They begin in the imagination of talented designers, who use celebrities as muses or brand ambassadors.
South African couture designer Orapeleng Modutle is currently in the forefront when it comes to dressing some of our leading ladies for his label, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue.
“I get to dress some of the country’s top celebrities, an opportunity that is not afforded to many young designers,” says Modutle
“I have always wanted to dress Bonang Matheba because she is one of the best dressed red carpet queens. I have dressed all the celebrities that I have wanted to dress locally such as Ayanda Thabethe, Minnie Dlamini and Nomzamo Mbatha.
“The women that I dress form in line with the product that I deliver and they get attracted to the quality of the style that I deliver. It’s really knowing how to stick to your clientele and quality and craftsmanship is also very important,” he says. “Internationally, I would love to dress Jennifer Lopez and Kendall Jenner.”
I met Modutle before his African Fashion International Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town showcase.
The collection, titled “Rose Garden Wedding”, features subliminal gowns in sequins, chiffon, satin, structured corsets.
The designs are complemented by embellishments such as flowers, pearls, lace, feathers and hats by Anita Ferreira designs.
The theme of the collection says “Royalty is getting married and they have invited their elite family members and friends. The collection caters for the attendees, the mother of the bride and bridal party”.
Modutle said: “It’s a day of fun, people are wearing hats, butterflies on their hair and big gowns taking couture to another level.
“Our previous collection was very playful, our clientele was very young, she wore crop tops and shorts.
“The couture fashion scene in SA still need to grow, we need to educate our clients about the design and production process, the craftsmanship and the behind-the-scenes that goes into creating a couture garment.
“Some of my favourite international designers that I look up to for inspiration includes Tom Ford and Elie Saab and locally Gavin Rajah and Gert-Johan Coetzee are amazing at couture,”he says. Modutle, the Tshwane University of Technology fashion graduate, developed his love for fashion and attention for details while watching his mother and grandmother do needle work.
“I used to watch them hand stitching and that caught my attention from when I was about eight- years-old - that’s when I also developed my love for sketching.
“The first item I made in varsity was a pencil skirt, which took me a whole two weeks to make. My big break came when I interned with Khensani Nkosi of Stoned Cherie. That was an amazing experience and she is the pillar of where I am now.
“I learnt a lot about how she ran her business. She taught me that fashion is not all about the glitz and the glam,” he says.
Describe the Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue woman?
“She is between the ages of 20 and 60. She is a romantic. She exudes opulence and luxury.
She is the kind of woman that will wear a pencil skirt with a slit paired with with a feather jacket to work,” he says.
His advice for aspiring designers: “You need to learn the skill of design, your talent is not enough. Once you know the skill get an internship.
It’s very important because you will be working with other people who have been in the industry longer than you.”
* Connect with Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue on instagram @Orapelengmodutle.
* Look Book photography Credits: Creative direction: Rich Mnisi. Styling: Bee Diamondhead Photographer: Apart Verrips. Hats: Anita Ferreiradesigns. Make-Up Artist: Muzi Zuma. Flowers: Amor Flowers South Africa.