Johannesburg - With a tribute to former president Nelson Mandela, SA Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2014 collections came to a glittering end in Johannesburg at the weekend.
In an artistic and poignant tribute to the late statesman, renowned designer Gert Johan Coetzee paid homage to Mandela the only way he knows how – by drawing inspiration from him for his designs.
With background ramp music featuring speeches by Mandela and statement T-shirts bearing the face of the icon, Coetzee managed to evoke emotions from designers and fashionistas who had packed the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosebank.
“It was only fitting that I feature our late and former president in my collection,” said Coetzee, speaking after the show.
Coetzee, who recently got married to his partner, Vicky Visagie, showcased on both the opening and closing night of the week.
While most of the more than 40 designers chose to stick to the traditional black and white, designers such as Coetzee, Durban’s Vino and Craig Jacobs of Fundudzi experimented with different colours.
Bright red, neon, blue and lime characterised the designers’ collections, which was appreciated by the host of celebrities who attended the shows.
“I thought Gert’s use of colour was phenomenal,” said presenter and actress Zuraida Jardine, who was wearing a straight-cut black dress with a matching slim figure belt.
Her sentiments were echoed by Strictly Come Dancing runner-up and Vuzu presenter Lalla Harayama.
In tight-fitting black leather pants and a bright yellow coat, the bubbly Harayama said she was an advocate of colour, adding that the brighter the colour, the better.
Other celebrities who attended the event included fashionista Lerato Kganyago, “it” girl Minnie Dlamini, and Maps Maponyane, 2013 Cosmopolitan’s sexiest man and son of legendary soccer player Marks Maponyane.
Businesswoman and activist Gerry Rantseli-Elsdon sizzled in an Indian-inspired ensemble, with blingy crystals.
The event was not only about Johannesburg and famous designers, as KwaZulu-Natal’s finest emerging designers also took to the ramp to showcase what they are made of.
Friday’s show, sponsored by the KZN Fashion Council and Lufthansa, was dominated by local designers, including Claire Mackenzie, Thembeka Vilakazi and Casey Walters, who left the audience gushing at their elegant and quirky designs.
Local designers said they were ecstatic with the reception, adding that they hoped to showcase again next year.
Mackenzie ended the week with the biggest smile of all the designers after scooping the coveted Young Star award.
Unlike last year, judges this year decided to conduct a lucky draw to choose their winner from the six up-and-coming designers.
Mackenzie, who won a trip to Berlin Fashion Week in Germany, said she was “over the moon”.
Her collection was dominated by floral prints, crop shirts and sexy formal shorts.
It was not all about womenswear as bold menswear featured prominently during the week, with the pair from Loxion Kulca bringing a western touch to their usual African print designs.
Their attention to detail and trimming in their collection – which consisted of overlapping shirts, suits and classic jumpsuits – was impeccable.
Ephraim Molingoana of Ephymol did not disappoint, and received a standing ovation.
From the models he selected to walk the ramp in his designs to his intriguing and elegant infusion of bright colours, Western and African print, Molingoana put on a stellar show.
He also showcased how a gutsy modern man might wear a classic suit in his multi-coloured slim fitting ones. - NONDUMISO MBUYAZI, Daily News