You didn’t think I’d leave you without a closer did you?!
My darlings, I left the best for last, because Day 4 had some of the most exquisite haute couture designs out of Africa. Not to say my non-haute-couture outfit didn’t pass muster; as I put significant effort into being “Cream Queen” – as A Fashion Friend phrased it in their street style shot of me.
Arrived a little late to the party on Day 4 of Fashion Week, but my final outfit had to be perfect ( also, I didn’t care to catch the AFI Young Designer of the Year 2016 Award).
Her majesty the Cream Queen is dressed in a dress her mom got her at Pick ‘n Pay (seriously! when did they start stocking the good stuff?!), some of Soul Design‘s latest jewellery offerings, lovely tresses by Aretha Bauwens’ Brazil hair, sunnies (or moonies cuz it was night-time) by Cape Town-based eyewear brand Eye Spy, and a lovely coat with deconstructed pockets and lapels by Mo’ko Elosa.
So after spending the past few days getting our fix of the Grey Goose Media Lounge cocktails and champagne, food and mingle-moments, myself and Monde ensured Day 4 would be filled with the last hustle moments of capturing missed fashion opportunities, and to get the last of our networking on, and conclude business negotiations. We accidentally missed R by Rich Mnisi & Maps Maponyane – A show I wasn’t even syked to see but woe is me because I saw the pics, and the collaboration produced some potent menswear offerings for the season.
I didn’t know I would ever join a cult, but Beach Cult by Joanna Hedley had a collection perfect for summer, for woman of every shape.
Tina Ngxokolo had this cape to say for herself.
I’m keeping mum on the rest of the show because *cringe*
Had Khosi Nkosi deigned to make a rare public appearance after their show, they would have UNEQUIVOCALLY been met with a grand-stand of a standing ovation. The Khosi Nkosi collection was – for me – in the Top 3 best showcases IN RECENT YEARS at any global fashion week. I throw up cliché fashion descriptors like “Inspired” and “fresh”. This collection was the epitome of Xhosa traditional apparel style, reimagined into functional modernity. This is the fresh I wanted MaXhosa by Laduma to give me; what he built his world-renowned reputation on- a collection disbelieving in its own hype, and simply existing as fashion borne of traditional Xhosa beadwork patterns, symbolism and colours, which are reimagined into modern knitwear. Khosi Nkosi’s was a glorious showcase of the capabilities SA designers have to showcase something innovative of existing trends; to finish a piece so resolutely that it is entirely wearable right off the ramp. I give Khosi Nkosi thee highest of praise.
The 6pm Xipixi by António Macheve Jr show was all about them colours and fabric textures and patterns. An albino model opened the show to the soundtrack of poetic narration giving masculine praise. I just came out the show loving the tailoring on every model. To put that much print in one look, without it being overwhelming, is a feat.
The undergarments during the Imgard Mkhabela show had the audience in a loud tizzy, but I just loved the sharp juxtaposition between the models physiques and the undergarments – making way for different shapes, colours and sizes.
Pay no mind to DUKE by Sandile Duke Mngadi, who added a set of beads onto some blazers and thought he’d get away with this mundane collection without critique. My guy! Up your design game to be even acknowledged among nod-worthy sartorial design treasures of Africa.
KikoRomeo by Ann McCreath would actually be really suited to the wardrobe of a futuristic african film set that throws back to Star Wars’s Padme Amidala, with its sharp wide shouldered dresses, that form-fit at the chest and waist area. This collection was simple for the most part with its royal regal silhouettes, and ornate design localised at the neck or chest area.
I found one of my 5 dream wedding dresses (because I expect to pull an Elizabeth Taylor in the lifetime)during the 7pm ’12 Rings, 12 Designers, 12 Dresses – Sterns Bridal Showcase’. The La Art Neviole Emporium wedding dress was inarguably the most dramatic among the designs, that included those of: Danielle Margeaux, Francois Vedemme, Heni by Milo, Kobus Dippenaar, NN Vintage by Nhlanga Nciza, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue, Stefania Morland, Suzaan Heyns, Thabo Makhetha, Werner Dey, and Zarth by Zama Mathe.
The show to close off Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week: Johannesburg 2016, was the AFI Privé presents Couture D’Afrique in association with Puma Select.
Haute Baso had the cutest sleepless maxi dress I ever did covet. Laduma by Maxhosa satisfied the masses with his archetypal jerseys, cardigans and shorts.
It’s like Savile Row inspired Sheria Ngowi‘s show, with the bespoke tailoring reminiscent of Mai Atafo’s SA Menswear Week show pieces.
My Instagram family has been perishing at the images of the Soraya da Piedade haute couture showcase that I described as what would happen “If Elie Saab designs had a lovechild with Tweedy Bird and Vera Wang’s bedazzler”. It’s literally also in my Top 3 Best Fashion Week showcases.
I really dug the middle-eastern inspired embellishments in Ciss Saint Moise‘s collection; while Adama Paris gets a passing mention only for those long shirts that are perfect for summer, and Jessica Nguema-Metoule gets a mention for that jumpsuit/skirt situation I just love the fabric and color of.
Osuare Egbuonu was simple in its abstract quirkiness.
Mina Evans and Tina Lobondi respectively brought the chic summer we’d all been envisioning: in plunging necklines, corals that bring the ocean ecosystem to life, shimmy tassled jazz skirts, emerald maxi dresses, high-waisted loose pants in jewel tones and so much more.
All round? It was rare in this fashion week, to find collections that just didn’t fall within the gender binary, so that’s disappointing.
Trends to watch for this season: jewel-tone and all-white are the colors that are back; headgear of any make and model, and geometric prints with African traditional cultural thematic stay trending.
I enjoyed myself as a first-time attendee of Joburg’s Fashion Weeks, but I fail to see why I should come back in seasons to come. The Africa Fashion International organization has built up the reputation of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Johannesburg as an event that equals its more famous siblings globally; but beyond the actual world-class structure they construct in Nelson Mandela Square, their production and execution, the designers finesse in delivering favorable fresh designs each season – and particularly the wishy-washy way they rank and treat varying local and international media- leaves MUCH to be desired.
Also, please fix your lighting before shows because it was literally impossible to snap a decent selfie.
Joburg Fashion Week – you get a 6/10 while Klaas was in this session!
*Featured photo courtesy of Rizqua.Barnes