SOUTH African Fashion Week draws on the cutting edge talents of dozens of designers who use the high-profile event to showcase their creativity but the bulk of their sales are not made from the catwalk but from the Buyer’s Lounge that takes place straight after the ramp extravaganza.
Port Elizabeth’s Calyx boutique owner Maryna Nortier is a regular at SAFW and picked out key trends for the spring/summer season shown last month in Johannesburg.
“The theme for summer is ultra-feminine, a lot of dresses, more than ever before, and they are very soft, with sheer fabrics and lots of layering,” she explained.
“There are still a lot of high-waisted pants, either peg-leg or very wide, one or the other.
“Old styles are coming back: tunics, pinafores, kaftans as well as the Audrey Hepburn look, along with touches like a Peter Pan collar. It was all very feminine and classic.”
Yellow, green, turquoise and navy were also big summer colours, along with splashes of animal print, while the “neutrals” of charcoal and stone would remain popular.
Her ramp favourites included designers such as:
ýClive Rundle: his theatrical presentation was “a spectacle to show his creativity”.
ýSuzaan Heyns: “our most classic designer, very elegant, tailored and understated, almost like a South African Armani”.
ýSies! Isabelle: “soft, flowing, so beautiful and very wearable” and Nortier predicts success “in leaps and bounds”.
ýColleen Eitzen: “her clothes are always beautiful!”
ýTerrence Bray: the personal designer to Princess Charlene of Monaco is “one of my favourites”.
ýHermanna Rush: this duo of Jacqui and Nicole Corfield was “also very wearable”.
The only Port Elizabeth designers at the SAFW last month, Silver Spoon, did not present a ramp show but their work was well-received at the Buyers’ Lounge.
It has its own studio in Richmond Hill, and Calyx also carries its designs.
The Walmer boutique stocks almost exclusively South African designers but although very few were based in the metro, Nortier said she was reluctant to buy fashion without the “touch” test of actually seeing and feeling the garment.
“I don’t buy anything that I don’t like, even though I might not wear it. Also, an outfit might have fantastic hanger appeal but when you put it on you look like nothing. I buy so selectively, but every garment has a buyer.
“We have the most incredible talent in South Africa and many of them have a huge market overseas.
“People say they don’t buy in Port Elizabeth, only in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and they buy only imported labels. They are shooting themselves in the foot because it is two to three times the price and they are not better garments.”
“The fit is so good because it is not mass produced.
“The most important thing is to dress as an individual. That is more fashionable than anything!”