“My favourite mo­ments” By de­signer Gert-johan Coet­zee

Since launch­ing his epony­mous la­bel in 2010, Gert-johan Coet­zee has been mak­ing ex­quis­ite cre­ations for A-list celebs around the world, col­lab­o­rated with the world’s top brands and be­come the men­tor for SA’S Project Run­way. Here, the award-win­ning de­signe

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents -

1 Men­tor­ing on Project Run­way SA

Ful­fill­ing the role of men­tor on Project Run­way SA has been a dream of mine since the launch of the US show in 2004.

I know it’ll not only be an en­ter­tain­ing show, but will also up­lift the SA fash­ion in­dus­try as a whole by in­tro­duc­ing SA de­sign­ers to the broader pub­lic, and en­cour­ag­ing the view­ers to recog­nise what we have here and sup­port lo­cal de­sign.

I’m on the look­out for a win­ner who has pas­sion, drive and ta­lent, and I hope that by men­tor­ing each con­tes­tant through the sea­son, these traits will be brought out in them.

2 The power of Thuli Madon­sela

The Vic­tory Dress, as we named it, was truly one of the most recog­nis­able gowns we’ve ever de­signed – we even have the photo framed, as it was such an hon­our to dress our es­teemed for­mer Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor, Thuli Madon­sela, for her fi­nal SONA in 2016.

Ear­lier that week, the Con­sti­tu­tional Court up­held the le­git­i­macy of Thuli’s Nkandla re­port, and she re­ally ex­uded that spirit of vic­tory on the red car­pet that day. It was this spirit that in­spired the sun-yel­low colour we chose; it rep­re­sents the hope that she gave the whole coun­try.

3 My wed­ding

My wed­ding day in 2014 was the most spe­cial day in my life; an in­ti­mate gather­ing of my and Vicky’s clos­est friends and fam­ily – the 30 peo­ple in this photo. We had a two-day cel­e­bra­tion at a na­ture re­serve, which al­lowed us to spend time with the peo­ple clos­est to us. We never wanted a big, stress­ful and tra­di­tional wed­ding, so the cer­e­mony only took 15 min­utes, and there were no speeches – all very per­sonal and homely.

On the sec­ond evening, we had a Moroc­can-themed night on a hill­top with a dance floor, huge fires and Moroc­can tents.

4 Part­ner­ing with real lux­ury

In 2015, I part­nered with Fer­rari to launch our au­tumn/ win­ter 2016 col­lec­tion. I be­lieve that fash­ion and the auto in­dus­try are nat­u­ral part­ners, as both in­dus­tries de­mand lux­ury and ex­cel­lence in de­sign.

Our show­case took place at the Scud­e­ria Fer­rari SHOW­ROOM in Joburg, and it was an amaz­ing spec­ta­cle to see couture gowns along­side these gor­geous cars, and how seam­lessly they worked to­gether.

5 Col­lab­o­rat­ing with a global icon

Our new­est range (worn by Nomzamo Mbatha, right) is in cel­e­bra­tion of Mcdon­ald’s Big Mac turn­ing 50, and to sup­port the Ron­ald Mcdon­ald House Char­ity (RMHC). The golden arches are an iconic pop cul­ture sym­bol, and it’s been such a plea­sure to have such pow­er­ful iconog­ra­phy to play with.

The col­lec­tion also in­tro­duced our new brand ex­ten­sion, Gert, aimed at a younger mar­ket who love street fash­ion. I’m super proud that we cur­rently have the only Mcdon­ald’s-ap­proved cloth­ing line in the world. Plus, all pro­ceeds go to RMHC, which pro­vides care for the fam­i­lies of chil­dren re­ceiv­ing treat­ment in hos­pi­tals.

6 Kelly Row­land step­ping out in GJC

I was in­vited to meet Kelly at a friend’s party while she was vis­it­ing SA, and had given her a dress as a gift. She was lovely and warm, and loved the dress – which was heavy, as it was made from fully-beaded fab­ric.

There is never a guar­an­tee that a celeb will wear your de­signs, but she not only wore it at a Hol­ly­wood event, she also tagged me on In­sta­gram and in­tro­duced the GJC brand to an in­ter­na­tional au­di­ence.

7 Kourt­ney Kardashian wear­ing GJC

When Kourt­ney stepped out in a GJC dress at the 2011 Peo­ple’s Choice Awards, a whole new chap­ter started in my ca­reer.

It was a com­plete sur­prise, be­cause we de­liv­ered it to Kim as a gift when she came to SA. In­sider info re­vealed that Kourt­ney saw the dress when Kim was un­pack­ing at home, fell in love with it and claimed it for the awards.

8 My bur­sary pro­gramme

Help­ing young peo­ple reach their full po­ten­tial is one of my main goals in life. Eight years ago, we launched our first bur­sary for one young ta­lent to study fash­ion de­sign at the North West School of De­sign, and the pro­gramme has been grow­ing ever since.

I of­fer per­sonal men­tor­ship to each of the Gert-johan Coet­zee Bur­sary stu­dents through­out their years of study, and they in­tern at my stu­dio dur­ing hol­i­days to get to know the busi­ness and to learn all they need to know that will en­able them to build their own ca­reers as de­sign­ers.

9 The magic of wed­dings

Minnie Dlamini is a dear friend, and such an au­then­tic per­son. When she got engaged, I im­me­di­ately of­fered to cre­ate a dress for her. She wanted to look and feel like a princess on her spe­cial day, and we worked to­gether to make that hap­pen.

Out of our ses­sions, we cre­ated prob­a­bly the most pub­li­cised wed­ding dress in SA, with a big re­veal on her TV spe­cial Be­com­ing Mrs Jones. It was made out of more than 150m of tulle, adorned with cus­tom silk de­tail, 3D-printed lilies and hand-beaded with Swarovski crys­tals.

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