Mxolisi Mkhize’s House of Saint Luke is one of the more concise debut collections shown at the 2016 South Africa Fashion Week with only eight looks. One hell of a gamble if if this is your first chance to define yourself as a brand, even bigger if you are an emerging menswear label. Mkhize, who is self taught seems to have no such problem.
The designer channels spring by drawing inspiration from South Africa’s oft explored Indian heritage, and brings his own unique perspective as an outsider. Instead of drawing from its vibrant interpersonal cultures, the label decides instead to replicate its vast fauna, replicating abstract motifs of its palm plantations. The results momentarily recall Givenchy’s well received Spring 2012 menswear collection, but Mkhize’s composition and colour composition choices are so far removed from Givenchy’s that at worst it comes off as a very good homage.
The designer also takes the idea of the Indian turban and loosely plays on it, using his prints instead of the usual monochromatic scarves that are traditionally used. He plays with other details as well, creating a s-shaped lapel on one of his sleeveless blazers and ripped detailing on a palm print tee. He gives us his take on the short suit and surprises us with a floor length chiffon shirt.
Mkhize is at his weakest though, when he tries to offer conventional fare. A print blazer sits awkwardly on a model, and his attempt at co-ords is a nightmarish clash of prints. The label works best when it leans into it’s weirdness.
Photo Credit: safashionweek.co.za