Tlale’s new Let­soku

CityPress - - Trending - GAR­RETH VAN NIEK­ERK gar­reth.van­niek­erk@city­

For the past two weeks, City Press, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with, has brought some style to your hol­i­days with a free and ex­tremely fab­u­lous sheet of de­signer wrap­ping paper in­serted into each edi­tion of City Press for you to col­lect and use. The first of the de­sign­ers was Rich Mnisi, then it was Craig Ja­cobs, and this week we bring you our fi­nal de­signer for the se­ries – David Tlale.

We caught up with him in his Jo­han­nes­burg stu­dio, where he ex­plained the ori­gin of the print’s ti­tle, Let­soku, which the Tlale stu­dio de­fines as “the vis­ually graphic adorn­ment of tra­di­tional South African women’s make-up”. It com­bines ex­plo­sions of ochre with splashes of cobalt blue, black and white in myr­iad swirling, sym­met­ri­cal forms.

“Let­soku is the sim­ple for­mat of how women, par­tic­u­larly Ba­sotho or Pedi women, take the red stones, grind them to­gether, ap­ply wa­ter to it and use it like make-up. With that, we fused tiny el­e­ments of the geo­met­rics from the Nde­bele with the colours from Nde­bele cul­ture to cre­ate the three-colour pal­ette. Cobalt blue is also the trend­ing colour for the next few sea­sons, in case you didn’t know.”

The play­ful reimag­in­ing of tra­di­tional tech­niques makes Tlale’s aes­thetic what it is. “Be­yond any­thing else, we’re purely say­ing that Africa has moved on, and that it can be rev­o­lu­tion­ary, and we’re say­ing that any­one in the world can wear an African print.”

The hol­i­days are go­ing to be tra­di­tional for him and the ex­tended fam­ily. “I’m look­ing for­ward to church – ob­vi­ously – and lunch with my fam­ily at a long ta­ble, and some time to play with my nieces and neph­ews, who I haven’t spent enough time with lately,” he says.

The one thing every woman needs to have in her wardrobe next year? “With­out a doubt it is a David Tlale power blouse, which is white and made out of Egyp­tian cot­ton. I be­lieve it is a way to con­quer the world but still keep your fem­i­nin­ity around your shoul­ders at all times. It’s the per­fect white shirt.”

Tlale’s Spree col­lec­tion is avail­able online, so go to for the per­fect gift to put in­side your brand-new gift wrap.


MORE THAN MAKE-UP Tra­di­tional beauty tech­niques in­spired the new David Tlale col­lec­tion of pat­terns and de­signs


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