trying to weave our own fabrics for a long time. It made working on this collection very satisfying. All the prints and patterns on the fabrics were designed in-house too. The other fabrics – cashmere, silk, wool, cotton, mohair, linen and twill – are all natural."
On the lookbook, the designers share: "Our lookbook shoot was actually done inside of a previous gallery exhibition at Smac gallery where Georgina Gratrix's work was being shown, so this lookbook is a full circle moment for our AW16 collection which was inspired by the artist herself. It was a cool idea we had to create art inside of her artwork, so to speak. From there, we moved to La Perla for a post-modern look and feel. It was really great to work within one of the oldest restaurants in Cape Town which also showcases contemporary artworks. This was also our first time working with photographer Neil Roberts and Louw Kotze as stylist on the shoot. Having a bigger team meant that each person brought something unique to the table – even our female model, Nina, who brought a theatrical element and was very easy to shoot.
The shoot itself is largely inspired by the 2003 film 'The Dreamers' which is set in 1968 in Paris and deals with a young American boy named Matthew and twins he meets during his time spent over there on exchange. It's kind of a crazy art film where characters get lost in an intimate fantasy and we used our older models to portray the sort of coming of age that's referenced in the movie."