SA Menswear Week SS19 – Chulaap by Chu Suwannapha

July 10, 2018

I want each of you to leave a comment below on an alternate introduction I could use for Chulaap at SS Menswear Week SS19 – or subsequent seasons for that matter. The reason I’m asking is that I’m constantly repeating myself. Designer Chu Suwannapha always brings a show to an absolute standstill – before it explodes into a rapture of absolute awe. I always sit there wondering how could such a quiet, charming, humble man pack so much punch. I couldn’t tell you, so do what I do. Enjoy!

Ahh, but here’s the rub. It’s #TruthSerum time.

While exiting Chu’s show, I had a chat with a well-known designer whom I absolutely adore and spend hours talking fashion with. One who obviously has a more superbly trained sartorial eye than I. The conversation went something like this.

Designer: What did you think?
Me: I loved the white shirt, the shorts – I need to lose weight to get into them – and I need the jacket shown with it. *whips out my phone to show him* How could you not?
Designer: I’m not saying there weren’t amazing pieces but the story felt incomplete
Me: *silence. Feels Mitchum anti-perspirant not living up to tv ad promise*
Designer: Clouds, you’re biased. You love Chu so you love his stuff. How can I trust you to give my work and my shows an honest review?
*Heads straight for Jameson VIP lounge silently thanking event owner Simon Deiner for gold wristband*

This conversation hit me hard and got me thinking all weekend. Is that what I do? Do I favour the ones I love?

So, here’s me making the most honest confession I ever have. What I know about fashion design can be written on a post-it note with enough space left over for a full laundry list. Now that you know this, read every post I’ve ever written and you’ll see its blatant. I talk about cut, fit, tailoring, colour, body shape, styling, fun and what makes me happy.

At no point have I ever described a designer’s collection as ‘a narrative which engages a sub-culture to challenge the negative influences of globalisation’ or ‘ an ode to anti-disestablishmentarianism’. WTF does that even mean? Oh, here’s my latest favourite. Virgil Abloh’s debut LV collection apparently emitted ‘cornball emotion‘. Now I have felt many things in my life, from crippling heartache to orgasmic ecstasy, but at no time between those diverse experiences has a ‘cornball ‘ ever come into play. Not even a kernel.

As a buyer, I look at a show and ask myself a few simple questions; Who is the target market? Are they going to buy it? Can they afford it? And most importantly, where would they wear that to?

From a personal perspective, I look at a menswear collection and ask myself only one question; If my first Tinder date at Societi Bistro arrived wearing that, would I flick my hair and push my boobs out or run like the devil’s chasing me? And that, dear people, is what I look for in clothes. As Duncan always tells me, fashion isn’t complicated.

Dear Chu, yes, I do love you dearly.  But equally so, I understood your collection and love it enough to shop it for myself. So, about that white shirt, and shorts, and jacket…;)

Happy shopping, stylish ones.
love & light

PS: Please don’t be offended by the designer who questioned me. I appreciate being constructively challenged as its the only way I’ll grow. In fact, I love ’em even more. As for Chu’s collection… word on the street has he suffered a production setback which forced him to make major adjustments to the show. More power to him.

Photo credit: Kim van Zyl @ Photographix and Larry English Photography. View the full collection on SDR Photo.
Chulaap: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Shop at Spree and Merchants on Long.
SA Menswear Week: Website| Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Follow the hashtag #SAMW

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