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Friday, June 26, 2015


(“Shibuya Black Hat” Tokyo. Pic: Mark Lanning)

Respected photographer, Mark Lanning, is exhibiting a collection of “iphonography” (photographs taken on an iPhone5) of a recent visit to Tokyo with Durban designers the Holmes Brothers, entitled Colab Tokyo, at the Station Drive Precinct in Durban.

Tokyo is considered to be one of the global fashion trend-setters. Designers and retailers from around the world critically follow the trends and styles initiated in Tokyo. Lanning accompanied Laurie and Gary Holmes on a ten-day visit to Tokyo in March, accompanying them while they visited some of the city’s premier boutiques and fashion stores to check out their summer ranges.

“Tokyo is six months ahead of us on the cutting-edge of global fashion. Designers like the Holmes Brothers can find inspiration in both start-up and established brands in Tokyo. Travelling with them was amazing. I learned so much by watching them closely examine shapes and styles and the detail of textures, fabrics, buttons and finishings. Of course the Tokyo look will be adapted to suit the casual feel of Durban. But the inspiration was definitely there. The trip gave me huge insight into the industry and an understanding of the intensity and risks involved,’ considered Lanning.

Using his iPhone5, Lanning captured the essence of this complex and beautiful city and its myriad people – an old bookseller in his shop; the breathtaking modernity of the public buildings; a late-night game of pool; a young man on his mobile phone; visitors to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a shiny car.

“The images are a very personal take on my experience of Tokyo,” Lanning adds. “The city is very orderly and clean; a freshly-scrubbed patina. The textures were amazing and I met astonishing people; they are so well mannered.”

Some 12 carefully-chosen images make up the exhibition which hangs on the walls of Durban’s newest cultural precinct: Saviour Brand in Station Road, to celebration the venue’s first anniversary.

Saviour Brand celebrates artistry; craftsmanship, heritage.... and entrepreneurial spirit in creating bespoke items of beauty. A coffee shop which serves great coffee and light meals merged with a retail outlet of Holmes Brothers distinctive Durban designed garments; and Saviour Brand’s coveted range of hand-designed and individually-crafted leather ware and accessories: bags; wallets; purses and iPad cases.

Lanning has taken photographs professionally since 1988, He has returned to KZN after spending many years working in advertising in Johannesburg. In Durban he is perhaps best known for his collaborations with design wunderkind, Neil Roake, in his lifestyle and food books. Together they travelled to the New York Food Festival, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Mozambique, producing a series of food stories. He worked with Roake and writer Glynis Horning on a two year project taking images of Soweto which resulted in the now iconic coffee table book - Life Soweto Style. He has collaborated with the Holmes Brothers since ’98 on shoots, shows and catalogues.

“I love being part of the creative process in this city - Durban has great positive energy,” enthused Lanning.

Colab Tokyo can be seen at Saviour Brand: Station Drive Precinct, 51 Station Drive, until July 31.