Durban - The lights go off. The chatter from the crowd is quickly silenced and the intro music Kanye West's 'Gone' announce the start of the show. Seated in the front row, I felt my heart pound with excitement because I knew we were going to left in awe of this designer's latest offerings. And I was not wrong. Not even one little bit.
The euphoria from this year’s Durban Fashion Fair may have settled but for designer, Jacqui Emmanuel, she is still very much on a high after her amazing showing.
This year, Emmanuel who is known for her breathtaking wedding and evening gowns created a Pret ‘n Porter (ready to wear) line that was gender fluid with a sustainable lean manufacturing process.
Emmanuel said the Pret ‘n Porter logo signalled that this collection was especially meaningful for her.
“Its simple hand written signature was the main focus , thus saying the true intention of being honest and free. Whatever ostensible difference in technicality and style between the bespoke line and the Pret ‘n Porter line, the two lines are astoundingly alike in the finesse and the quality,” she said.
Emmanuel said the new line speaks directly about who she is.
“It’s my elusiveness to all but my inner circle. My signature style being moulding and sculpting, hand appliqué and voluminous silhouette will not be forgotten in this new line,” she said.
The collection surrounds itself with the oversized volumes and detailing for women exposing only the shoulders giving the line a bit of femininity amongst the masculine androgynous gender fluid looks, Emmanuel whose previous collections have always derived inspiration from insects , shows it again with the modern take on Japanese influence and dragonflies.
“The inspiration is based on Siamese twins and looking at a different personality that isn’t determined by gender or race so it’s a sort of freedom that’s attached to you that a lot of us fail to see. The masks attached to the heads with the long plaits speaks of the faces we put on in front of people and then behind that mask is a reality of the contorted ways we look at the world. It may be grotesque to some but there’s a truth behind it that not many are willing to face,” she said.
This new collection comprises of a monotone palette with bursts of chartreuse and mustard.
The colours and prints is what elucidates on Emmanuel’s mind being constantly at war with the simplicity of crisp white and deep black then the uniformity of geometric print and chevron . Fabrications include organic cotton, linen, twill, scuba, Melton and faux fur that is all manufactured into garments with a lean manufacturing process that enables sustainable practices.