The idea of evolution, and the human-form as we know it, becoming ‘the other’ is a concept which has long fascinated me.
CHARLES explores the evolution of the human body from the earliest known vertebrates over 530 million years ago, to the predicted speciation of the human race into a new, evolved form.
The collection, which pays homage to Charles Darwin and his observations, was motivated by the idea of offering a form; though recognizably human, uncovers a liminal being that shakes our certainty of the human race as a static, monarchical species.
The nature of avant-garde design often allows one the liberty of creating work that is free of current fashion trends or the restraints of practical wearability.
However, I wanted to find a balance between: familiarity, eighties-type power silhouettes and sharp tailoring with exaggerations that questioned the familiar human form – augmenting the shape of the spine, shoulders, clavicles and hips and using fine fabric which melted, like a ghostly membrane, over the skin.
All creations are dictated by the limits of the materials from which we create, the availability of fabrics and the extent at which they can be manipulated to suit your design intent. CHARLES begged for a vast array of textile manipulation in its attempt to explore aspects of the human form- some were textbook pins and tucks, others required layers of rigid structure and a substantial amount of planning and practice.
The runway presentation is a fantastic opportunity for the public to witness the movement of the garments dramatically sweeping past on models as long and as lean as can be imagined.
However, these skeletal forms were brought to life in a final conceptual photostory- made possible by a team of highly talented creative individuals- where models contorted themselves into angular poses in against the stark surrounds, and became the fossil-like creatures from which they were inspired.
Photography: Kyle Springate
Art Direction & Styling: Jeandre Venter
MUA, Hair & Grooming: Suaad Jeppie
Talent: Minette De Swart & Gandhi Mukiza