Amanda du Plessis of Evolution Product frequently reaches back in time for rich stories that inspire her fabric designs. This approach is evident in her new Magic Veld collection, a range of cushions bearing historical prints that draw on illustrations by 17th- and 18th-century explorers to Southern Africa.
Available on 100% natural linen, in printed or embroidered variations, the cushions feature early botanical sketches, studies of fauna and even some landscape scenes of the region. Du Plessis researched the drawings and documents of famous travellers such as the Rev. John Campbell, Robert Jacob Gordon and Francois Le Vallian.
Du Plessis is consistently drawn to the nostalgia of historical imagery in her fabric designs. Her previous collection, Desert Diaries, drew on artwork by the San and Khoi San and her debut range of jacquards was inspired by her own family heritage. While her designs draw on current tastes for the faded appeal of time-worn imagery, she takes her historical references very seriously, resurrecting forgotten treasures and giving them their due honour.
Her products are accompanied with information about their historical subjects.
Campbell was a Scottish missionary who traveled to the Cape to inspect its mission stations and returned later to establish a new mission amongst the Bechuana tribe. On his return to London, he published an account of his travels that piqued interest.
Gordon, a Dutchman, went on more expeditions in South Africa than any of his contemporaries. He named the Orange River, introduced Merino sheep to the Cape and had Gordon’s Bay named after him.
Le Valliant’s writings and colourful illustrations documenting his four-year sojourn in Southern Africa attracted huge interest upon his return to France, both for himself and his subject. His studies of birdlife are so detailed that today he’s recognised as the first significant modern ornithologist.
A fashion buyer-turned-designer, Du Plessis’s luxuriously crafted soft furnishings have broad international appeal and have earned her global attention. She launched the Magic Veld range internationally at the recent Maison & Objet in Paris.