Wednesday, March 31, 2010

War of the Fashion Directors!

First came Sharon Becker, ELLE's now former fashion editor and now Zanele Khumalo, who served as ELLE's Beauty Editor and Joburg Bureau Chief until her new appointment. Is ELLE bleeding staff?
It all started with former ELLE Features Editor Aspasia Karas, who left her most recent job at The Times newspaper, when she was appointed editor at Marie Claire early this year. She, in turn, appointed Sharon and now they've pulled Zanele back into the Associated Magazines stable.
I can't wait to see what will happen; will Marie Claire shed it's "mature ladies' read" image? Will ELLE's circulation come under pressure?
And now it's Chris Viljoen versus Sharon Becker. The Fashion Director Death Match!
Mmmmm.... exciting times!
The two glossies will remain on my shopping list though. For now! Lol.
No... forever!
Check out the full story on ifashion

Victor & Rolf's Chainsaw Masterpiece

You've probably seen such visuals before, but I couldn't resist sharing them anyway. Playing it safe is not part of the game plan for Victor and Rolf, as one can see. Showmanship and craftsmanship work hand in hand for this design duo and the results are amazing!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Delectable Darkie

I lost my notebook and spectacles at Fashion Week, but as much as I have no reference for this blog post, Darkie's show stood out for me. The label is one of my favourites and those tops with Ndebele prints and slogans like "Shaka, victor or victim" are a definite must have for me next summer.
Themba Mngomezulu, the label owner, told me that although they didn't look at a specific direction for the collection it naturally grew to what it is- a show with direction.
The Ndebele print featured throughout the collection and the theme (my interpretation) of oppression and/or defeat remained on course. Is our art as Africans dead or alive (Ndebele print)? Was Martin Luther King victorious in his course or a victim of assasination as result of that very course?
My credit card is definitely ready for this collection to hit stores. Can't wait for the Maponya Mall opening, which Themba said remains in the pipeline albeit delayed.
Darkie's show was amongst my favourites at this year's SA Fashion Week Summer Collections. And you said ready-to-wear was a no-show!
Visit and view the gallery for pics


If I had a YouTube account (I'm not sure why I still don't have it), I'd share with you videos from Loxion Kulca, Darkie, DFC and Falata shows from the recent SA Fashion Week.
I'm not a fan of Loxion Kulca and I've always been honest about this. The whole "kasie" thing doesn't work for me, especially because it is never updated. There's an assumption that township style has long been defined and it should now remain like that. New ways of interpretation are not explored.
As I am sure you can see, the LK underwear collection is what's on show here. What I really loved about it was the production on the show. The presentation was an absolute gem.
A warrior, surrounded by Zulu girls closed the show; a light reference to our politics, one of the brains behind the concept told me. Thandiswa’s “Izilo”, from her sophomore album Ibokwe fit exceptionally well with the concept and as the collection graduated from underwear to actual clothes one got the sense that Loxion Kulca was aiming for more maturity.
Ole, who is now head designer at the label, managed to fuse his style- beautifully crafted jackets and formal wear- with the Loxion Kulca signature, producing something that, although not new, is probably what Loxion Kulca needed to redeem itself after years and years of stagnation. From where I sat to watch the show, I thought the quality of Loxion Kulca's denim was absolutely great and the stitching meticulous. I still wonder, though, if I can look past the brand itself to buy myself a pair.

The non-existent fashion journalism in SA

The cronyism in South Africa’s fashion journalism landscape is an albatross that remains at the centre of our inability to tell stories, important stories that can go a long way in contributing to the amelioration of our fashion industry. A designer I had the pleasure to meet at SA fashion week over the past weekend spoke of how editors from the big publications in this country have egos the size of New York and how the tradition of kissing-ass leaves stories like her own, in my opinion, untold and younger designers unable to learn from others.
If you look at how South African designers are covered by the local media you will realize that journalists seek to portray them as pseudo celebrities with little more to tell than just how “genius" they are. There seems to be a culture of “worship this guy, he’s a cut above the rest. He is also my friend”. All it helps is to send out this message that these people are demigods. Unfortunately, though, the demigod status leaves them at the edge, about to fall off as a result of their inability to run businesses profitably. All they profit from is a public glare, attention from fans who can’t even afford their overpriced garments and being bestowed with undeserved titles.
Fashion spreads are filled with clothes that most of the magazine readership can only dream of owning. If your name is Tlale or Rundle, congratulations, the mags are dying to have your clothes in their spreads.
There’s also this sickening mentality that if a designer’s collections are simple and practical, this designer has no idea what they are doing. Fashion is an art. Yes, it is. But I’ll also have you know that artists often starve unless they present works that actually speak to the audience.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with presenting Lady Gaga outrageousness, but should there not be a balance between avant-garde and ready-to-wear? For show purposes, couture is great, but what are you offering the everyday person who is actually looking for something to wear at work or on a great night out?
Methinks the notion that creativity can only exist in outrageousness is a myth that is bandied about by those who know not the meaning of creativity. It is an assumption made by those who are choked by the madness that weird is the epitome of art and simple is the territory of the bland.
Beyond this, I was seriously shocked when, at one designer’s show, the audience gave a standing ovation after a show that made no sense, interpreted summer as a time to look glamourous and ignored the fact that it’s the season when the sun is rarely forgiving.
In essence, until such time that those of us who write about local fashion start telling the truth and stop kissing designer ass our contribution to fashion will remain where it is at right now. Non-existent!

Business takes Backseat at Fashion Week

All was fine; media and buyers in first and second row, friends of the designers will occupy the rest of the space. This is how seating is allocated at any fashion week, not just SA. And, as I just said, all was fine until Saturday night.
Showing; Diamond Face Couture, DM Classics, Sylvester Falata and Ephymol, suddenly the show auditorium felt like a big ass party with no intention to do business. No, this is just a show where friends come to look at what I’ve been up to in my room, dressing my barbies. Come along, friends. Come see my show. And better yet, we can get rid of these media types as well as the buyers (who are they anyways?) so you, ma darling has been tv star, can sit on the most coveted of all seats.
Yes, this is because you, my friend, are best placed to share with the world what I, the designer, have to offer. You, my firend, will make sure that my range finds its way to store railings and you, my friend, are the coolest thing ever. Look at you, looking wonderful in your matric dance-esque gown. You’re totally the **ishhh!
Sometimes I think designers just don't think. Not about business, not about their collections, but only prize the glory of popular admiration. I hope it puts dinner on the table.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fragility and Fun at Fashion Week Opening

SA Fashion Week kicked off last night at the beautiful Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg sans the "random" folk as the new strategy is to have only media, buyers and clients invited by designers at the shows.
Yours truly got to witness Amanda Laird Cherry's Summer collection from the frontrow and I'd be lying if I said I was impressed. The clothes are beautiful but I feel like the collection is nothing new from Amanda. The soft materials and colours that a tell a story of sensitivity and fragility felt all too familiar.
Speaking of sensitivity and fragility, Guilottine's "Sweetness of Terror" had a somewhat daring fragility, with black garments, gold leggings, gold pins in the hair of the models. At the start of the show models came out with lamps and glow in the dark wiring fused into their hair, giving a feel of haunted sleep.
To the contrary, Superella put on a circus... literally.
The first face on that show came out with baloons, a gold party hat and gold glitter sneakers, bouncing about the ramp, doing summersaults and smiling at the audience. There are never any real life models at Superella shows, just average individuals that defy the culture of size zero models, but I guess that wouldn't speak to her taget market in any case.
All in all, the mix of fragility and fun at the opening day of SA Fashion Week Summer Collections 2010 has left me with a desire to go back and see if there is any reinvention and/or directionin the collections to be presented until Saturday this coming weekend when the event draws to a close. R Jay K, whom I last year thought lacked direction in the true sense of the word are showing tonight. I'm hoping to see growth in the duo's talent. Will keep you updated...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black Face on ELLE Cover

One of my greatest joys every month is that just before pay day when all I can afford is a box of 10 Stuyvies, I'm also somehow always able to fit in my beloved copy of ELLE Magazine.
This month, it happenned last night. It was a toss up between a bottle of wine or ciggies and an ELLE copy. I decided on the latter. What use is a bottle of wine if not accompanied by a pack of smokes? Naturally, ELLE it had to be.
I'm loving the cover. There's a black face for the first time in ages and there's also an ELLE investigation into the lack of black modelling talent in our industry. There's lots to read. I love reading, looking through pics gets a bit boring. So, I'm happy. Content, content, content, baby!
Love it!!!