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This year’s fashion theme for the Vodacom Durban July has got everyone talking.
The recycling theme “A Material World?” has also got them rifling through cupboards, attics and second-hand shops to come up with a drop-dead gorgeous creation to wear to Greyville’s party of the year on July 7.
Designers, of course, have the edge when it comes to throwing together assorted items and creating something fabulous and this week’s fashion showcase was inspirational as student designers, established fashion names and some invited icons showed how glamour could be achieved with the quirkiest and most basic of materials.
Headpieces of leaves, neckpieces of wire, garments embellished with string, rope and chains combined to make a dazzling parade on the catwalk.
The 10 finalists in the Young Designer Award opened the show, pushing the boundaries with creative use of natural fibres embellished with plastic, wire, metal, wool and feathers.
Fashion Challenge finalists also came up trumps with cleverly-constructed outfits of hessian, calico, wool and other natural fibres. The winners from both sections will be announced on raceday, July 7.
Some invited designers stuck to an organic and natural theme, while others made using fabric scraps and leftovers look effortlessly beautiful. Brenda Quin’s floor-length skirt was made of old curtains and bits and pieces, she said.
“Everything in my range is from another garment or a curtain, using natural fabrics,” she said.
“I demolished a dried flower arrangement in my home to make the headpieces and used old hats to make handbags. The message this year is to use what you have and reconstruct.”
Colleen Eitzen said she had always tried to waste as little as possible in her factory – hence a fabulous range that used leftover fabric constructed in a figure-hugging, tucked shift and a maxi dress of offcuts.
Zama Mathe drew inspiration from her isiZulu culture, looking at how people have always used natural materials to create clothing. She used itshoda fabric and ubucwabasi beads, with a clever addition of sea shells collected from river banks and the beach, as well as wire accessories and tyre sandals.
Leigh Schubert chose a botanical theme in organic fabrics and Johannesburg designer Suzaan Heyns went for old Hollywood glamour and accessorised with bath chains. Gideon’s range was a gentle trip down memory lane, contrasting with Andre Martin’s bold denim garments.
“I used denim fabric that had been lying around the factory, washed, dyed and reused it,” said Martin. “I used old studs and off-cuts, in keeping with the theme.”
Johannesburg designer David Tlale’s dramatic black and white animal prints with layered ombre-dyed tuille shawl opened the show.
The second July Fashion Showcase, sponsored by Canon, takes place at Greyville tonight at 7pm.