This was a day for the new and emerging.

The shows had a very slow start, running much later than their appointed time. To open the re-shaped Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg was The Intern by David Tlale with Cindy Mfabe’s back slits showing the value of a whole garment and not just focusing on frontal view. Maxwell Boko had side-view graphics of faces, which was loved by the audience. All of the collections had a way of complementing each other, where blocks of colours and panelling were in order. One could also recognise the commercial viability. It’s clothes that will sell, which is good. The six designers including Mmuso Potsane, Siphosihle Masango, Angeline Mafemo and Ntando Ngwenya showed the purpose of this apprenticeship under David Tlale, which seeks to really advance design processes, pattern and engineering, making sure the young designer’s end products are hi-tech garments. The apprenticeship is so rigorous and competitive that it started with nine and now there are six and will conclude with one designer working as Tlale’s assistant for a year.
Colour by Nandi Mngoma and Inga Madyibi started with soft pastel hues that considered Pantone’s 2016 colours: rose quarts and serenity. These soft pinks and blues were flattering in floral embroidery on collared tops, trapeze-shaped dresses with one grey skirt having the most intriguing pleats. There was a distinct feminine lightness to a part of the collection. Another part which was in grey, white and black had concerning fittings and the avant-garde attempt was also visible, but when broken down, and removing fixtures that are for show purposes, it then becomes wearable clothes of silhouette-hugging dresses, others with billowed bottoms, wrap skirts, as well as chic trousers and capes. Mngoma’s dress which she debuted at the BET awards and wowed many, was also presented as is, without modification.
The next slot was of designers who are not so new and have been trading for a while. Modest clothing that had the spring-summer essentials, such as florals and lightness was what Bulbulia Threads by Tasleem Bulbulia presented. Wake by Pieter Burger had geometrics in easy, roomy garments that are not too contrived but still fitting designer segment. Matte Nolim by Siyethemba Duma, gave us a woman who is about elegant cropped tops, some off the shoulders and high-waist pants.
The closing line-up was Fastrack, which came with a spin this year. Entertainers collaborated with young designers and of the three, Tayla Nguskos x Minnie Dlamini were outstanding. The sportiness of the collection was not overbearing and there was a reference to tennis gear, which is wearable, especially the mini skirts, it made sense for it to have a pretty funk. And the Perspex jackets with roping attached were a beautiful design. Chesney Williams x DJ Zinhle were about pop-styles, relayed from the badging trend. The indigo line had overalls and sheer tops, all styled with flashy sole mate shoes. Buda Malete x DJ Tira was mostly for the confident and bold guy who likes pink. From the trans-seasonal trousers in olive to tops that will work for women; tied as knots on the shoulders, the most appealing pieces of this collection were the jackets, in bomber shapes and others having the soft utilitarian feel of parkas and anoraks.
Image from AFI

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