SA Fashion Week Summer 2012 opening night

Rubicon. Photo ©

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. Continue reading

Joburg bloggers and writers unite

I have been remiss. A bad blogger. A blog is like a Tamagotchi. It needs to be fed to be kept alive. Actually a blogger is like a Tamagotchi too, hungry. So in a world of free content where most bloggers write out of love (and occasionally ego) an invitation to dinner is a supreme event.

welcome from @missmillib

welcome from @missmillib

The invitation from mememe and Two, one of my favourite stores arrived by email – addressed to “Dear cool people of Joburg” (I was never going to resist. At my age it could be injurious). Continue reading

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

Soweto's fashion set

#148. Head to Joburg’s chic-est new 5-star hotel for the announcement of the winners of the Sanlam Fashion Journalism Awards.  Last week I had a chance to pop into the very exclusive-looking The Monarch Hotel on Oxford Road, a rumoured R64-million refurbishment of the old post office building. (I have an appointment to go back and get the inside story).

I was there to attend the awards — of which I was a judge, together with City Press Editor-in-Chief Ferial Haffajee, Radio 702 talkshow host Jenny Cryws-Williams and Kassie Naidoo, creative director at King James. Fashion commentator and trends analyst Dion Chang was the convenor. And the winners were…. in the fashion editing category Business Day Wanted’s Jenny Andrew for a feature called “Paper Dolls” — an exquisite spread created together with paper sculptor Hazel Buchan, an interpretation of fashion as art to mark the Joburg Art Fair — and for fashion writing, Millisuthando Bongela’s Street Smarties which was published in Elle magazine. They had some tough competition from the likes of  Sharon Becker, Mary Corrigall and Leigh Robertson.

Paper Dolls by Jenny Andrew

Paper Dolls by Jenny Andrew

Reading Millisuthando Bongela’s piece about the “street smarties” — brown on the inside and all colours on the outside — was  like unwrapping a shiny little treat. It’s a piece about a youth subculture who define themselves by the colourful gear they wear.

Their muse is vibrancy, their chronicler is photographer Lolo Veleko (who no suprises here is big in Japan and New York where they have a depth of appreciation for sartorial flourishes).

Bongela was the first to put her finger on that pulse in the popular press and to document what is a very interesting street-fashion movement not confined only to Soweto.

“In South Africa 15 years ago, a black person was identified by his language, the music he listened to or his level of political consciousness — or lack thereof. It would be wrong to say all black people dressed the same, but perhaps safe to say that if you were black, you mostly didn’t have time to worry about how you looked.”

“We have the freedom to look like this beacuse our parents struggled for us to be whoever we want to be,” Bongela quotes 22-year-old Kepi Mngomezulu.

“Dion Chang calls them ‘Joburg’s cool young things’.”

“These are people in charge of at least their sartorial destinies,” said the Village Voice. They called Veleko’s photographs of the fashion set “an antidote to the prevailing view of the ‘dark continent’ as a place of entropy and despair” ( Luckily it takes more than a Village to reflect the world we live in). Continue reading

Black Coffee in Berlin

#128. Watch SA designers rock Berlin. The awesome duo who heads Black Coffee were in Berlin to show their Spring/Summer 2010 collection – part of their prize for winning the Mercedes-Benz SA Award for Fashion Design 2009 which I wrote about earlier this year.

For more on the thinking behind the collection – go The Frock Report. To see more of the collection click here.
* The Black Coffee store is in the Bamboo Centre, cnr 9th Street and Rustenburg Rd, Melville

Black Coffee wins

#84. Head downtown for the Mercedes-Benz SA Award for Fashion Design 2009. A few Fridays ago I headed to the Seippel Gallery in End Street for the announcement of the Mercedes-Benz SA Award for Fashion Design 2009. As a kid I used to accompany my mother on buying trips for her clothing store in that part of town which then housed the city’s “schmatte” trade. A few years later I returned to End Street to my then favourite hangout, Idols, a nightclub that thinking back endlessly replayed Roadhouse Blues by the Doors. “Ah keep your eyes on the road, Your hands upon the wheel…” Continue reading