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Monday, February 20, 2017

#FASHIONWEEK: #LexusSAMW AW17 Resorts to Extreme Ready-To-Wear by Monde Mtsi

Fashion week always feels like a toss between expecting the unimaginable and being prepared for incredibly well-made boring clothes. Well, for me at least, it’s always like that. So it was both a surprise and also a roll of the eyes when designers participating in February’s Lexus SA Menswear Week (#LexusSAMW) AW17 Collection showcase showed up with something somewhat of a cross in-between of both and more. There was a new type of energy at this year’s AW17 showcase, perhaps brought on by two major changes in the menswear week platform: 1) a new title sponsor in the form of Lexus SA Cars, and 2) the venue change from the architecturally dramatic Cape Town Stadium to the retail influenced The Palms Terrace. All this and a bag of chips, created a somewhat muted excited in the crowd and with the multiple schedule changes, designer dropouts and delayed ticket releases, the end was nigh, to say the least, for the platform at the beginning of its 2-Day showcase (yet another change in regular programming for the platform). If our wounds had not had enough salt, rubbed deeper was the over-the-counter prescription from a somewhat abrupt Kerry Friedmann (#LexusSAMW PR/Media Liaison person) that there was no seating allocation – just a mere green dot on your ticket, indicating whether you were front row or not. So basically, first-come-first-serve was the name of the game. Anyway, I opted to seat my little toosh at the bottom of the photographer’s gallery and capture all my moments from the comfort of the floor – there I at least knew my security was not going to get breached.

From the get-go, the collections proved one most important aspect of global trends and their influence locally – there was a growing influx of designers resorting to cruise collections for their showcases to capitalise on the opportunity to sell dreams in a ready-to-wear format. Tsepo Tsotetsi was one such designer, producing an athleisure inspired, streetwear dosed collection muted in blacks, whites and greys with spots of solid taupe permeating through the capsule RTW collection. It provided street cred with a strong level of tailoring work, allowing it flow seasonally through work and play environments. I felt the styling was easy, the fabrics to be appropriate and it allowed the viewer to understand how to maximise the garments to create additional looks with their own pieces in their current wardrobe.



Imprint presented a collection true to form, incorporating plenty of print that was softened by the forest green colour block addition. Key moments in this collection for me, are the new silhouette around the mutton-leg-type sleeves which added volume on the upper body, the cinched waist creating elongation and the forest green ensembles that seemed to ground the collection back to earth. An all-time favourite, Jenevieve Lyons put together what I understood to be a tribute to self-preservation, sustainability and conceptually debating the role fashion plays in creating healthy awareness around socio-political topics. The capsule presentation was a culmination of past ideas, incorporated into a new opinion, as seen with the use of previously showcased fabrications, delicately crafted together to create new forms and dimensions. It was neither RTW or cruise, but more architecturally timeless.





There’s something to be said about Nao Serati and his personality. I completely get it; I just don’t think it always translates correctly on the runway. This installment though, spoke volumes. Firstly, it was definitely an upgrade from his previous SS16 showcase and secondly, I do believe this offering has a lot more wearable pieces. The collection didn’t quite possess enough winter pieces and fabrics, however, with enough layering, you’re set to brave the dry winters of the northern parts of the country. I particularly loved the colour, AW should not be about dark, heavy colours; the volume and sheer fluidity of it all also played to my heart, giving one an opportunity to glide through the seasons in what could be easily considered as a high-fashion, athleisure take on RTW. After a slight absence on the runway, Kim Gush returned with a signature all-black collection. Pushing leather, introducing mohair and adding plenty of attitude, the collection is wearable and completely mix-n-match ready to pair with your wardrobe. Some fun items were created: no-one can deny a dungaree its place in fashion society, the bomber jacket will forever rule the streets and an oversized jumpsuit is definitely the alternative to a basic boiler suit. The collection proved to be versatile and incredible well-made with highly appropriate fabric choices.




TokyoJames produced a collection less risqué than anticipated. After the cheeky, flight-of-fancy-bondage collection produced for SS16, I thought we would see an extension of the bondage and playfulness come through for AW17. It didn’t happen; however, what we received was not a loss at all. Horseback riding, Fox hunting, even possibly World War I: those are the three main nuances of this mostly leather cladded collection I picked up. There were some re-introductions of previous fabrics, re-worked thankfully and there was the “Ugly Is The New Cool” slogan trend that was incorporated. In its entirety, the collection is strong, incredibly well-made and fitting for a man with balls to go about his day in full confidence. Another is one of the few brands that made their debut this season. I wasn’t too overtly happy but I did enjoy their basics which were well-cut and finished beautifully. I loved the form-shaping loose-fitting shirts and their fabric, the boiler suit with the diagonal zip-line and the coats all made for a smile as I aligned them with items in my wardrobe, creating bold new looks for my own season.



I’m not sure if it’s the best way to describe Rosey & Vittori, but, if you had to dilute Donatella Versace and demand she prepares a collection for a retail chain, I’m pretty sure it would look something like this AW17 offering from Rosey & Vittori. Basics, paired with key styles topped with glam-rock items. Sex on a steady budget. The faux fur, the velvet, the leather, the tassles... I mean – the TASSLES! I was dead for that black jacket with red tassles. Done. So, Good Good Good, literally I have one question: Why veer off the print? I feel as though they had something amazing going on with the print and the variations – it just needed to be extended on throughout the collection. I loved the collection, thought it was a good offering for a debut appearance. Very street, very RTW, good dose of basic items paired with style items for a fresh look – I just wish the print was more common and made available with each look showcased.



And then it happened. Jahnkoy. I’m still trying to understand and overcome what experienced that moment when this collection made its way down the runway. Jahnkoy’s collaboration with PUMA US was some beautiful and somewhat spiritual to witness. An excess amount of great detail, innovative re-engineering of items into new forms and functions, plenty of colour and splendour – a whole new level of athleisure. The collection spoke of Western displacement of cultures while formatting new identities for lost voices. It was an intricate spectacle of fashion communicating a message through collaboration and re-imagining a present future.




I can’t deal with Rich Mnisi. I just can’t deal. Time and time again he consistently provides us with a collection that is both RTW and pure fashion drama. There are couture-type pieces styled with retail ready items, culminating in a somewhat mashed-up high-fashion street showcase. The colour palette is bold and playful, accentuated by teasing details and accessories. This cruise collection is both day and night ready without trying too hard. AW17 for Nicholas Coutts seemed to be a reboot of his winning ELLE Rising Star Design Award winning collection. The presentation reflected a nostalgic essence, pumped up by the refreshed colour scheme, athleisure influence of glam-sweatpants and a healthy dose of 1930s, 1940s and 1950s inspired jackets and trousers. It’s possibly the strongest the designer has been on his own and it’s exciting to anticipating where he will go next.





EmmyKasbit for SS16 was part of the static installation at Cape Town Stadium. This time around it was a runway collection, and a strong offering for their debut. The collection presented a strong high, slightly cinched waist with a box shoulder top. The styles were cut close to the body in soft, luxurious fabrics. There was a dominant mocha running through the collection, highlighted by print fabrics in burnt-red and in ivory. The collection was tailored, fashioned around practicality, while oozing plenty of style cred. All I have to say about the ALC collection is: Layers! Layers! Layers! What better way to own the streets than by layering up in warm earthy hues. The tones are cool, confident, inspired and express a sense of being an urban nomad. The collection was levels of thought, inspiration, tailoring and opulent fabric selections for feeling lavish on the go.




Mai, Mai, Mai... Mai Atafo presented a holistic collection with his AW17 collection. In fact, he showed us who the Mai Atafo man is in his everyday everything. From cheeky casual, to suave smart, and ending with dandy-licious dapper: the Mai Atafo man is multi-faceted, vocal, tongue-in-cheek and sensible. He understands his life to be filled with opportunities of expression in more ways than having to speak it. His pulse is on the streets while his head is still in the corporate game. It was a well-put-together collection, loved the energy from the clothes, the cuts were close to body and finished off properly.



I think for most part it is clear that designers who are showcasing are designers who are selling at the end of the day, brilliant, because that’s the whole point. Fashion week shouldn’t be about entertainment for the masses; it needs to be business conducive for the designers and brands participating. I look forward for the SS17 collection in July/August this year. It’s going to be exciting to see who has evolved and who lacks behind.

I want to send out a special shout to brands that collaborated with me for #LexusSAMW AW17: Labels Luke Ruiters, 1/1 Creations, Future Village People, Imprint and Levi’s Footwear for my Day 1 ensemble. I felt like sleeping in this look to be honest. And thank you to Art Club and Friends, Future Village People and Levi’s Footwear for Day 2 street cred. On to the next fashion week!

Day 1: Jacket n Pants by Luke Ruiters, Tee by SimpleMan, Sneakers by Levi's Footwear, Earring by 1/1 Creation, Bag by Imprint, Neckpiece - The Zinzi - by Future Village People. Photo captured by @jealous_photography.

Day 1: Jacket n Pants by Luke Ruiters, Tee by SimpleMan, Sneakers by Levi's Footwear, Earring by 1/1 Creation, Bag by Imprint, Neckpiece - The Zinzi - by Future Village People. Photo captured by @jealous_photography.

Day 1: Jacket n Pants by Luke Ruiters, Tee by SimpleMan, Sneakers by Levi's Footwear, Earring by 1/1 Creation, Bag by Imprint, Neckpiece - The Zinzi - by Future Village People. Photo captured by @jealous_photography.

Day 2: Bucket hat, Shirt and Cropped pants by Art Club and Friends, Sneakers by Levi's Footwear, Neckpiece - The Zinzi - by Future Village People. Photograph by @jealous_photograph.

Day 2: Bucket hat, Shirt and Cropped pants by Art Club and Friends, Sneakers by Levi's Footwear, Neckpiece - The Zinzi - by Future Village People. Photograph by @jealous_photograph.

Day 2: Bucket hat, Shirt and Cropped pants by Art Club and Friends, Sneakers by Levi's Footwear, Neckpiece - The Zinzi - by Future Village People. Photograph by @jealous_photograph.



Words by Editor,
xx

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