Fash­ion for Africa

30 African de­sign­ers show­cased their work, writes RE­BECCA JACK­MAN

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE -

FASH­ION­ISTAS from across the con­ti­nent de­scended on Joburg and Pre­to­ria this week, ea­ger to be a part of the vi­brance, flair and colour of Mercedes- Benz Fash­ion Week Africa, which is this year show­cas­ing the work of 30 de­sign­ers from 15 African coun­tries.

Fash­ion Week Africa is the third an­nual event on African Fash­ion In­ter­na­tional’s cal­en­dar, af­ter Mercedes-Benz Fash­ion Week Cape Town and Joburg. The fourth and fi­nal event of the year will be the Africa Fash­ion Awards, which take place tomorrow evening.

Hosted by the City of Tsh­wane, most of the Fash­ion Week Africa run­way shows took place in Pre­to­ria’s City Hall.

Cape Town de­signer Gavin Ra­jah of­fi­cially kicked off the event. He was fol­lowed on Wed­nes­day evening by Amaze Africa, a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort com­bin­ing fash­ion, tech­nol­ogy and na­ture. The brand brought to­gether 14 lead­ing fash­ion and ac­ces­sory de­sign­ers from across Africa, paired them up and asked them to present four “ex­clu­sive looks that de­fine a fu­tur­is­tic vi­sion for Africa”.

De­sign­ers from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Tan­za­nia, An­gola, the Ivory Coast and Uganda worked to­gether to cre­ate “a col­lab­o­ra­tive aes­thetic”, which proved very pop­u­lar with the fash­ion­ista crowd.

Mozam­bi­can de­signer Taibo Bacar, named de­signer of the year at last year’s Africa Fash­ion Awards, paired with Cape Town ac­ces­sory de­signer Pichu­lik, with the theme “cy­cads”, to cre­ate an al­most tree­like aes­thetic of sleek greens and browns, and the ethe­real ef­fect of gold hair.

Mean­while, de­sign­ers Sun­noz Fiel and Tekasala ma’at Nzinga, for brand Pro­jecto Men­tal, from An­gola, brought Afri-chic suits to the run­way, paired with printed bags by Kenyan ac­ces­sories brand Rift Val­ley Leather.

Top South African cou­turier David Tlale closed the first day. Guests were bun­dled into buses and trans­ported to a se­cret off­site lo­ca­tion, the Rovos Rail sta­tion, where he marked the 10th an­niver­sary of his brand by com­bin­ing the magic of rail travel and bal­let into an en­chant­ing run­way show on the plat­form.

He also showed his ready-to-wear col­lec­tion, A Celebration of Her­itage, with mod­els emerg­ing from the dark­ness at the end of the plat­form in vi­brant green and red, gold-tinged prints, fol­lowed by no less than 20 pink dresses.

On Thurs­day night Mar­i­anne Fassler watched not from back­stage, but smil­ing from the front row as she pre­sented her own col­lec­tion of bold and beau­ti­ful prints and fem­i­nine, flow­ing dresses.

The high­light was cer­tainly the white­and-grey del­i­cately-printed wed­ding dress, which cre­ated much chat­ter among the crowd.

Fassler also paired with ac­ces­sory de­signer Quamta for Amaze Africa the pre­vi­ous night be­fore.

Last night Bacar was back on the run­way for his own show, along with the col­lec­tions of Bongiwe Walaza, Duaba Serwa, Mu­rade, Mustafa Has­sanali and Soucha.

Tonight the fes­ti­val of fash­ion is set to end with shows from So­phie Zinga, Pro­jecto Men­tal, and an off-site fi­nale by Cape Town’s own KLUK CGDT, a col­lab­o­ra­tion by de­sign duo Mal­colm Kluk and Chris­ti­aan Gabriel du Toit.

re­becca.jack­man@inl.co.za

HERE COMES THE BRIDE: Mar­i­anne Fassler’s grey-and-white, del­i­cately printed wed­ding gown was the high­light of her show. Its run­way de­but at the end of Fassler’s ex­trav­a­ganza on Thurs­day night caused much chat­ter among the crowd.

OUT OF AFRICA: Gor­geous cat­walk cre­ations from Mar­i­anne Fassler (left and cen­tre left). Right and cen­tre right are the out­fits of David Tlale, who closed the first day with a se­cret-lo­ca­tion show on the Rovos Rail plat­form.

BOY’S OWN: Lau­rence Air­line, the fash­ion la­bel from Abid­jan, Ivory Coast, show­cased menswear

CUT-OUT COU­TURE: This elab­o­rate work of art, fea­tur­ing cut-out cou­ture by David Tlale, was among his col­lec­tion of inim­itable de­signs.

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