The Cape Town designer reveals his SS17 campaign, shot in the wilds of the Western Cape, and discusses his personal approach to menswear
One of Nataal’s very first fashion stories was on Nicholas Coutts (read it here) so it’s apt that a year on, the South African designer exclusively launches his SS17 lookbook with us. And gosh what difference a year makes. Then he had three womenswear collections, an award and lots of scrumptious one-off knitwear pieces to his name. He went on to collaborate with Lukhanyo Mdingi on menswear, showing at Pitti L’Uomo and South African Menswear Week in the process, and now he steps out solo with this epic SS17 campaign shot on the Western Cape at De Kelders by photographer Luca Vincenzo and stylist Gabrielle Kannemeyer.
“De Kelders means the cellars in Afrikaans and the caves along the coastline with their extraordinary rock formations, as well as the history of the Khoikhoi people who inhabited them, inspired us to create a surreal mood,” Coutts explains.
"The Khoikhoi were the first natives to come into contact with the Dutch settlers in the mid 17th century, who took over the land for farms. The Khoikhoi were dispossessed, exterminated or enslaved and their numbers dwindled," adds Kannemeyer, whose work is always informed by South Africa's people and history. "Now the area is dotted with holiday homes and eerie convenience stores. This shoot takes you on a journey through this expansive landscape, allowing you to imagine the icy wind and discomfort of a place that refused to welcome us with tame blue skies."
Drawing as much on this immense nature as on the urban subcultures of contemporary Cape Town, the collection is dominated by flowing trench coats, cropped jackets, boiler suits and combat trousers finished with multiple pockets, patches and D-ring detailing. Textured textiles including jacquard denim, cotton twill and mohair, plus a palette of earth red, army green, city grey and ocean blue give the season a distinct street couture appeal. Less survival of the fittest, more of the most exquisitely layered. “The collection amalgamates the exploration of empowerment, enrichment and comfort with natural elements to create a mood which represents the new aesthetic of Africa,” says Coutts.