MASANGO’s return to Joburg Fashion Week, the brand’s first time since 2019, went exactly as one would expect – a testament to founder and creative director Siphosihle Masango’s commitment to excess.
Masango was one of the few designers with a show slot to himself, and he made sure to maximise the opportunity, presenting a collection of rich and exuberant couture pieces, including a striking new print that he used across the whole collection.
Returning to the Joburg Fashion Week runway for the 5th time (second time as his own brand), Masango appears to be making strides towards sustained success in the South African fashion industry.
Showcasing a progressive vision of African couture, this label has built house codes that have established him enough that his work is recognisable even to someone who hasn’t seen his work on the runway. He is developing the kind of footprint that most designers aspire to.
As per usual, MASANGO menswear offering injected ornate detail and liveliness into a discipline often characterised by restraint and longstanding rules. The label’s latest fascination is the generous embellishment of garments with volumes of pearls, giving pieces a fantastical quality.
MASANGO interprets this style into a variety of pieces across menswear and womenswear. Notably, this format first shows up on a stunning knit jumper embellished with pearls at the neckline and sleeves.
The womenswear offering led with dramatically cinched waists, balanced out by grand, imposing sleeves to build architectural silhouettes. From a vivid red gown with an Edwardian drop-waist to a showstopping golden empire ballgown modelled by influencer and media personality Faith Nketsi, this collection elicited gasps from the audience.
Often seen on prominent names in the country’s entertainment industry, MASANGO has a distinctly indulgent approach to colour and silhouette. It is certainly not for the faint of heart, nor the easily over-stimulated.
According to the designer, his label is for the courageous – those who are unafraid to experiment, nor stand out from a crowd. Masango had 30 minutes to reassert his design prowess – including his expert corsetry – and he made the absolute most of it.