Celebs in the fashion front row, by design
● The designers are calling the shots at South African fashion shows when it comes to who gets the best seats in the house.
At the AFI Johannesburg Fashion Week 2018 this week, celebrities graced the runway to model outfits while clients and politicians were ushered to frontrow seats.
Among the designs on show were those of Presidential, the label that designed many of Nelson Mandela’s shirts and more recently shirts worn by the Springbok rugby team ahead of the Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth. The match last month was dedicated to the memory of Mandela, who would have turned 100 this year.
Theresa Giannuzzi, who produced Presidential’s show at fashion week, said clients who wore the brand’s creations were in the front row. Among them were musician Tresor Riziki from the Democratic Republic of Congo, TV personality Mthoko “Dash” Mkhathini and Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“All are people who exhibit presidential character,” Giannuzzi said.
Other well-known figures who have worn Presidential designs include middle-distance runner Caster Semenya, musician Vusi Mahlasela, Nigerian religious leader TB Joshua and US hip-hop artist French Montana.
Giannuzzi said fashion shows were a great opportunity to connect with people. The Presidential collection seen on Friday night was inspired by the vibrant and diverse cultures, styles and people of Africa and Asia.
For her new collection, designer Khosi Nkosi had celebrities such as radio presenter Tumi Voster, TV personality Khanya Mkangisa and actress/singer Dineo Moeketsi doing modelling duty.
Politicians’ wives Norma Gigaba and Thembeka Cele were “frowing” — as being in the front row is known — during Orapeleng Modutle’s show.
“My guest list is made of people who buy the brand and this includes high-profile business people, while the rest, like media and influencers, are handled by my management,” said Modutle.
“My clients love quality and prefer exclusive service. We have to make sure they’re accommodated at our shows.”
Modutle said that when he first started showing at fashion weeks, he would see a lot of people in the audience who were of little benefit to designers.