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What to wear next winter Print E-mail
26 September 2011

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You may have hauled out your bikinis for summer, but the fashion-forward folk are all about winter 2012. Designers showcased their collections for the season at SA Fashion Week.

It may be summer outside but the fashion world – which is always a few steps ahead of the pack – is already in winter 2012.

Evening gownEvening gowns by Vesselina PentchevaJoburg fashionistas got a preview of that season’s trends at South African Fashion Week (SAFW), which took place from 22 to 25 September at the Crowne Plaza in Rosebank. The SAFW Winter Collection 2012 was the local design platform’s 20th seasonal showing since its inception in 1997.

Top local designers showed their collections, including Clive Rundle, Amanda Laird Cherry, Ephraim Molingoana, Tiaan Nagel, Naked Ape and Vesselina Pentcheva, as well as the new designer-to-watch, Joel Janse van Vuuren.

Explaining her winter line, Cherry said: “My collection this year has been inspired by memories of my dad. Thoughts of him have been on my mind a lot. He was a racehorse trainer and a real character. But there were other sides to his life and a vivid recall is of going with my dad to a gumboot and stick fighting rally near the Durban beachfront where his groomsmen were competing.”

The starting point of the garments was his racing colours or jockey silks. His were very simple – a silver grey body and old gold sleeves. “When I used to go to the races with my dad he was adamant that I had to dress smartly and not be over the top. That has influenced the collection too. I have mixed tailored suits with unusual pieces, as my personal aesthetic is a lot more eclectic and avant-garde.”

It had been an interesting process of rationalising where she now stood on the issue of how she dressed, said the Durban designer. “It has reflected another point in my life where I assess who I am as an individual and spurned some thoughts of where I still want to go next.”

Inspiration
Naked Ape drew inspiration from Lesotho. Shaldon Kopman, the designer, said: “With our latest range we drew inspiration from our neighbours, the kingdom in the sky, Lesotho, and the herdsmen or the cowboys of the country as they are affectionately known.”

Lesotho was the only nation south of the Sahara that illustrated the culture of an entire nation through an item as individualistic as a blanket, he said. Many blanket designs had names, such as sutha ke fete (give way that I may pass), slea o butsoe (leave the door open), motlotlehi (wedding blanket), and lekunutu (the secret).

A modelA Montsho design by Palesa Mokobong“Naked Ape has drawn on this practical and buoyant approach to life for this collection. We are exploring design through versatility and utility. Staying true to Naked Ape’s values, our collection of natural and recycled fabrication and textiles [are] influenced by heritage, technology and functionality,” he said.

New talent
Taking place during SAFW, the Elle Mr Price New Talent Show featured eight new designers. The new talent show has become a highlight of the annual fashion calendar and is generally regarded as the fashion industry’s finest talent incubator.

In the past, it has produced several top designers, including Terrence Bray, Jacques van der Watt, Ella Buter, Tiaan Nagel and David Thlale.
SAFW will now be taking the business of fashion to the next level with local designer pop-up shops. With these, leading as well as up-and-coming talent will have a platform to generate income, clients and opportunities.

Following the successful launch of the SAFW’s local designer pop-up shops last year, the newly renovated Sandton City Fountain Court will again be transformed to show off home-grown design and talent.

The pop-up shops will be open from 30 September to 2 October, and will feature collections from designers such as Ephymol, Vesselina Pentcheva, Black Coffee, Two, Christopher Strong, Rubicon, Gugulam, Naked Ape, Colleen Eitzen and Amanda Laird Cherry, among others. Consumers will be able to buy items directly from the designers, as well as interact with them in a unique retail environment.

“The local designer pop-up shops form the consumer arm of SAFW,” commented Lucilla Booyzen, the founder of SAFW.

“Our aim has always been to develop the South African design industry into a formidable force through the development of the creative fashion design sector. This is carried across all levels … allowing for South African design to flourish. The local designer pop-up shop concept was such a successful undertaking last year. Being the first of its magnitude, it generated phenomenal results.”

Jewellery and accessories
Men's wearMen's wear by Naked ApeThere will be over 60 curated stands to browse. Among the items on sale will be jewellery, facilitated in conjunction with the Jewellery Council of South Africa, shoes, hats and accessories. Apart from the pop-up shops, consumers will also be able to see the first of the designers’ summer collections.

“We are extremely proud that consumers will be able to truly see the vision and creativity of the designers on the runway,” said Booyzen.

“This year we will also be announcing the winner of the Vodacom 4U student competition after the designer showcase of the 14 finalists on Saturday, 1 of October at 1pm. I have no doubt that their creations will deliver a burst of creativity.”

In the competition, second and final year design students across the country had to recycle existing denim garments into dresses. The winner will land a three-month internship with Sissy Boy and Ronald Sassoon in Cape Town.

Ronald Sassoon said: “We have an amazing design and technical department at Sissy Boy and Ronald Sassoon, which has made us specialists in denim fabric and design techniques. We are the only women’s denim brand in South Africa that has these kinds of facilities, and we are excited to share some of our knowledge gained through our many years of experience with the winner of the student competition.”

The SAFW local designer pop-up shops will be open from 9am to 6pm, on Friday, 30 September and 1 October, and from 10am to 3pm on 2 October.

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