Sunday Times

Cape-made cou­ture takes to Paris cat­walk

Be­hind the glam­our of one show at Paris Fash­ion Week was a team of gar­ment work­ers from the other end of the world

- By SUTHENTIRA GOVENDER Fashion · Fashion & Beauty · Cape Town · Paris · Paris Hilton · Austria · AS Monaco FC · Iceland · James Bond film series · London · London Records · Mayfair, London · Belgium · Paris Saint-Germain FC · New York County, NY · Heidi Montag · Delft · Pearl Thusi · Orange Is the New Black · Dascha Polanco · Naomie Harris

Tai­lor Vic­tor Terblanche qui­etly shed tears of pride as he watched svelte mod­els sashay down the run­way wear­ing the lat­est de­signs of South African fash­ion de­signer and busi­ness­woman Vanessa Gounden at Paris Fash­ion Week.

For two weeks the gar­ment-maker from Delft, Cape Town, and more than 30 col­leagues had worked tire­lessly to en­sure that ev­ery bead, stitch and seam was per­fect in the Africa Ris­ing col­lec­tion they were tasked with pro­duc­ing for Gounden’s show­ing in the French cap­i­tal last week.

The VG Ate­lier team — seam­stresses, cut­ters, bead­ers, prin­ters and tai­lors — were the peo­ple be­hind Gounden’s 40 pow­er­fully struc­tured state­ment suits and ma­jes­tic African­themed gowns. Since Gounden launched the la­bel in 2011, her wear­able-art gar­ments have graced celebri­ties such as Princess Char­lene of Monaco, Nomzamo Mbatha, Pearl Thusi, Or­ange is

the New Black ac­tress Dascha Polanco and James Bond beauty Naomie Har­ris.

Gounden, who also heads Hol­goun In­vest­ment Hold­ings, opened her first store in Lon­don’s May­fair dis­trict three years ago.

For Terblanche it was a proud mo­ment when the world’s fash­ion bri­gade cast their eyes on the col­lec­tion.

“As a tai­lor and a su­per­vi­sor it takes a lot out of you be­cause you must be every­where, en­sur­ing that every­thing is up to mark.

“We were un­der a lot of pres­sure be­cause we like our gar­ments to be per­fect. But we pulled it off. Some­times it makes you cry, be­cause you can’t be­lieve what you have done. It ends up all over the world and fa­mous peo­ple wear our work. We feel in­cred­i­bly proud, there are no words to de­scribe it,” said Terblanche.

Es­merelda Hartzen­berg, a pat­tern cut­ter, said she was burst­ing with pride when she watched the show.

“Ours is not or­di­nary fash­ion, our gar­ments are works of art. See­ing our work in Paris and at other fash­ion weeks like New York and Lon­don has given many of us a con­fi­dence boost. “I feel good about my­self know­ing I made a con­tri­bu­tion.” Fe­rial Meyer, who over­sees VG Ate­lier, said be­ing part of the op­er­a­tion made her re­alise that “you can com­pete with the rest of the world, and be good at it”.

Speak­ing from Lon­don, Gounden told the Sun­day Times her Africa Ris­ing col­lec­tion is an “artis­tic ded­i­ca­tion to the rise of African so­ci­ety from be­ing pre­vi­ously op­pressed dur­ing colo­nial oc­cu­pa­tion to its pros­per­ous rise in the global mar­ket”.

“I be­lieve I’m only as good as the peo­ple that sur­round me,” said Gounden. “I have an amaz­ingly tal­ented team that I have in­vested in over the years to cre­ate qual­ity gar­ments, and who never says no to a new chal­lenge. The qual­ity of my gar­ments speaks to the qual­ity of my team who are re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing my vi­sion a re­al­ity.

“Engi­neered prints are ex­tremely com­pli­cated when it comes to the con­struc­tion of a gar­ment. It is time-con­sum­ing and chal­leng­ing to ev­ery­one in the work-flow stream in­volved in the cre­ation of these pieces, from graphic artists to pat­tern mak­ers, pat­tern graders, prin­ters, cut­ters, seam­stresses and qual­ity con­trollers. Most im­por­tantly, a very com­pe­tent man­age­ment team,” Gounden said.

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 ??  ?? South African fash­ion de­signer and busi­ness­woman Vanessa Gounden dis­plays some cre­ations from her Africa Ris­ing col­lec­tion in Paris Fash­ion Week.
South African fash­ion de­signer and busi­ness­woman Vanessa Gounden dis­plays some cre­ations from her Africa Ris­ing col­lec­tion in Paris Fash­ion Week.
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