BOCHIC TRIBAL ROYALTY
Stiaan Louw narrated a character-driven tale of a bohemian chic Masai royalty during Joburg Fashion Week 2011 at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, where he showcased his Autumn/Winter Collection. And even though the Masai influence struck me the most, one could discern Samurai, Roman, Greek and Arab influences. Ultimately, for me, this collection invoked visions of princes deployed to commandeer war campaigns. Other ensembles spoke of attendance at royal banquets, and parades through the city squares.
The barefoot male models, whose forearms and feet were often embalmed with clay, were the characters of the royal Masai tale, robed in flowing kaftans and belted, draped in oversized vests and mantles that conferred stately bearing. In keeping with the narrative of the exotic tale, Stiaan Louw’s choice of pants were harem-style, flowing, airy and comfortable.
In this collection Louw explored the properties of clay through earthy tones of Sahara Desert sand and limestone overlaid with rich terracotta, indigo and rusty ruby – as if to remind Man that he is of the earth – and accessorised his princes with sandals and sling bags by Missibaba.
After seeing Stiaan Louw’s collection, I’m convinced that, if his pieces are anything to judge by, men will find Autumn/Winter 2011 to be stylish, comfortable and equally trendsetting. The quiet designer has exalted himself to the highest form of art by making it wearable, a tale woven of emotive threads and colors.
Viva, Stiaan Louw, viva!
Visit Stiaan Louw for more information on the designer and his collections.
Photography by Simon Denier/SDR photo
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