SA Fashion Week 16: Graffiti and the House of Ole for SS16

Known for its classic suits tailored expertly enough to hang in a Savile Row showroom, the House of Ole has made a name for itself in South African and international menswear. But Ole Ledimo shows with this collection that conquering classic menswear doesn’t quite float his boat, and he is willing and more than capable of encompassing all kinds of fashion.

Opened and closed by Rwandan model Happy Umurerwa, the House of Ole showcase is one of the more comprehensive, perhaps indicative of Ledimo’s near sixteen year career in the industry. He showed a mixed collection, in line with trends we have seen in large fashion houses like Burberry and Tom Ford.

The collection itself is largely held together by the concept of street art. Ledimo explores all the possibilities of the medium, starting out with washed out water colour abstract graffiti prints, splashed across the white women’s wear ensembles that open the collection. This first act is decidedly androgynous with bomber jacket inspired dresses and layered pants.

This quickly segues into metallic fabric detailed with beaded geometric designs and much tighter silhouettes. Pleated shorts, khaki shirt dresses and more classic graffiti are the highlights of this phase.

The menswear that Ledimo offers are a lot less structured. Connected only by a distinct summer inspired casual aesthetic, Ledimo mixes and matches, ensuring only that that haphazard graffiti is consistent. He offers drop crotch pants with skin tight check shirts, mixes an almost feminine bedazzled lace vest under a distinguished burgundy suit and matches a classic polo and khaki look with a mint green damask cumberbund. Kilts, biker jackets, asymmetric vests and oversized dress pants, Ledimo offers it all, in a tricky but successful attempt to appeal to every kind of South African man.

The third, abrupt act of the collection takes us back to womenswear, but the androgyny is gone, instead we get sultry, hyper feminine evening wear looks, tulle skirting, tulip hems, tweed and blood red wrap jacket. It is the ideal counterpoint to the casual menswear. But as an inside joke, even with these looks, the models wear graffiti’ed socks. It is a wink that we accept heartily.

Photo Credit: safashionweek.co.za

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