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Suzaan Heyns

Back in 2004 when I was Editor of style magazine Joburg-based fashion designer Suzaan Heyns caught my eye. Her pieces – and there were not many – were rooted in a love of masculine tailoring, yet were flattering to the female form. She understood that you could combine tweed, leather and metallic fastenings with lashings of black and still look feminine if the cut was right. So a navy evening gown could have the pin-tucks of a Victorian man’s shirt but with a fitted waist and a full skirt, the juxtaposition worked. Now Suzaan has opened her first store in Melville and it’s no surprise that the space is sexy. Flesh-toned changing room curtains are reminiscent of provocative lingerie and similarly hued walls and shag pile carpet immediately evoke images of a retro boudoir. However, with an installation of Ceramic Matters ceramic hands groping down from the ceiling, metal Dokter and Misses shop-fittings and tiny embroidered black Gothic crosses slyly embellishing lights, there’s also something dark and disquieting about the space. Something that makes you look twice and reassess your first impression. It’s this ‘double-take’ factor that her clothes also carry. Sharply constructed and powerful, her flared-at-the-waist winter coats are detailed with feminine ruffles whilst multiple bows add an edge to an otherwise demure satin blouse. The overall package is Suzaan at her best. Suzaan Heyns, 9th Street, Melville, 011-482-9301 Naomi Larkin Editor - House and Leisure