Fashion Stalwart, Fearless Fashionista and Undisputed Queen of Glamourous Repurposing …
Welcome to the Technicolour World of Designer and Maker Extraordinaire MARIANNE FASSLER.
All Image Credit and Images Sourced: Marianne Fassler Official Website, Social Media and AFI
A famous art director once remarked, ‘There’s Fashion, and then there’s Fassler’.
Fashion-loving fans all over the world should count themselves lucky to have enjoyed over forty years of Fassler Fashion Fabulousness. On the dusty crossroads where street meets tribal fashion, that’s where you’ll find Fassler. Throw colour into this already heady cocktail – and I mean proper, saturated, unashamed colour – russet reds and electric blues and Russian greens … and pile on the pattern – tartan, houndstooth, plaid, polkadots, twirls and swirls …. and texture – bling, sequin, rhinestones, beads, crochet, gauze, knitting, patchwork … and finally, for the pièce de résistance, add some – actually, copious quantities of – her trademark leopard print … Shake, stir and indulge in Leopard Frock, Marianne’s inimitable brainchild. (Oh, and perhaps you need a celebration of sorts. Ideally somewhere outrageously glamorous, like your own wedding or The Lost City or Paris’ Ritz. Or your back garden.)
Now, while maverick Vivienne Westwood and the punk-drunk, Mohican-coiffed Sex Pistols turned Britain’s relatively well-behaved fashion scene on its head in the Seventies, Marianne Fassler has been equally busy conceiving of an ingenious and novel fashion landscape down in the South Atlantic, her crimson dreadlocks shaking, her heart in tune with the rhythm of an African drum. Where Dame Viv took it upon herself to elevate native cloths – conventional tartan and humble Harris Tweed – to a duo equally fit for a king and Yohji Yamamoto, South Africa’s Marianne Fassler has been concocting a certain ingenious je ne sais quoi from the eclectic inspiration of textile and pattern that are so unmistakably, exclusively and abundantly of the African continent. And the parallel doesn’t end there – as for the degree of green-ness and quest to save our precious planet, both matrons sing heartily from the same song sheet too.
With an aesthetic mind in overdrive and sky-high on creative energy, Fassler finds her mojo in all things unabashedly African – the iconic continent and its vibrant colors, textures, culture and sunny climate, its insatiable energy, it’s diversity, its connectedness with nature, its awe-inspiring people. Her art – because what she creates goes w-a-y beyond the realms of fashion – is a curiously joyous thing, its quirkiness speaking to its wearer and luring us back time after time for yet another covetable Fassler fix. For each frock is the lovingly crafted product of a brilliant design mind, like the perfectness of a Lucia Berlin short story or a Francesca Woodman self-portrait. No wonder Fassler frocks become old friends in our wardrobes, and we love to introduce our new friends to our old friends, don’t we?
Give this undisputed Queen of Recycling and Repurposing and Re-inventing a bag of rags and a pair of dressmaking shears and, like Edward Scissorhands, she’ll magic up a leopard-print version of Rapunzel’s gown for you before you can say knife, with a few inspired snips (er… mmm … with the help of her devoted team) and voila! She’ll embellish your frock with a dollop of gold leaf, a touch of tartan, a feather and a bow and a smear of vermillion for good measure. Ready to hit the red carpet or meet the Queen of England.
Her eye-watering list of accolades and recognition – locally and abroad – stretches across the pages of books. Google me if you’re interested, I bet she’ll say. From Dubai to Barcelona, Paris to New York, Marianne Fassler has been invited to exhibit and show her wondrous collections over the decades. Lucky world. She’s been dressing some of the most influential women across the globe but most tellingly, her loyal customers – generations of them – keep coming back for more.
She’s been graced with many deserving titles – fashion icon, guru, doyenne (which she’s not very sure about) and Africa’s Alice in Wonderland. I think I could stick my neck out and say, in summary, to Marianne Fassler more is most certainly more (yes!) and brown (yawn …) is most certainly not the new black. But when it comes to pulling a shocking-pink rabbit from a leopard-print hat, I can confidently say she’s most certainly your girl.