Filmed and edited by Malibongwe Tyilo.
In April 2019, Lezanne Viviers launched her stand-alone concept brand, Viviers – a designer collection of limited edition pieces and made-to-order garments. Influenced by her surroundings as well as textiles, Viviers’ first collection is the fusion of collaboration and introspection; each piece is handmade and takes anything from a few hours to a few days to create, sometimes weaving fibres to get new fabrics.
The result? A bold and structured collection inspired by colour, flora, texture and art.
Viviers’ career in the world of fashion and design started long before the launch of her brand. After studying fashion in Stellenbosch, she moved to Johannesburg where she was offered an internship with veteran designer Marianne Fassler, with whom she worked for eight years, first as an assistant, then all the way to creative director.
Despite a fashion-focused career, Viviers’ interest in art started long before her first internship.
“I did arts throughout high school and graduated doing sculpture; that was my main focus at the end of matric. I then moved onto fashion. So, the arts and how art and fashion in the design world come together, that’s always been part of my interest.”
The merging of art and fashion is evident in her work: although the silhouettes are structured, layers, graphic patterns and unexpected fabrics make for contrasted garments. Here the use of silk clashes with shiny see-through polyester or hand-woven material created in collaboration with Madeleine Anderson.
“I’ve always made my own textiles and prints, so you get your base cloths like silks, and then I like to photograph details such as flowers and use them in interesting ways to create my own textiles and prints. It’s crafting your own fabric with existing fabrics.”
What of the collection? Unfold, Viviers’ first collection, is the first edition of three, with only one to two of each garment made for sale and ready-to-wear.
“Each item of clothing is like an art piece – on each label we are including the name of the person that made the garment. Everyone has a part in the process, contributing their skill and their experience. The design is very much an inclusive process.”
Viviers’ upcoming collections will range from ready-to-wear to couture, along with once-off pieces created for clients who are looking for unique, quality garments that perfectly suit their body type and personality as well as a more personal design experience.
“Unlike clothing pieces that are created in a factory, every single garment here, every pattern created, has been tested over and over to get the perfect fit. At the end of the day, I think if something fits well, and it’s beautifully made with great fabric, that’s all you need. I think really, luxury is about time: having the luxury of time.” ML