Vanessa Gounden’s Spring/Summer 2019 Collection is an artistic dedication to the rise of modern African society. This season’s prints aim to celebrate African culture, which was previously repressed and dehumanised during the colonial occupation of the African continent and its people. Vanessa’s inspiration for this collection is derived from her own heritage and ancestry. The collection evolved into a detailed exploration into Africa’s past, present and future and culminated in African societies’ embrace of modern industrialisation, emancipation from colonial thought and the right of self-determination.
The anthology of prints begins with highlighting Africa’s troubled past, with its references to barbed wire and handcuffs. These two symbols are a reflection of the continent's pained history through colonization, which aimed to destroy and modify the culture of the colonized. The work of prominent African leaders such as Amilcar Cabral
, have influenced this season’s first print. Cabralargues that culture is not for aesthetic purpose but rather the foundation of liberation. It is a way to resist domination and most importantly an expression of history. Inspired by this statement, Vanessa Gounden ensures an expression of culture through fashion.
The second print for the season is a tribute to the nameless African women who rarely make the history books but by whose sacrifices the modern Africa was built upon. This print comes to life with an artistic representation of the modern African women, which is complimented with cool emerald and azure watercolour overlays.
This season's story weaves through the historical tapestry of the past and into the exciting and modern threads of present day Africa. This is reflected in the Continent print, which is a dedication to the culture of the past and the expression of hope for the future of Africa.
Beyond the economic and societal progress of modern Africa, Africa’s true humanity is seen through its protection of wildlife and conservation. Vanessa has expressed this through the creation of the Giraffe print. It is a celebration of this humanity and African societies’ respect for both culture and nature. It also brings lightness to the collection through its vibrancy and playfulness.
The narrative of the collection is interpreted and iconized through the use of cufflinks (normally used in professional business attire). The cufflink, in this context, and as depicted in the last two prints, is used as symbol of African societies’ right to self-determination and its progress in the ever-competitive global market.
Each print in this Collection is (mixing of watercolour) on delicate silk chiffons, silk satins and juniper linen. Vanessa collaborated with local South African artist, Larissa Don, to highlight this technique. True to form, this season does not shy away from colour. Africa is a vibrant and diverse continent, which can only be represented in bold hues.complimented by the use of the suminagashi
This body of work has been brought to life by using silhouettes, inspired by traditional west, east, north and central African clothing, all interpreted with a modern twist. This season's silhouettes deliver chic comfort with structured tailoring.