Rogue, Autumn/Winter 2016
Who can know what trapped men in such drab clothing for the past decade? In my opinion the stiflingly limited male wardrobe has its origins in the design and manufacture sectors themselves. Although a more incipient problem may lie with the marketing of the ideal male form, both culturally and aesthetically, tailors find great pleasure in achieving the ideal suit fit due to the complex set of skills involved in producing it. With the sheer volume of work under which even marginally skilled tailors must operate in order to keep a business running, it’s no wonder that we stick to what we know works.
But of course it’s true that standing still actually means moving backwards, and sliding steadily backward into the misty recesses of time is certainly any rigid notion of boring men’s fashion.
The now of men’s fashion is very much alive with new ideas about male identity and dress, and in my humble opinion there’s nothing more NOW than Rogue’s A/W’16 collection, which just showcased at SA Fashion week.
I managed to catch Henni de Kock, the creative force behind Rogue, for a brief chat in the post Fashion Week chaos, and found his philosophy as intriguing as his designs.
After studying at LISOF Hennie worked for that visionary of South African fashion Suzaan Heyns, and two years ago decided to go Rogue with his own business. And go Rogue he did indeed!
His latest collection was inspired by the nomadic wanderings of a future survivalist through the collapsed remnants of our broken civilization. The somewhat arbitrary conglomerate of clothes worn by his models reference this survivalists journey through, and collection of, seemingly random remnants of our society.
There’s no question that the looks walking down the runway had a survivalist element to them, with swaths of cloth draping the body without (to the untrained eye) the need for hours of tailoring. His models were also (and this is the part I loved the most) decidedly masculine. Having survived apocalyptic events and managing to scrape together a living in a dystopian future, the models brought back some long forgotten realities of our hunter-gather origins.
Being somewhat of a fatalist myself, I questioned Henni on his dytopian fashion forecast, and was (I confess) slightly disappointment not to have been immersed in a bleak discussion on the ultimate collapse of society and return to our primitive ways of life. Instead of indulging me in my favorite topic of conversation Henni rather explained that his dystopian aesthetic was a metonym for the progressive breakdown of gender and sexual norms with which we are currently constantly confronted.
And indeed his own collection not only comments on, but also contributes to this narrative. With soft drapes, asymmetrical details and novel garments, Henni’s A/W’16 collection certainly pushed a few boundaries right off the runway. He focussed his creative tallent exceptionally well to produce a collection that is well made, wisely tailored and of excellent quality, which caters to the fashion forward mature man. Let’s take a quick look at what I loved most
Hennie’s draping abilities displayed here are second to none that I’ve seen thus far. While flowing, comfortable and breathable, they’re still obviously masculine and tailored with some exceptional skill. This is possibly my most coveted item of the entire year!
Though not entirely blowing me out of the water, I think this jacket is a definite winner. It perfectly skirts the line between classic tailoring and ultra modern structure, with sufficient asymmetry to make it novel, yet enough balance to keep it classically formal.
I don’t know if I could wear this myself, but the beauty of this thing is beyond spectacular. With the curved zip detail referenced in smaller accents throughout the piece, no-one would doubt the effort of thought that went into preparing and executing this garment.
To wrap up I’ll definitely be watching Henni closely from here on, I’m intrigued to see what he does next with men’s wear, and will be rooting for his business to help men escape the confines of their closets to experience entirely novel ways of being.
If you want to see these clothes in motion (which is a entirely different experience) you can watch it on You Tube
What do you think of Henni’s collection? Should he take less drugs or more? Love it or hate it, I’d put money on his point of view becoming more prominent in men’s fashion in the upcoming seasons.
Images from safashionweek.co.za, and Henni himself
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