There are few brands that are able to distill the essence of summer and interpret them in a way that is wholly interesting and unconventional. It is even rarer to find a design label that is able to do this while somehow staying true to their design idiosyncrasies. No brand in Africa does this better than eponymous South African label Marianne Fassler. Some might argue that Fassler to South African Fashion what Vivienne Westwood is to British Fashion, pioneer and rebel, and woman that other women want to wear.
The new Fassler collection debuted at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg summer showcase is a culmination of sorts of her slow but certain aesthetic move from punk rock to a more feminine aesthetic. There are more dresses in this collection than we have ever seen from the brand, a little over half of the looks shown leaned towards this. In all lengths, styles and silhouettes, Fassler wrought them, offering real variety.
A big theme this year at Fassler’s was martial law. She takes the most emblematic symbol, the camouflages and injects it with femininity, softening the harsh tones and reinterpreting them in pastels and chiffon, embracing the starkness of it in a brusquely cut mini-dress, playing up menswear tropes with a pair of deconstructed capri cargo pants. There are other themes too, floral motifs cut out in felt and velour and appliques on to sheer dresses, three dimensional floral corsages cinching waistlines in demure chiffon dresses and used to startling effect as pasties on a silk organza sweater.
There is a juxtaposition of this, softness and hardness melded into one unit, into a singular piece of art, and much of the collection is pretty much art, with the level of complexity and the quality of the construction. Fassler might have left the deliberate layering behind, but she still understands how to make a dress stand out.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo