Fashion lovers were dealt a thrilling hand of fabulous fashion from some of the biggest names in the South African design industry at the Vodacom Durban July Fashion Showcase, giving the audience a taste of what to expect on Vodacom Durban July raceday on July 2.
Models walked down the exquisitely patterned runway to the sounds of a sultry jazz band in creations from the eight Vodacom Durban July Invited Designers as well as raceday ensembles from the ten finalists of the Young Designer Award and the top nine entries from the aspiring Fashion Challenge, presented by Durban Fashion Fair.
Durban Invited Designers Karen Monk Klijnstra, Kathrin Kidger, Zama Mathe, Francois Vedemme, Hanrie Lues with Paledi Segapo and Shaldon Kopman from Johannesburg and Tamara Chèrie from Cape Town each showcased a show stopping collection of three ensembles inspired by the race day theme, ‘Leader of the Pack’.
Cape Town Invited Designer Tamara Chérie decided to design around the idea of a poker card game as, “What better hand to have then a royal flush of diamonds!” Inspired by different design elements and detailing in a pack of cards, Tamara created three outfits with navy, red, black and gold colouring and clean cut silhouettes.
For Durban favourite Kathrin Kidger, the pillars of raceday fashion – class and elegance – were key to her collection: “I was thinking more along the lines of what is happening internationally on the ramps and what makes you, as the designer, the leader of your fashion pack. My show stopper had elements that gave it that show like appeal, like embellishment and hand beading.”
Durban Designer Francois Vedemme was also lead by the thought of what a ‘Leader of the Pack’ meant and believed it’s, “Someone who shouldn’t follow what everybody else is doing.” His detailed but simple designs experimented with new cuts and explored florals and embroidery.
Menswear designer Paledi Segapo was led to his black and white Amish inspired collection by the concept of how a “‘Leader of the Pack’ in fashion, is someone who’s not afraid to experiment and give people an element of surprise. I wanted to take something with very simple lines and silhouettes, like the Amish style, and bring an element of surprise to it.”
Another rule breaker was Durban designer Karen Monk Klijnstra, who was inspired by the 60s rock band, The Shangri-Las, who wrote a song called “Leader of the Pack”. Her designs complete with a feather cape, psychedelic printed satin and maxi coats expressed Karen’s interpretation of the theme. “It was really cool to do an ode to rock stars as leaders of the pack with three off-the-wall rock star celebrity characters who are tripping on fashion.”
Shaldon Kopman carried through the ethos of his label, Naked Ape, into his outfits by designing a subtle collection of simple silhouettes that was all about, “Regality with a bit of afro funk.” Working with beautiful natural silk Shaldon developed a print for the fabrics that had a natural gold shimmer to it.
Zama Mathe’s dignified and fashion forward collection was inspired by African queens. The Zarth label designer explained her idea saying: “I took past leaders, brought them to life and dressed them for the Vodacom Durban July.” Her regal collection, modelled by a King, Queen and Princess, was inspired by the colour white found on playing cards.
Bridal designer Hanrie Lues also experimented with a neutral palette for her bohemian creations that were accented with macramé detailing saying: “I delved into the history of the playing cards and was struck by how they travelled between continents in the pockets of travellers, soldiers and explorers. In the beginning the back of the cards weren’t printed so I used this as my colour scheme. I also used natural cottons that are lightweight and ethereal as a nod to the vintage.”
As the Invited Designers are part of a showcase there are no prizes but each designer is presented with R5000 from Gold Circle, a Huawei P9 Lite Smartphone and R1000 gift card for the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Fashion lovers who didn’t manage to catch all the action will be able to see all the glamorous outfits on July 2 on raceday