Sartorial Nostalgia | Thebe Magugu
A sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past.”
Determining a newness in the realm of fashion is the path with which young designers carve the future; it is through the challenging of frameworks that allows the inquiry into creative expression the space and freedom to expand; and by building on tradition, while creating new rituals, new life is birthed into our view of sartorial consciousness. How we choose to dress imbues with it all the aspects of our existence; our personal stories and layers of experience upon which our Self is emitted into the world become more than a statement – it becomes our signature.
Thebe Magugu executes his signature as a designer and way shower with exceptional vision. In keeping with tradition, he employs a sentimentality and depth of meaning with every move within the brand’s expression; from the thoughtfulness of each collection as a tool to evoke deep emotions and cultural preservation, to the marriage between tangible garments and the intellectual pursuit of building not just a brand, but a legacy – such as with his annual zine The Faculty Press. As a designer, Thebe does not shy away from boldness; using colour, print and silhouette to etch a body of work constantly in motion and flux with his own personal development and growth. Through aestheticism and the mastery of his tailoring, we are invited into Thebe’s inner world in a very personal way with each season – as he ponders his nostalgia for his childhood, his family, and establishes himself firmly as a titan of South Africa’s cultural renaissance. I feel an homage and great healing taking place within the spirit of what Thebe’s career means to not just the fashion industry, but the creative world at large; the restorative process of art as a signifier of change becomes ever-more apparent.
Thebe’s second appearance at Paris Fashion Week took place a few moments ago through the unveiling of his highly anticipated SS21 collection. Continuing his interrogation of culture and intellect with a fascinating curiosity and decisive execution, Thebe drew on the perceived glamour and secrecy of espionage; a covert instrument vital to the story of contemporary South African history. After reading “Betrayal: the secret lives of apartheid spies’’ by Jonathan Acer, Thebe conceptualized and created a collection beyond what any Bond franchise could aim to do aesthetically or authentically; exquisitely tailored pieces accessorized with berets, harnesses and thigh boots evoke supreme mystery around the portrayal of one of the world’s most contentious professions. What Thebe brings is an elevated delivery of bespoke garments – through dressing characters from scenes of film without coming off as “costume” in any way, as the looks remain relatable while capturing the notion of being sought after at a highly luxurious level. Invoking the legacy of counter-intelligence as a politically crucial part of apartheid’s demise continued the thread of activism present in Thebe Magugu’s work; as his extraordinary vision continues as a homage to the true legacies of the past.
PHOTOGRAPHER: NADIA VON SCOTTI WWW.NADIAVONSCOTTI.COM
@KLEINPHOTOGRAPHEN & @HEROCREATIVEMANAGEMENT
DESIGNER: THEBE MAGUGU
FASHION DIRECTOR: CHRISNA DE BRUYN WWW.CHRISNADEBRUYN.COM
@DISCOCREATIVES & LAMPOSTSA
TEXT BY HOLLY BEATON
MODELS: YOYO @MYFRIENDNED & NOELLE @BOSSMODELSA
ASSISTANTS: PRINCE & WARREN & MBALI @LAMPOST.PEOPLE
LOCATION: DE BRUYN’S SE KLEIN PARADYS