Diana Tadjuideen moved from France to South Africa for love and found herself enamoured with the fashion scene. So much so that she decided to bring her already established label, Diane Paris, to Mzansi.

This week, the 31-year-old designer and model launched her showroom in Dunkeld and also unveiled her Autumn/Winter 2017 collection. Most of the clothes are made in Poland, which is reflected by the price. A beautiful hooded fur – which comes in white, black and brown – will set you back about R6000.

The clothes are quite fashion forward and are worn by influencers such as Sarah Langa. Reflecting on the new collection, Tadjuideen told me: “We love lace, pure cotton and mid-length skirts. The collection also has high-waisted pants.”

“I have lots of lovely jackets. What’s also going to be big is the cold shoulder with the turtleneck or a cold shoulder with just a normal top or dress. The colours that will be on trend this season are burgundy, green/emerald, grey and black and navy.”

Speaking of colour, this soft-spoken fashionista says this is one of the reasons she loves living in South Africa. “South Africans are very creative and open-minded,” she says. “So, so kind. Basically, I am mixed – my mom is Polish and my father is from Togo. I was born in France. And for me, France was always too little.”

“Africa, and South Africa, has so many different types of people. South Africa has a lot of cultures and when I arrived with my style and everything, I felt like it was home. I didn’t have to change much and I felt like I could express myself.”

“Here, I can put out a lot of colours and everyone will love it. In France, it’s more settled, there isn’t much colour and here, you can really express yourself and no one is going to look at you badly.”

It helps that her romantic relationship has kept her grounded on Mzansi soil too.“I’m French, from Paris, and I moved here because of my boyfriend who I met in London,” she smiles. “We’re still together. So I have been living here for three-and-a-half years.”

Back in France, Tadjuideen says she knew as early as 16 years old that she wanted to work in fashion. “When I was young, I always wanted to be in fashion,” she explains. “My sister is younger than me but she started modelling and then I followed her.”

“Being a model and working with stylists and designers, I didn’t know I wanted to have my own brand. It just came naturally because I was always with those kinds of people and they were always trying different styles on me. I started to create a few pieces for myself.”

“Then my mom said: ‘listen. Your dresses are very nice and your friends are loving them so why don’t you make more dresses for your friends?’ That’s how I started my label. I made stuff for my friends and then their friends and I decided to a collection. And that all started in the south of France. Then I moved here and now we’re launching the Autumn/Winter collection.”

As far as the name of the brand goes, Tadjuideen explains that while her name is Diana, “the brand is Diane because my parents always called me Diane. On my passport it says Diana. But I guess it’s just shorter so it’s fine.”

The Diane Paris AW17 collection is stunning but you can only see it if you book an appointment. This is all a part of the brand’s identity. As says: “The showroom is now open to the public but it’s by appointment only.”

“We really want to give clients a whole experience,” she continues. “This is a lifestyle that we want to show and experience with them so I prefer to have one-on-ones with clients. Also, I want people who are interested in the brand to come on purpose and not just people who are walking by on the street. That’s why we are here.”

Viewing the Diane Paris collection is by appointment only. Visit www.diane-paris.com to book