SA Mens Spring 17: Jenevieve Lyons’ ‘Defferential’ is an ode to the migrant worker

South African Menswear label Jenevieve Lyons takes agendered fashion pretty seriously. The eponymous label is one of the few African menswear lines helmed by a woman and as such isn’t particularly interested reinventing the wheel or churning out season after season different iterations of the same ‘classic’ suit. What Lyons does instead is adventurous exploration of masculinity outside of the narrow interpretations that dominates contemporary menswear.

The new collection, debuted on the 6th of July at the South Africa Menswear Week highlights Jenevieve Lyon’s uncanny knack for weaving a stellar story through clothing. Inspired by the Adivasia blanket identifier for the indigenous aboriginal tribes of South East Asia, who through the centuries have rejected industrialization and globalization and held on to their indigenous cultures and how they remain bastions of culture in a world that is quickly blurring into a homogenous world of mobile phones and digital social currency, supporting themselves in the wake of widespread destruction of their homesteads through migrant, undocumented work.

Denim, the uniform of the worker is a strong theme in this collection. It is worked and reworked, used as detailing and used as metaphor. Contrasted by green tweed and check prints Lyons creates amorphous pieces  with a certain ease to them, eschewing fit for draping. Blush pink co-ords and play suits are a stark contrast to the dark denim, lending a softness to the pieces. Pockets and zippered closures provided the needed practicality evident in worker’s clothing.

Elaborate denim and tweed belts are a huge detail this season, finessed with brass buttons, they are used to cinch waists, and lend a military air to jackets and shirts.  Other details Lyons uses this season include contrast piping used to outline pockets and demarcate colour blocked pieces. Pom-pom tassels, a common embellishment used by migrant workers for their colour and ease are used as detailing on zips and other closures or hand loosely from necklaces. The collection closes out with a tri-tone, textured abstract jacket, that speaks perfectly to the whimsy of Jenevieve Lyons.

A true behemoth, this woman is.

PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo. 

Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, WC, South Africa.

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