Boys with clutch bags, lots of fiery red chic bobs and dresses cut to way up to there with heels to match signalled the opening of SA Fashion Week – and that’s just the scene in the lobby of The Rosebank Crowne Plaza, the site of Joburg’s real fashion week. And phones, darling, lots and lots of smartphones, snapping photos, texting, tweeting, waving in the air, videoing the shows, easing social awkwardness, amusing people during the long wait for it all to start and shining out in the darkness. I tried to remember what we all did before we had them – and recalled smoking Camel filters. Still haven’t decided which would be the healthier habit.
The night started with a great little performance piece at an off-site show – Lisa Jaffe’s Guillotine label showed a few doors away from her store at 44 Stanley Ave. Jaffe is as much artist as she is a clothing designer. The audience was ushered into the show in sittings. I loved the backdrop – wallpaper made from brown paper and electric blue masking tape that created the effect of a chic modern home. The clothes were trademark Guillotine, beautifully cut, with fine detail (gathers, pleats), and all body-hugging. There was also plenty of pink champagne.
Next up was the The Sheer Glamour Collections with Motions and TRESemme in Rosebank, lots of incredibly ambititous hairstyles matched up with a who’s who of SA design. The Crowne Plaza made a great venue for it with its circular lobby that allows you to see who’s making an entrance at any time. The crowd was super chic, packed with fashion media, film crews and lots of air-kissing personalities. Perfect people-watching territory.
The snacks were good but a little undersized (what else would they be at fashion week) and by the time the show actually started (40 minutes late) I could have taken a bite out of the person sitting next to me. The show was in a large marquee leading off from the hotel – atop each seat a lavish goodie bag filled with enough hair products to start a spaza shop. The staging was great – an amazing revolving box that delivered the models to the start of the catwalk.
The fashion was pretty good too, although more elegant and wearable than cutting edge concept. On these occasions I prefer the cutting edge concept – some of which was to be found in dress number one – worn by actress Minnie Dlamini, who is brand ambassador for the Motions hair care brand. She strode the catwalk wearing an evening dress created by floral magician Franz Grabe made from 1800 fresh roses and miniature carnation petals. What followed was super pretty stuff by Gavin Rajah, Black Coffee, Vesselina Pentcheva and others.
Blue was definitely the colour of the night, with lace and metallics everywhere, and designer hairstyles resembling oversized, softened birds nests. In all, a fun night out with Joburg’s most fashionable set.