Gert-Johan Coetzee and singer Lira at the launch party of SA Fashion Week on Monday. Pictures: Babalwa Dhlamini

Shirt dresses, metallics, ruffle skirts and patterned pieces emerged as the dominant trends from the first day of SA Fashion Week (SAFW) which kicked off in Joburg on Tuesday evening.

Proceedings of the annual event began with Woolworths previewing their Capsule Collection, put together by eight “Top Designers To Be”.

Together, they created unique pieces for both men and women, which drew cheers when the models took to the catwalk.

The move by the retail giants to team up with SAFW is a bid to support home-grown talent and to take fashion “from the ramps to the railway”.

As part of their Spring/Summer SAFW section, Woolworth’s collection designers opted for free-flowing, light pieces that could appeal to both genders of all body types and heights.

But the comfort of their designs didn’t compromise versatility, as many of the pieces could be worn in a variety of ways, for casual or smart occasions, by day or at night.

This included a piece for ladies which combined a metallic silver long sleeve top with a patterned dress. The rest of the look was minimalist, with a cap, flat black sneakers and sunglasses.

The remainder of the show included other powerful and lively takes on fashion.

Other models glided down the catwalk sporting pieces which featured solid neutral colours such as black, white and beige or a combination of them.

These were enhanced by either statement jewellery, a touch of metallic, or translucent fabrics.

The trend also featured men who, at one stage, confidently strolled the catwalk in free-flowing white paints and shirts, and, at another, in full black attire with African neck pieces.

The models from all eight designers who were part of Woolworths Capsule Collection paired their designs with natural make-up and simple pulled-back hairstyles.

Nicky Madie. Picture: Babalwa Dhlamini

They incorporated accessories such as caps, glasses and fishnet stockings into the looks.

The fashion was enhanced with upbeat music and a play on dark and bright lighting.

The proceedings also included a first for fashion in the country with the Resort-Wear Collections, considered to be one of the highlights of the season.

This saw sought-after labels taking fashion fanatics from the beach to the ballroom when they showcased their luxury and highly specialised collections.

The cross-cultural collections signified leisure, success, travel and an appreciation for bringing style to every aspect of your life.

While the designers put their best pieces to the test, there was no shortage of fashionistas in the seats.

JJ Schoeman. Picture Babalwa Dhlamini

The Park venue in Hyde Park, where this season’s SAFW was held, was filled to capacity.

Those attending arrived in their own fashionable attire fit for the event, with many rebelling against the prescribed dress code of everyone wearing black.

Instead, the crowds showed up in their own unique styles, from wearing splashes of colour, to neutrals and a mix of patterns and fabrics.

The SAFW SS17 collections for women and men are set to be shown until Saturday. They seek to highlight another season of high-end designs from several local designers.

Kevin Macklin. Picture: Babalwa Dhlamini

This will consist of 47 ladieswear and 20 menswear designers, with 35 designers debuting this season.

This season will also see a stylist collaboration between South Africa and China as SAFW and Chu Yan, a Beijing-based designer, will also present a fashion show tomorrow.

The five-day event will also see other top local designers such as Gert-Johan Coetzee, Rubicon and Black Coffee showcase their pieces.

Many of them will include celebrities in their shows, including musicians Lira and Kelly Khumalo.

Somizi and AKA are also set to make an appearance on the catwalk this week.

The Star