MASANGO by Siphosihle showed a dedication to craftsmanship, expanse of vision and broad scope of knowledge and confidence in both couture and ready to wear with their latest collection “Iphondo Elibomvu” which showed at Day 2 of AFI Fashion week as they closed the day, and the show to rousing applause and a standing ovation on Friday November 10th 2023.
The collection leaned very heavily into the exploration of our primary sartorial influences and using a myriad of tools, skills and showmanship to showcase the beauty and glamour of the South African perspective to fashion and bodily adornment. All this was executed with a fresh new take that is familiar while still being refreshing and forward facing. They managed to blend tradition, culture and classic staples, with couture, hand heading and embellishments that elevate all the designs and tailoring to a level of grandeur that has become synonymous with Masango as a brand.
The collection is a love letter to South African woman’s relationship with pageantry and maximalist glamour while celebrating and delivering a very succinct idea of what Sihle, head designer and creative director envisions to be the MASANGO man. This awe inspiring delivery begins with milky white looks that hold this relationship of primary sartorial influence with tender yet intricate visions of an early life that is untainted by the hardships of self awareness detailed in embellished shirts, pearled jerseys a particularly gorgeous white dress that melts into a crescendo of pearl tassle fringe from chest to ankle, then steadily paces through to a collection of blood red garments and pieces that speak to the vivid experience of living and the raw audacity to continue to live life fully and unapologetically with sharp tailoring and flaw free execution. The reds are then followed by the severity and hardening that comes with perseverance, explored through silver confections bursting onto the runway, and using sharp cool silver fabrics with lush design and a juxtaposition of precision and softness.
The second half of the show then dives into a vibrant tapestry of colour and excess that are handled with grandiose presentation and masterful restraint that leans into African maximalism but tightly corseted and held down by an even hand and a measured vision. “My inspiration for this collection was the idea of giving birth to something completely new that is also steeped in my own personally history and the histories of the women that have put their hands and hearts into building generations from the womb up. Hopefully that Vision is felt by all when they experience the devotion and dedication that had gone into this collection and can anticipate a lot more going forward from us”.
MASANGO SS23 goes full on broad strokes and gentle touches with bold fabrication, unfettered ambitious concepts that showcase the breadth of experience Sihle brings to the table when compiling a masterclass in blending couture and ready to wear. “Iphondo Elibomvu” is a neatly delivered experience that works at holding The Masango tradition of grand design and precision tailoring and makes it clear that after 8 years in existence, MASANGO is here to stay and continue to give us a fresh lens with which to look at the tried and true.
Faith Nketsi closed the show in what can only be called a show stopping moment in a gold sensationally decadent gown that spared no cost neither in fabrication or adornment, the longest running standing ovation of the night was a very welcomed reward for a collection that that is a labour of love dedicated to the men and women that inspire us to see ourselves in every incarnation we can imagine and continue to live gloriously in the traditions of African styling in the modern age.