September 08, 2006
It would have been easy for Alexandre Herchcovitch's collection to be overwhelmed by his inspiration, the Ndebele tribe of Zimbabwe, who are known for their brightly painted houses and love of beading. But the designer, a Brazilian crazy for color and patternwhich he often juxtaposes in cacophonous combinationsuccessfully avoided literalism to create a powerful and personal show. The first dozen looks were true to past form, if not newsworthy. The fun started when Herchcovitch wed his penchant for punk to his African theme, introducing a print that had Ndebelian-style geometry, but which depicted razor blades instead of traditional motifs. The designer also showed subtle, textural jackets and pants made entirely of beads. The punk message was furthered by swing-back jackets in kelly green paired with kilts, and shorts with spike-trimmed hems. Simply folded wraps, closed with beaded safety pins, translated tribal blankets into viable toppers. The vertiginous shoes were another story, but spring found Herchcovitch for the most part walking on solid ground.