Collaborating with Sunflower Foundation, a non-profit organisation that promotes bone marrow donation, the charity show on Wednesday was titled “Constructivism: art with a social meaning and practical purpose”.
The showcase included delicate gowns in chiffon and futuristic fabrics as well as separates of flattering dresses, pants and skirts in vivid green, yellow and red.
Established designers Gavin Rajah, Sperro Villioti and Thula Sindi presented their summer collections on Day two at the Mall of Africa. Rajah’s collaboration with homeware retailer @Home is worth talking about. The flamboyant designer’s aesthetic is luxurious fabrics, intricate detailing and bold designs that command attention.
Traces of this are evident in the limited collection named Prêt À Vivre (Ready to Live). A first of its kind in the market, it’s made up of hand-crafted linen and scented massage candles.
Inspired by the joy of living, with a nod to the historical roots of the couture movement, this collaboration is part of a move to make couture more accessible to style-lovers.
The Gavin Rajah showcase. Picture by SDR/Photo
Rajah’s spring and summer 17/18 range was inspired by the period before World War I (1871-1914), a time that stirred “joie de vivre” in people. Geometric and floral patterns found in the architecture of Paris and Russia then make appearances throughout the collection, alluding to the adventurous spirit of the time.
The range features muted colours, charged with a sense of exoticism through wild animal prints and delicate French garden embroideries. Texture is added with intricate embroidery and beading, as well as through the choice of fabrics used. The looks showcased included strong graphic silhouettes, juxtaposed with a few floaty pieces. Daring thigh-high slits, plunging necklines and see-through fabrics are just some of the cuts that stood out. The runway looks were paired with hair flower crowns and eye-popping make-up composed of splashes of blush pink and yellow.
“This season I wanted to really show our craftsmanship, and push my atelier to explore technically difficult garment constructions and finishes,” said Rajah.
“Couture is fine craftsmanship, but at the same time it is about innovation and change - this collection embraces that,” he added.
Designer Thula Sindi’s showcase included black, monochrome and red pieces that can be worn at the office or on fun nights out with the girls. He added a dapper menswear look to the collection which was a welcome deviation from his usual womenswear collections.