With an education in fashion design from the ML Saltan Technikon and three decades of experience in the clothing industry, with stints in pattern cutting and mass production, Vanessa Pilay is a juggernaut in the South African fashion industry. Her label Hombre illustrates this wealth of experience. This testament to her inability to conform to any standards manifests in her niche, her medium of self expression. And the choice to express herself through androgynous menswear excites us to no end.
Hombre, her studio label is young, dissident and adventurous in the best of ways. Showing a concise, eight look collection this season at the South Africa Fashion Week 2016 Spring showcases, Pilay offers a new way of approaching and incorporating military inspired street wear into our far more pedestrian lives.
Using traditional military colours as her palette, she weaves a story around the moss green, olives and forest greens that form the foundation for the collection. Using brighter colours, she creates paint splotched camouflage with snake skin accents on a boxy trench coat.
Cured leather is also a strong fabric choice in this collection; cut into more classic biker chic gear, leather pants with zip detailing, deconstructed multi-hued flight jackets, more casual midi-length dress shirts and puffy bomber jackets. The cohesiveness of the looks make up for the fact that Pillay approaches the concept with almost literal tunnel vision and doesn’t properly explore all the other possibilities that the premise behind the collection could have offered.
Photo Credit: safashionweek.co.za