MBFWCT: #3 Marianne Fassler

4:53 pm

"Different, African, anti-fashion"- Marianne Fassler

Is it bad to call something a beautiful mess? As much as I try to convey this more elegantly, I feel like the most accurate and sincere way to describe this collection, or perhaps even the general Fassler aesthetic is a beautiful mess. It's a chaotic construction consisting of vibrant colour, ever-changing form and regular clashes of texture and medium. Kind of like a giant Jackson Pollock painting, splashed with tons of paint in every shade. It's a beautiful mess. 

The local industry is growing at nice pace ( I obviously wish it would grow much faster, but financial and third-wordly type limitations still exist so I understand) and people like Fassler who have been in the biz for a long while continue to challenge the boundaries set by a largely 'produce and sell' environment that favours the commercial end of fashion over the cultural and artistic significance it holds.  Marianne Fassler's work is the space between high fashion and ready-to-wear as it depicts the image of a woman who would wear this type of clothing on a regular day, but it still doesn't conform to the conventions of everyday wear that demand a sense of practicality. She'll produce a T-shirt- cool, but it'll be a sculpture of a T-shirt, drenched in colour and odd shapes and in a combination of mesh and leather that elevates it to a haute couture status- so you can only really wear it once. The woman who would wear the Fassler is either the fiery-haired Fassler herself or the uber-confident carefree goddess we all aspire to be. Each piece is a visual art installation disguised as a shift dress or pair of pants. In the words of the designer, it's "anti-fashion". 

So after the show my friends and I were eating soup  (probz the best butternut soup ever) and discussing the show, and Tshiamo highlighted the point that this industry sometimes causes us to forget the fact that designers are artists and that the runway serves the purpose of displaying 'sellable' stuff to the buyers as well as the purpose of acting as an exhibition platform for these artists to display to the public the results of their tireless work and subsequently provide a glimpse into the way they think and see the world- a glimpse into their minds per se. It's really important to acknowledge this, to remember that art is a portrayal of self and view on society- whatever the medium. 

But heyyy. let's chat about the clothes.

Three things I want to discuss: the general feel of the collection, my fave piece and Fashion Week as a whole...

"Art is a portrayal of self and view on society- whatever the medium. "

This collection has Joburg written all over it. It's dynamic. It's vibrant. It's urban. It's loud. There are no categories or specific colour schemes holding it together- just a mind set- a certain way of thinking- and that is to represent South Africa (in fact Africa) in the truest way possible. The designer depicts the continent's vibe and how she experiences it through varied use of well, everything. There's animal print, there's leather, there's mesh, there's traditional print, there's geometry, there's lumo pink chucked in there as well- and that's just the fabric. The shapes and silhouettes vary with the same hurricane like force, as look after look portrays a completely different style to that of its predecessor. This is South Africa. We have a lot going on. Clashes of culture are represented through Fassler's combination of traditional print and western shape- an exploration of the modern African woman, struggling to find a sense of equilibrium in terms of her heritage and the abundant wind of Western influence.

That is, in my opinion, the South African industry's biggest challenge- When will we find our aesthetic? the Australian's have recently discovered their slick, minimalist style, while we've all been exposed to the signature sophistication of French design, the sporty 'wholesome' American vibe and the grungy cool London edge for a while now. I love what Fassler does and how she propels the image of South African fashion- but is it enough to just slap on a cool Venda print and call it a day?
I don't know. It just frustrates me that most distinctly African fashion only has print to show for itself. I want a unique silhouette, a completely formed idea of what it is to be a South African woman. Perhaps, this is too much of an ask in a country that is so diverse. But hey, as I said, art is the world through the eyes of the artist. I appreciate and love everything that is being done to tell the South African story and so I appreciate and love our SA designers.

Pictured bellow is my favourite piece. It's combines a sense of easy going "I just threw this on" vibes with the complexity of colour, texture and cultural influence that the designer is so famous for. It has pockets which is always a plus. But most importantly I think it encapsulates the Fassler woman most accurately. She's dynamic and modern- a strong South African woman who appreciates and embraces her culture. She's hella fierce.

We need more fearless designers like Marianne Fassler, as perhaps then we will come closer to realising the true South African aesthetic/silhouette/style of design, in spite of the visually imparing grey fog that is Eurocentrism. 

Fashion Week was really fun. I learned a lot and definitely want to see more shows next time.

P.S what do you think about the SA Fash-industry?

"She's dynamic and modern- a strong South African woman who appreciates and embraces her culture."

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