A new African luxury stepped confidently into the global spotlight on Wednesday when the #AmazeAfrica collection was showcased at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa at the Pretoria City Hall.
The groundbreaking collection was presented before an audience of over 500, and immediately drew a rapturous response for its superb showcasing of new-world creativity.
Inspired by Samsung’s global Accelerating Discoveries and Possibilities philosophy, #AmazeAfrica drew together 14 fashion and accessory designer collaborations into seven partnerships, mining the generous supply of exceptional design talent spread across the continent. The designers drew their inspiration from the natural genera found at Pretoria’s Ditsong Museum of Natural History – and the results were spectacular.
The collaborations were as follows:
* Marianne Fassler (SA) & Quamta (SA)
* Black Coffee (SA) & Albertus Swanepoel (SA/USA)
* LaurenceAirline (Cote d’Ivoire / France) & Missibaba (SA)
* 1981 by Nana Brenu (Ghana/Italy) & Adele Dejak (Uganda/Kenya)
* Projecto Mental (Angola) & Rift Valley Leather (Kenya)
* Taibo Bacar (Mozambique) & Pichulik (SA)
* Loin Cloth & Ashes (Tanzania/SA) & Doreen Mashika (Tanzania)
Taibo Bacar and Pichulik looked to the ancient Cycadala for inspiration. Inspired by hot summer nights, offset by a cool verdant palette, Taibo’s collection has a touch of Robert Palmer-chic; stretch-satin body-hugging looks with asymmetric cut-out detailing and exposed zips. Pichulik’s accessories, in soft mustard suedes, brilliant Azure and textured fawn leather hark to the exotic of North Africa while shapes mimic the silhouettes and textures of the prehistoric plant.
Working in studios thousands of miles apart, LaurenceAirline and Missibaba created looks inspired by the yellow of the coral snake and the geometry of the tortoise carapace. Chauvin-Bartrand of LaurenceAirline used the finest wool and wool blends to create minimal soft-tailored winter coats worn over her signature geometric shirts and slim-leg pants. Missibaba hand-wove different textured leathers to create a single slip of a laptop casing.
Both Doreen Mashika and Anisa Mapungwe of Loin Cloth and Ashes looked towards a futuristic world inhabited by ants and wasps. Doreen used burlap, sisal and Namibian silks to intimate the ants’ natural living environment, while Anisa incorporated textured taffeta and a hexagon shaped mesh, presenting a literal representation of the world of bees. In a move away from Anisa’s signature print, she underpinned all her looks with a metallic stretch viscose bodysuit
For Jacques van der Watt and Albertus Swanepoel the feminine stature of feathers inspired an elegant silhouette offset in a simple, yet striking, red, white and black palette. Black Coffee’s sophisticated lines follow a graphic and literal interpretation of the Avialae genus. Both designers used the feather as an element of fabrication – Swanepoel ironing, twisting and fixing it, following an old millinery technique, while van der Watt employed the traditional couture technique of individually applying feathers to a silk tulle, creating a new old-school luxury.
For Nana Brenu and Adele Dejak a pared-down, sophisticated luxury is key to their collection. Brenu constantly looks at conflict in his design: geographically as an African in Europe and aesthetically through a tension between restraint and opulence. For #AmazeAfrica he looked to the hard and soft elements of the beetle’s exoskeleton – interpreting the protective casing through silk gazar and techno-wool, offset with soft silk organza mimicking the fragility of the wings within. Both designers looked to the silk ‘oil in water’ colours of beetles. Dejak used recycled brass and Ankole cow horn to hint at the shape of the beetle as features on her luxurious black leather pouches.
Angolan-label Projecto Mental worked with Kenya’s Rift Valley Leather to create an acidic new-world dandy. Inspired by the hallucinatory colours of the moths and butterfly genus, Projecto Mental also looked at their migratory patterns, creating a slim, modern silhouette. Rift Valley Leather picked up the print motif, transferring it to simple, padded man-bag inspired by the initial stage of the butterfly’s lifecycle – the pupa.
Finally, Marianne Fassler and Quamta looked at the dual nature of the pincushion – the hard and soft structural elements and the emotional evocation of resistance presented by the indigenous African flower. Using the ‘chinabag’ motif as an appliqué and weave, Marianne intimated the permanence of the flower. Pieter Jansen van Rensburg, Quamta designer, picked this up as a motif for Samsung Note 3 covers and pouches, weaving in his own signature exotic leathers.
Just as Samsung connects the continent through technology. the Samsung presents #AmazeAfrica platform is a conversation through outstanding fashion and design boldly presented for the world to see.by