“A good night out… we want the audience to be entertained by our clothes.” That’s what Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen set out to offer with the SS16 Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town (MBFWCT) this year. By all accounts, they did just that on Thursday evening (30 July).
The show, the last of the evening, took place at The Watershed at V&A Waterfront and surprised guests with the new direction the duo has taken for spring/summer. Says Paulsen: “We went for a light, minimal look with a fresh sporty theme, working in particular with the grid-like ’70s graphics and motifs of a tennis court. We further used ballet-like embellishments inspired by Lucinda Childs, the celebrated American postmodern dancer/choreographer, to give it a feminine fluidity. We both admire Childs’ physicality, perseverance and androgyny.”
All the pieces are undeniably unisex and androgynous. “We have used women’s items on men and men’s items on women. The fits are spacious and forgiving. However, we have introduced fitted women’s trousers and shirts, and paired them with boxy and loose garments, something that was important to us to retain an effortless, easy-wearing look,” says Paulsen. “It may sound like a real mix of ideas but we have been working on it since last summer. We approached this collection like a collage and reworked and reused old prints, fabrics and patterns to create something new.”
The lines and silhouettes are vintage Adriaan Kuiters and the collection has a functional, urban, wearable character. Cuts are structured and classic yet easy to wear and sporty. The fabrics used for the show – scuba knit, linen, crêpe, leather, poplin, silk and knits – were selected first and foremost for their ability to move with the wearer.
The colour palette was typical Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen too and nudes, whites, greys, black and primary colours dominated. Paulsen’s prints relied on repetition and were largely inspired by Philip Glass’s score for Childs’ choreography. “We wanted them to look like textures and used motifs that appeared on Bauhaus and Constructivist textiles, the Maria Keil tiles we saw in the Lisbon underground, and in the works of David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein and Sol LeWitt. There are elements in all these artists’ works that echo the conceptual approach of the collection, which I love.”
Appliquéd fabrics and semi-precious stones lent a three-dimensional, visceral feel to the looks that were accessorised with jewellery by Steffany Roup. Each of the brass bangles, wooden bangles, hairclips, brooches and pendants were designed collaboratively. “We met weekly to discuss and develop the pieces that were largely inspired by the shapes in the prints. We literally held the jewellery in front of the clothes to see how they would work together before collaging the shapes into the final looks. This allowed us to create looks that are more cohesive and complete than would have been otherwise possible,” explains Henning’s.
The sport theme was further underlined by Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen’s partnership with adidas and the models all wore all-leather Stan Smith and classic Superstar styles on the runway. Previous partnerships between the two brands include co-working on the re-launch of adidas’ Originals Stan Smith and Paulsen’s shoot of a new adidas born original fragrance to be released later this year. Says Paulsen, “Keith and I love the adidas brand because we both grew up wearing adidas and it holds a sense of nostalgia for us. We also love pairing dressy items with sneakers; it definitely gives ‘eveningwear’ a grounded, casual appeal.”
The show was produced by Deon Redman with music by James Webb. In another nod to Childs, Henning, Paulsen and Webb blended hip hop in the form of Pharoahe Monch’s Simon Says with Glass’s pared-down score for Childs’ landmark 1979 dance piece, Dance I.
Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen’s SS16 designs will be available in the store in Kloof Street, Cape Town and online at adriaankuiters.com in September 2015.
Twitter: @AdriaanKuiters + @jodypaulsen87
Instagram: @adriaan_kuiters + @jody_paulsen
Store: 73 Kloof Street, Cape Town (021 424 55 02)
Photographer: SDR Photo, Niquita Bento