On Wednesday the 16th of September 2020, global luxury brand MaXhosa AFRICA, created by Laduma Ngxokolo, presented their Spring/Summer 2021 Collection called “INGUMANGALISO IMISEBENZI KA THIXO” or “God’s Work is Miraculous”, during New York Fashion Week.
Laduma 2021 collection is one of Africa’s finest, and most intriguing designers he didn’t disappoint on the virtual stage! He presented what we would call his best work, thus far. MaXhosa’s aim is to become Africa’s leading luxury lifestyle brand presented a collection of eclectic prints and patterns that utilise African traditions to swift through its pieces. The collection is titled after a song composed and titled by Laduma’s late paternal grandfather, Mike Ngxokolo, who was a renowned jazz artist, choral music composer, visual artist, actor, and radio presenter.
MaXhosa Africa is a South African knitwear brand founded in 2012. This was with the desire to explore knitwear design solutions that would be suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). His initial vision was to create a modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection that would be suitable for this market. As a person who has undergone the process, Laduma felt that he had to develop premium knitwear that celebrates traditional Xhosa aesthetics.
Laduma encourages people to be at their happiest during this time. “During the lockdown, in the midst of sadness, I thought it was very important to give people hope with my craft. I wanted to showcase happiness so that people would feel very excited about next summer,” says Laduma.
Expressing that happiness is the luxury and hopeful that this collection will encourage everyone to be mindful of our blessings despite the odds that we have faced in 2020. “God’s work is so wonderful that we don’t even acknowledge how powerful it is,” he says.
When Laduma Ngxokolo’s mother Lindelwa taught him to knit, she sparked a love of fashion that inspired him to become a designer. Today her son’s collections are showcased on the catwalks of Europe’s fashion capitals.
MORE ABOUT LADUMA NGXOKOLO
How it all started
As a person who has undergone the ritual, he felt that he needed to develop a premium knitwear range that celebrates traditional Xhosa beadwork aesthetics, using South African mohair and wool. Since then, Laduma has received numerous achievements and captures the hearts of many fashion lovers and media from South Africa, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Oslo, Berlin, and New York.
When he was in Grade 8, Lindelwa sat Ngxokolo down and taught him how to use the family knitting machine. Knitting became his hobby and changed his life. He went on to study textile design and technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth.
“I was influenced greatly by my mother as I grew up doing craftwork and beadwork with her,” he told digital publishing company Between 10 and 5 in an interview. “I believe that that was the beginning of my design experience.”
His 2010 thesis project revolved around innovation. Inspired by traditional Xhosa patterns he designed a range for initiates to wear. This project was the first stitch in his knitwear company – MaXhosa by Laduma – and also his winning submission to an international design competition sponsored by the Society of Dyers and Colourists.
“This gave me the opportunity to speak about my project at Design Indaba 2011, which led to a lot of positive press coverage. It ultimately helped me establish my knitting brand in February 2011.”
His own Xhosa initiation, in 2011, confirmed to Laduma that there is a market for his brand. “I felt that the outfits for the initiation ritual were too westernised. Xhosa initiation is a traditional ritual and even though we are all living in a modern time, I felt that there should still be an element that resembles the Xhosa culture.”
Laduma’s creations are inspired by his Xhosa background and the local mohair industry. Visits to the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum helped him discover the richness and creativity of Xhosa cultural beadwork. Incorporating those designs into his own work has helped him celebrate and preserve his own cultural identity.
“I also decided to use mohair from my hometown and discovered that Port Elizabeth has the biggest mohair industry in the world, and has the biggest wool industry in Africa. So, I decided to take advantage of the local material, which is usually exported.”
Laduma was fortunate in his choice of university. He arrived in the year the institution set up an Art and Design Incubator. NMMU provided him with seed capital to start MaXhosa, but his ongoing success is also a result of his talent and hard work.
His sister Tina, also a designer, has become one of Laduma’s collaborators at MaXhosa. According to the MaXhosa blog, he has also worked with several Norwegian entrepreneurs, and given the chance to showcase their joint creations in Norway.
In 2014 he won a WeTransfer-sponsored two-year scholarship to study for a Masters in Material Futures at London’s prestigious Central St Martins of the University of the Arts.
That same year he received a standing ovation for his Buyel’mbo women’s range at Johannesburg Fashion Week. He described this local appreciation as overwhelming, even more than being identified as 2015’s Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa prize winner.
According to the international news broadcasting agency BBC, most of his sales are from Merchants on Long in Cape Town.
Carolina Herrera’s Fall 2020 collection debuted at the newly opened “The Shed” in Hudson Yards, a glass-walled bit of modernity in the middle of the city. Creative Director Wes Gordon’s designs, however, contrasted nicely with so much glass and steel—these were soft, pretty things for ladies who aren’t in too big of a hurry to get anywhere. From sheer lace whites to bold, voluminous gowns in blues and all shades of yellow, from golden to lemon. A black column gown was a bit more austere, but nonetheless lovely. Flat lace-up brogues accompanied many of the looks for another bit of contrast. It’s an assured collection that’s a lesson in balances. –Kerry Pieri
Simkhai was inspired by the photographer Julius Shulman for his Fall offering—Shulman shoots architecture on the West Coast. It’s a bit of a love story to LA, Simkhai’s home base after so many years in NYC. This translated to tailored pieces, like trench coats, jumpsuits, and suiting. These pieces gave way to softer fare, silk dresses in scarf prints with fringe inspired by Simkhai’s family heritage in Iran before the 1979 revolution. There is also a collection of knits, from dresses to sweater sets. All quite personal and very wearable. -Kerry Pieri
Zimmermann’s show notes announced the brand’s dedication to helping Australia recover from recent wildfires. The brand is inherently Aussie, showcasing that laidback seaside vibe so many Sydney natives share. The Fall offering was a bit less boho beach girl and a bit more tailored, with bold, printed suiting. There were ruffles upon ruffles and a poncho for those chilly Indian summer nights. -Kerry Pieri
Kristopher Brock and Laura Vassar’s favorite theme, dark romance, got a redux this season with an ample dose of tailoring. The label, known for its feminine dresses, corset tops, and floral prints brought their brand codes in full force, but punctuated the collection with fluid suiting and tailored outerwear for the street-style equestrienne. In Little Women terms, think Jo’s renegade irreverence paired with Amy’s fashion-forward polish. With a gothic-meets-countryside vibe that fit for Fall, it’s easy to imagine Fall 2020’s Brock Collection girl riding astride at rapid speed in her Victoriana-inspired gown through the hills of…Central Park or Malibu, to meet the girls for cocktails. —Carrie Goldberg
There’s nothing like a cup of coffee and a visit to a gallery on a lazy Sunday morning in New York. And while a New York Fashion Week Sunday morning is anything but lazy, Tory Burch welcomed attendees to her show at Sotheby’s with a cup of piping hot San Ambroeus brew and an art-meets-fashion show. Sculptures by artist Francesca DiMattio, 11 of them to be exact, scattered the runway, serving as the backdrop to Burch’s latest array. The designer describes DiMattio’s work as pieces that “imbue the decorative with strength and power.” Expectedly, Burch’s collection did the same, softening the power of suiting with more fluid cuts, and smattering wear-to-work dresses with DiMattio’s ladylike prints. —Carrie Goldberg
Brandon Maxwell is going full-on Americana. The designer and a celeb in his own right chose a quintessential New York locale as the backdrop for his show, the American Museum of Natural History. There were Cheer stars front row and a super moon outside, but no spectacle was needed—because the clothes were executed that well. The fabrications were rich, the cuts classic and unfussy, and the message clear: Maxwell is here to compete for top pecking order with New York’s big designers and not looking back. -Kerry Pieri
Christopher John Rogers
There hasn’t been a new, true evening designer of note out of New York in recent memory, and Christopher John Rogers is staking his place in the realm of taffeta and full skirts. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner is here for the drama, turning out a collection of boldly hued suits, glimmering column dresses, and truly voluminous gowns for ladies who want to make a statement on the black tie circuit. From his head-turning collection, to his own pirouette on the runway, we want to watch pretty much everything this designer has to offer. -Kerry Pieri
The top fashion hashtags on Insta have the word “boho” in them. And Ulla Johnson is here to redefine what that means for today’s woman. Sure, sometimes she’s in a full leather suit, but she also loves a dreamy patchwork dress, a maxi gown with a nipped waist, ethereal lace skirts—and sometimes, a good jumpsuit. The designer is growing exponentially each season, debuting a line of opticals on today’s runway, and expanding an already-successful jewelry line made with a woman’s collective in Kenya. That kind of conscious design mixed with the look so many women are after—pretty, modern, and yes, a little boho—is a recipe for longevity in a business that seems harder to crack each year. –Kerry Pieri
The Fall 2020 season in didn’t actually kick off at NYFW. Instead, Tom Ford stayed close to home to showcase his latest in Los Angeles—complete with a star studded front row that included Jon Hamm in a silver suit. But onto the runway, where full glamour was on display for Oscars weekend, with a little grit by way of patchwork jeans, sweatsuits, and logo tees thrown in for the Chateaux Marmont crowd. But what really brought down the house was Bella Hadid in a sheer sequin dress that looked to be tied onto her body with velvet—and just as easily removed. If there’s ever been a designer who understands the power of suggestion, it’s Mr. Ford. -Kerry Pieri
Camilla and Marc
Camilla Freeman-Topper has a way with tailoring, and a pulse on creating clothing that’s definitely for adults, but very cool adults. The brand is also increasing its space in the accessories market with some enviable slide sandals, tall boots, and little bags. Fall 2020 saw the Aussie designer have a bit of a love affair with Palm Springs, resulting in some desert hues and airy separates. The heyday of the Cali getaway, the 60s, and 70s, were also apparent in some flowing cut-out gowns and groovy minis. -Kerry Pieri
New York Fashion Week is officially in full swing and yesterday,
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards debuted her new Spring
2020 collection for Kyle + Shahida, the clothing line she codesigns with
Shahida Clayton, during New York Fashion Week.
Among the offerings were graphic scarf-style dresses, some
printed in nautical motifs and accessorized with beachy sun hats. But the real
highlight of the show was the unexpected choice of casting to show off the new line-up
of pieces: Kyle enlisted some of her reality TV co-stars to walk the runway,
adding a perfect dash of camp factor.
Erika Jayne was in a printed tunic with red trousers; Dorit Kemsley in high-waist leather pants, a crop top, and blazer; Lisa Rinna and Teddi Mellencamp both wearing lacy bathing suits with a floral kimono; and Denise Richards, a brand-new castmate, in jeans, a lace top, and floral kimono as well.
The circus is a
magical place. The imagination of many artists has been stimulated by the
fascination for a world that is both wondrous and raw, poetic and
female artistic director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, says this fantastical creative
chaos provided the starting point for the spring-summer 2019 haute couture
The show, recently held in Paris, was animated with performances by the all-female circus company Mimbre. The visual unfurling of the pieces that compose it represents an unleashing of the memory and the imagination associated with the circus through costumes, fashion and art, extending and the evocation of on clowns.
This collection consists of a superposition of images: a woman’s tattooed skin, reminiscent of the Victorian circus and its fairground phenomena, becomes a motif-drenched unitard that shapes the body and tells a wearable story under dresses. In this collection, Maria employs this broad variety of images to compose her own “parade”, comprising full and very light pants, narrowing at the ankle, which can also become sumptuous jumpsuits. Shorts are paired with sheer white shirts accented with ruffs or ribbons seemingly frayed with the passage of time. There are also leather corsets, sailor stripes, and black jackets inspired by that of the lion tamer. The geometric white clown outfit, whether spare or sumptuous, is reinterpreted through its materials, embroidery and proportions.