THEBE Magugu made his menswear debut at Italy’s Pitti Uomo showcase, with his latest collection titled “Doublethink”.
Inspired by Western films and George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, Magugu gave the audience a gaze into the gaucho-masculine world of exposing corruption in Africa, turning the Florentine salon, at the Fortezza da Basso, into an interrogation room.
Magugu was chosen as Pitti’s first black guest designer for its 100th show edition. “I like to express my opinions through my clothes and reflect what happens in my own country and continent,” he told WWD.
“Doublethink,” refers to the art of knowing and not knowing, in other words, corrupt officials who are conscious of the truth — while telling carefully constructed lies to audiences.
12 “mannequins” posed as the alleged corrupted figures, being interrogated by 3 Rangers dressed in tartan costume, boots and high hats and raincoat.
The collection featured 15 looks in total, including wool; wide-brimmed cowboy hats made by South African milliner Crystal Birch, and cowboy boots made in Italy.
“It’s very inspired by the western world with the good guys against the bad guys. Compared to ready-to-wear, men’s fashion is really another world in terms of proportions and constructions,” the South African designer explained behind the scenes.
“I realized a silhouette here and there, but more and more men bought my feminine clothes, so I started to think of a line in its own right.”
Most of the looks were inspired by investigative journalist Mandy Wiener’s ‘The Whistleblowers’ book and political illustrator Jonothan Zapiro, whose archival work is used in the prints of cotton shirts and pants. Particularly, a trench coat with two traces of bloody hands dripping on the pockets.
“Thebe Magugu won us over immediately, ever since we began following his career, as a result of the freshness of his multicultural and multidisciplinary creativity,” said Lapo Cianchi, Director of Communication and Special Events for Pitti Immagine.
“Thebe creates a fashion that is continually suspended between art and craftsmanship, education and ancestral practices. We felt that his work was perfect for extending an invitation, in an unconventional way, to a new beginning that is rich in young, energetic awareness.”
The collection also debuted Magugu’s first men’s shoe — a black knee-length equestrian boot, decorated with the “TM” crest.
The collaborative collection also included a special 32-page newspaper made with South African publication The Daily Maverick, highlighting some of the whistleblower moments by 20 journalists on corruption in South Africa.
See the full show below: