I live in Johannesburg, and for the past few months the African girls out here have been digging the wax print vibes. There are many reasons why they suddenly chose to adopt the Traditional prints and textures, perhaps Solange Knowles played a little role in their decision, but perhaps not. It almost happened overnight, where girls (apart from the usual, natural-haired/dreadlocked ladies), started wearing turbans made out of wax prints on their heads and ethnic prints on their pants. Personally, I’ve been exposed to this as a little child. Wearing what we call ‘boubous’ and 'pagnes’ are the norm in my country of origin, Democratic Republic of Congo’.
This trend is not only present here in Jhb, however, the runways of the entire world have adopted it, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Burberry, Prada, Gunya Wantanabe and even Marc Jacobs, all had their turns at interpreting a fabric that is so common, and has been for many for years to women all around Africa. If Solange Knowles checked out my mothers wardrobe, I think she’d just collapse and die, it is an eclectic melange of not only wax prints, but of Vlisco. For those of you who actually know anything about wax prints, would know that but the creme de la creme of wax prints in the entire world is none other than the Original Dutch Wax print by Vlisco (not to boast or anything but my aunt happens to be the CEO of Vlisco in the DRC , her wardrobe is also something else, ie custom-made dresses by Africa’s best designers).
Here are some photos of their latest collection: The Silent Empire, check out more of their collection on vlisco.com
Leonidas King of Sparta. 1855. Eduard Isaac Asser. Dutch 1809-1894.
salt print on photo paper on cardboard,
detail from the painting Léonidas aux Thermopyles by Jacques-Louis David. http://hadrian6.tumblr.com
Minerva (2011). Erwin Olaf (Dutch, b.1959). Chromogenic print, from the series: The Siege and Relief of Leiden (2011), commissioned by Museum De Lakenhal and Leiden University.
For this image, Olaf took the seal and logo of Leiden University as a starting point. However, he made the goddess more lively, by having the young model challenging viewers by looking straight in their eyes.