Now there are many ways to approach colour when you’re crafting a collection when you’re an African design label. You can go the conventional route, using African inspired Wax prints that already internationally recognized come with instantly recognizable motifs and prepared palette, you could go the opposite route and draw inspiration from indigenous tribes with distinct colour motifs embedded into their cultures like Adire of the Yorubas and the multi-hued MaXhosa beaded blankets. Or you could do what Colour by Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi did; and create your own.
There have been several collections which have impressed us at the Other Style over the year, but this collection shoots straight to the top. Shown on the first day of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg Spring 17 showcase, the Colour collection seems heads and shoulders above the competition. Using a robust palette of pastels, sorbets and neutrals, the label shows some of the most measured print mixing we’ve seen in Africa.
The vibe is definitely flirtatious, the woman the label deigns to dress this season unfazed by external perceptions of her femininity and sexuality. She is unafraid to show a little skin, to wear a slinky dress, to work with volume, to power dress. But running through the collection is a boldness; of print, of cut, of silhouette. Colour tries everything and breaks all the rules.
Flirty baby doll dresses wrought in silk with floral motifs sit beside slinky evening gowns sculpted with sheer cut outs and geometric paneling. Asymmetric beading, nifty pleating and tassels provide interest detail to the more demure pieces. The label even tries and nails a peplumed bodysuit with rope applique for a bust line. The boldness of design is the thing that sets each piece apart and conversely ties in the whole collection as a single cohesive project.
A tour de force, this collection. Colour at its best.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo.