Photos: Marissa Findlay
Zambesi is a label that I associate with the Henry Ford approach to dressing: you can have any colour you want, as long as it’s black. With that in mind, the spring 2011 men’s collection is the most colourful Zambesi offering to date; filled with – dare I say – vibrant hues like magenta, orange, sky blue and even a technicolour vintage floral print from way back in the house archives. What brought about this uncharacteristic shift? “The bright colours were picked because we liked them,” says designer Dayne Johnston. “I was influenced by utilitarian/army surplus and the fabric selections I made with Elisabeth Findlay… We never really begin with a concept, each collection always begins with fabric.”
The utilitarian nature of the collection is its strength: gone are past seasons’ fussy details, here each piece is a menswear staple – the suit, the short sleeve shirt, the cropped bomber, the fisherman’s knit, the tee shirt.
“The suiting is always the backbone of the men’s collection and I always love mixing suiting with a more casual/sportswear aesthetic,” says Johnston. “I found a men’s three pocket suit blazer while I was holidaying in Berlin at Christmas. It is very traditional, it almost could have been part of a uniform. I brought it back and replicated it, adding a fourth patch pocket – I love the proportion of the patch pockets and its utilitarian feel, we called it Patched Up. Another significant piece is a new suiting trouser which has a very wide leg, it’s double pleated and cuffed, called Oxford.”
My favouritess are the reversible short sleeve shirts in magenta and orange, the cropped airforce bombers in grey and white canvas and the sweaters with their suiting shoulder patches.
Colour for the win!