Gloria Wavamunno has been one of the most intriguing and organic transformations - and fluctuations - to watch. From early days filled with wax print cutout minis and a simplicity that made us somewhat dissatisfied, Gloria seems to have found a steady footing, if somewhat unsure of itself on occasion. Time, perhaps, and significant exposure in the last year, from runways in London (one of her strongest appearances yet) to Africa Fashion Week, New York, where we saw a mixed bag of spunk and simple - sometimes, far too simple. For Spring/Summer 2012, Gloria Wavamunno is finally back in top form, delivering her strongest pieces yet.
Dubbed Mensch/Unmensch (German for human and inhuman, or dignified and undignified), everything from the accessories - half-gloves for the seemingly half-conformist 'good', horns for the 'bad' - to the pieces themselves carried that duality. Sheer tapered harem pants, thigh high slits skirts with maximum movement and torso-baring jackets met a buttoned up jacket with metal embellishments, batik jackets also similarly embellished and combined with faux fur - all more covered up than the dazzling black latex jackets (our particular favourites). Yet, the good/bad distinction was hardly linear - the 'bad' pieces only required a little buttoning up to integrate them with the well-behaved. Is anything, then, strictly always Mensch/Unmensch? Or do we mostly stride the middle ground - reflected in the grey pieces and a sweet brown signature mini - not being wholly dignified or undignified? For designers of African origin, is there pressure to pander to print or is there room for freedom to explore? Whatever the answer is, Gloria bats for both sides confidently.
From staple spring black, to a dose of red, and a taste of Africa by way of the batiks; to a cropped leather jacket and a sheer, cropped grey one; to jacket and dresses gilded in fur and chain, Gloria clearly put a good deal of thought into combining easily disparate elements into one, ultimately leaving the tussle between Mensch and Unmensch an open-ended one. Whichever direction you feel drawn to for spring, this collection comes prepared to enable you - you shouldn't feel compelled to be one or the other. We like this Gloria very much and hope she gives this level of work more consistently.
Photos courtesy of SDR Photos