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These are a couple of the looks from Stoned Cherrie’s collection that I thought were interesting. Colourful, commercial, distinctively Stoned Cherrie and not a dark cloud on the horizon (unlike other summer collections). The label has opened a new store in Rosebank and launched an accessories range recently.

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Always one of the highlights of SA Fashion Week (i’m told i’ve still not actually been to the event – shocking). Clive managed to hit both the local and international tartan trend. As an aside the Joburg fashion kids are obsessed with tartan (remember the Ama Kip Kip guys in kilts?). Vivienne Westwood and the founders of several scottish clans would be delighted (probably). There are alot if ideas in this collection: the tartan, lots of layering, carefully draped billowing fabrics mixed with architecturally precise jackets and the kind of space age hobo chic I’ve seen in previous collections. You’ll also notice the rather curious cartoon eyebrows…

Found this clip from The Times on Style Wars – which sounds like a bag full of fun. The clip is slightly on the corporate side (skip the marketing manager lets have the House of Diehl organisers rather?!)

SA’s First Style Wars

No not another fashion week spat… Style Wars is a New York based event organised by House of Diehl and beloved by trend and fashion bloggers around the globe (similar events have popped up all over the place). Great to see that a brand (Tropika) has put some cash behind doing something fun and has forked out to bring the House of Diehl crew to Joburg. This was put together by Stimulii in Joburg who also persuaded Clover to bring out David La Chapelle – I don’t know what your slipping in your clients coffee but I want some. Style Wars Joburg will take place during Sanlam SA Fashion Week and the winner will get trips to New York and Paris plus R50,000 cash and a course in London (sjoe and to think Style Wars winners in New York just get a wet kiss from a trannie and bottle of bud). Work that tin foil and sticky tape beeyatchs!

This is Style Wars in action:

Ok so i’m at the Loeries not Joburg Fashion Week but i’m staying in touch with the pics and the occasional bit of gossip filtering through from the north. One of the things you quickly realise at the Loeries is that you can tell exactly what job people do and where they do it from how they’re dressed. Example if you’re a creative you pretty much have to wear a straw trilby, high impact graphic t-shirt, jeans and a jacket (a thrift store tuxedo one preferably).

What was pretty shocking is the lack of fashion brands winning awards. Just confirms what I know already that local fashion retailers (with a few exceptions like Levis) are terribly dull with their marketing. Another exception is Nike who won two well deserved awards for their pop-up store (created by Trigger) – this was an excellent and inspirational campaign (although still think they could have got more publicity out of it). Bumped into Malcolm and Christian from KlukCGdT at the awards – they’re in an ad for Sanlam SA Fashion Week that’s up for an award apparently.

Like other fashion week organisers they haven’t quite got round to updating their website yet (c’mon people) but the line-up for SA fashion week has been announced. Interesting to see that some designers are taking a fluid approach to which fashion week they show at (KlukCGdT and Stoned Cherrie have hopped over to SA Fashion Week this season). This is cool though the designers should make the most of the choice between the various events.

As can be expected, the designer line-up is a cutting-edge blend of the country’s favourite design talents including Abigail Betz, Story, Mantsho, Stoned Cherrie, Clive Rundle, House of OlĂ© and Terrence Bray shot through with exciting new names and brands such as NN Vintage by Nhlanhla Nciza, Athi Patra Ruga and Diamond Face Couture, the recently formed collaboration between designer Gert-Johan Coetzee and high-profile businesswoman, Uyanda Mbuli.

Programme highlights include the collaboration between the AuDITIONS international gold collection and celebrated floral couturiers, Franz Grabe and Coenie Hatting that will fuse art, jewellery, flower and fashion design in a show featuring sixteen haute couture gold pieces from AngloGold Ashanti’s AuDITIONS collections accessorised with sixteen organic flower dresses, as well as the Five Roses show where Hermanna Rush, Mantsho and Miss Scarlett will each incorporate one-off designer dress that captures the brand’s essence, in their collection.

Other sponsors that will be associated with designer collections are Magnum who will be collaborating with KLUK CGDT and Japanese cult car brand, Subaru who has come on board with Lunar.

Also seems like the trend for fashion week stores is on the rise in SA:

Added to the mix is SSAFW’s biggest-ever designer retail space where the public will be able to get first dibs on their favourite designer’s best pieces straight off the runway. Discerning shoppers wanting to stretch their summer wardrobe budget with a few key purchases will be spoilt for choice with over 120 stalls selling the season’s most delectable garments, accessories, jewellery and shoes.

Photo at the top is from Clive Rundle.

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A bit of an ongoing debate behind the scenes at all of the South African fashion weeks is the balance between being “about the clothes” and theatrics on the runway. It seems designers and producers fall into one of two camps: one which want excellent but simple lighting and minimalist staging or the other that wants elephants, dancing girls and marching bands in full on technicolour.

I come down in the theatrics camp myself but I understand the other side of things – some of the stunts inflicted on the poor models are just cringe inducing. Then there is also the pageant style shows that we’ve had to endure from some of the magazines that have involved themselves in local fashion weeks (the final straw for some). But then, and maybe its because i’m a drama school drop out/publicist, I think it would be a terrible shame to limit designers. Some of my favourite fashion moments would be banned if the no fun movement got their way: Spero Villioti’s camper than camp marching band, the YFM shows back in the day at Cape Town Fashion Week, KlukCGdT’s am dram classics like last year’s cluedo…

The arguement (which i’ve heard from a few in the no fun camp) that it’s not what happens overseas is complete nonsense. Julien Macdonald got great coverage by having Kermit the Frog in the front row, Matthew Williamson got Prince get up from his seat and put on a show, and Marc Jacobs ran a show backwards. What these designers get is that fashion weeks are basically a PR excercise, they reach consumers directly (largely via online media and TV) and with so many design brands out there you can’t rely on just producing a stunning collection. Sad but true. As a designer you really need to ask yourself why are you showing at fashion week. It’s not to reach the 300 odd people in the room (SA fashion weeks are targeting buyers as they’re too late in the season for them) it’s a complete marketing excercise and fight for attention and you’re mad not to treat it as such. Last point is if you look at the fashion week images that make the front pages of newspapers such as the Sunday Times they are mostly in the theatrics camp (last year’s old ladies from SA Fashion Week for example).

I’m guessing that Karen Monk Klijnstra is also in the theatrics camp judging by her walking down the ramp in a straightjacket with no theatre/no my way signs all over it.

Any thoughts or opinions on this?

The Fashion Week season is nearly upon us… Get in training now its going to be a loooonnnngggg winter/summer or is it winter? sjoe. Word on the street is there is plenty of change afoot with this years events.

MTN Durban Fashion Week 25th – 28th June

As Durban is up first they’ve published their line-up. There is alot of young designers on the bill which differentiates it from the other weeks, but also bigger names like Gavin Rajah and Leigh Schubert.

Joburg Fashion Week 23rd – 26th July

Cape Town Fashion Week 13th – 16th August

Sanlam SA Fashion Week27th – 30th August

Bloemfontein Fashion Week 5th – 6th September*