South African A-list model Ayanda Thabethe opening and closing the Khosi Nkosi Autumn 16 show at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg showcase seems to send a strong message about the kind of woman the high street womenswear label wants to dress, a woman who doesn’t fit into the rail thin model stereotype but is still beautiful anyways.
There were a few other surprises on the Khosi Nkosi runway. A visibly pregnant model strutted down the raised catwalk in a skintight asymmetric strap mini dress and a lined trench, emphasizing the label’s push to appeal to all kinds of everyday women. This also shows in the design choices presented to the public; restrained drama seems to be the only way to describe the clothes this season.
The collection was shown like a three act play, the first act done in shades of red, a mix of prints and solids, the second, in shades of blue and third in a mix of bright colours and African inspired wax prints. The pieces themselves were theatrical, everything that could have been upped with a flourish was. We had caped blazers, caped jackets, caped dresses, even an over-sized cowl collared bodycon dress. And disappointingly, there were the now obligatory sheer pieces.
Nkosi flirts with the dandy aesthetic, creating a show master look with an ankle length caped trench, a crisp white shirt and print bow ties. The shirt is a bit of a disappointment though, as the label lets a crucial chance to rework such a classic and create something new slip by.
That singular sentiment is the only nagging worry this collection brings, everything is clean and crisp but nothing pushes the boundaries so far out to draw our curiosity and stir up conversation. There are too many missed opportunities, too many complacent pieces that could have become revolutionary with a little more tinkering.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa.