Bahrain’s F1 line-up and Libya’s fashion icon

Among reports of the northern territories melting down and concerns over the start of the Formula 1 season (Bahrain has bigger problems) and Muammar Gadaffi, the man of many names not to mention many fashion statements, sharing headline space with Charlie Sheen for the “who is the craziest award” this is too good not to share.
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Design Indaba Day 2: Laduma Ngxokolo, Kiran Bir Sethi and Alberto Alessi

Day 2 of the Design Indaba and I am a believer. All critical distance (well most of it) has been removed and I feel myself edging closer to groupie-dom. If I was to be a groupie on this day these are three people I would groupie around:

Knitwear designed by Laduma Ngxokolo

Eastern Cape designer Laduma Ngxokolo, a graduate of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, who, among a global group of emerging young talent, made that Pecha Kucha format his own. Following that quick format here’s my cut-to-the-chase version.
As part of the ritual of becoming a man young Xhosa circumcision initiates have to kit themselves out in a new wardrobe (all clothing worn before this stage is destroyed – I think, or removed at least, I hope)
After they return their parents like to buy them “high quality men’s knitwear” from international brands like Pringle as even circumcision initiates are highly influenced by global urban style.
Ngxokolo saw the gap. Continue reading

Joburg Fashion Week heads to the city

Enjoy the idea of Joburg Fashion Week glossing up the inner city. It’s something SA Fashion Week and the Fairlady Awards did for years but to a much smaller audience. I’ve seen catwalk shows at Turbine Hall, pre-renovation, at Hillbrow’s Windybrow Theatre and even at the deconsecrated Wolmarans Street Synagogue. This time the venues are a little more luxe and include the Rand Club, the Bus Factory (OK, not that luxe) and what sounds like a spectacular finale across the Nelson Mandela Bridge with David Tlale showing 92 outfits, each marking one year of Madiba’s life. I have also heard that the best part of that show will be that everyone gets a front-row seat – and you don’t have to trip a fashion editor for it. Continue reading

Braamfontein’s 70 Juta Street and Pieter Hugo

Protea wallpaper

Protea wallpaper

#216. Saturday morning in brilliant sunshine we took a walk along the hip stretch of Juta Street in Braamfontein. Braamfontein’s re-imagining is more than talk and the colourful little complex of stores and offices on 70 Juta Street bears this out [It officially opened last weekend]. We started off at POST for their homemade lemonade and a tasty snack-sized prego roll. With its glass front POST is a perfect spot to sip something while observing street life (in this city of malls and walls that’s a luxury). Continue reading

Shop local with missibaba

#214. Covet beautiful handmade goods from Cape Town handbag label Missibaba. On a trip to Cape Town sometime last year I made a point of tracking down the Missibaba studio – a treasure trove for handbag fetishists. In a world of factory made goods where quality and craft has long been replaced I was seduced by the clutter of ideas, materials and colour and real stitchwork taking place. Now their range is available online through Shop-Label, Cape Town’s answer to Net-A-Porter (the site that puts hot couture in the post). My favourite item right now is the Safari Possum Bag. Very pretty indeed.

Hayibo. Julius Malema is 100% for Zuma

#203. Get the T-shirt from Hayibo – the site that’s known for breaking news, into tiny little pieces. Among their range is the UMLUNGU T-shirt and the new Julius Malema-inspired “100 percent for Zuma and 20 percent for woodwork”.

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New York Fashion Week lands in Joburg

# 199 Shop. The other day I met someone who told me, after I complimented her style, that she is only wearing South African designers. I love that idea and want to take it further.
So to kick off here’s local label Black Coffee’s coat collection fresh from their debut at New York Fashion Week and in store now in Melville.
Gotta get me one of these.
* You can find Black Coffee at Bamboo – “for all things South African” –
53 Rustenburg Road, Melville
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Braamfontein is Joburg’s Soho

194#. Read the New York Times on Braamfontein. The paper of record has called it. Braamfontein is Joburg’s version of New York’s Soho. It has urban edge, lots of design and artistic talent, and a property developer with a real eye for the city’s future. Personally I have always been fond of that neighbourhood, from student days in the early 1990s when I would spend most of my cash (and there wasn’t much of it) at the bookshop on the corner where the Braamfontein Centre now stands (looking back it was literature of the revolution – lots of Fanon, Cabral, Biko. Okay admittedly those were books that real revolutionaries would steal so this is a revealing moment) to cheap and tasty lunches at the Health Scene and a great little Italian joint whose name I don’t recall but whose veal limone I do. Continue reading

Glass design to make your heart smelt

#176. Hum David Bowie’s “Oh you pretty things” while visiting Smelt, the glass studio in Bamboo Centre, Melville. Lots of jewel-coloured hearts and stars, baubles and lamps.

Glass lamps from Smelt

Glass lamps from Smelt

Bamboo Centre has been around so long I forgot what a Joburg gem it was until a friend told me how she had taken her Cape Town visitor there to impress her this weekend – and it worked. So here goes:

Five more good reasons to hang out at Bamboo include:
Love Books, the city’s newest independent book store where you can order wine by the glass, sit back in your chair and browse an eclectic mix of international magazines not seen in many other local stores
Tinsel, where you can spend lots of moolah (and you will) on great South African designed contemporary jewellery
Black Coffee, where the local design duo who seem to have wowed Berlin and New York sell their crafted couture
Service Station for breakfast (probably the best scrambled eggs in the city) and lunch and any meal in between
and the farmer’s market on the first Saturday of every month (for this one I am relying on good authority because getting there by 7am is not top of my weekend agenda)

So there you have it! What’s stopping you?

* For more on Smelt go here. And to find Bamboo online click here.

Joburg fashion week launches supermodel

#174. Wonder why in the fashion world three or four days constitutes a week and why this hasn’t caught on in the world of work. Actually in the fashion world three or four days constitute a universe in which a front row seat is your ticket to beyond-mere-mortaldom (ask Sonia Booth, wife of South Africa’s most famous white soccer player, Matthew – and I mean that in the nicest possible way. For the full story on former first princess Sonia read this from TimesLive), you no longer kiss people on the cheek (it’s all in the air dahling) and you hoik up your skirt so short that if your grandmammy was still alive she would be chasing you around the house with a dishcloth trying to cover up what G-d gave you (oy! She left home without her pants). And then there’s the heels, darling. So high this year as to give even the casual observer vertigo.

fundudzi's crochet dress

fundudzi's crochet dress

As for the fashion models, well they’ve mastered walking by sending their legs far out in front of them (the rest of me will be there in a minute darling). Continue reading