14 Mar MBFW JHB Suzaan Heyns A/W Review
What is the inspiration behind your A/W collection? For me every collection really starts with a story and each story is unique so this time I felt like exploring femininity. You never know where inspiration comes from. I went to a 100 year old manor house, I imagined what would a woman look like trailing up these stairs and I kind of imagined her as this ghostly ethereal woman that she’s been dead for 70 years but doesn’t know it. So, she is kind of like a little bit haunty, she’s a bit like the wanton. The house was beautifully decayed so I wanted to explore opulence and decay. I decided that the collection is about this woman and how she dips into decay and what her process is and what she would look like.
You use a lot of headpieces with sculptural qualities. Tell us about that? For me incorporating artistry in what I do is very important, so I used sculptural elements. Some of them are skulls, some of them are bowties and we made something that is not recognisable; it doesn’t represent anything in itself, but being a wearable sculpture. Nothing was perfect, everything was a little chipped and faded, almost like an old faded piano sound, but it still had that opulence and glamour.
Suzaan Heyns is one of my favourite designers because of how her collections always tell a story. Her AW collection at MBFW JHB, told the story of a woman whom she called The Wanton, inspired by the Robert Graves poem “Down Wanton, Down!” The Wanton in Heyns collection starts off pure, with the show opening with a wedding gown (normally the closer in most collections) and the clothing becoming darker and darker eventually ending in beautifully destroyed, yet opulent black gowns and looks. This simple colour palette journey symbolized this woman’s journey as she dips into decay and darkness as the wanton; often described as sexually immodest or promiscuous woman.
Using new techniques, like beading, which Heyns has never done before; even the most beautifully destroyed and dark pieces in the collection have a sparkle of opulence. Folded fabric with beading in the shadows and long flowy trains were weighed down with beading at the edges to add a little bit of glitz opulence to the decay and dark femininity of the collection.
In a nutshell, Suzaan Heyns show was one of my favourite shows at MBFW JHB because there wasn’t a lot of story telling at most of the shows I saw and the commitment to the story of The Wanton is why the collection was so beautiful and engaging. It is my opinion that the best collections, the most creative and interesting collections are the ones where a designer tells a story or paints the image of a character and edits their collection to make sure that their concept / vision / idea / story comes through clearly and succinctly.