‘Tornado’ turns heads at J&B Met

ON THE STYLE TRACK: Cleo Allison, left, designed the tornado-inspired dress worn by her sister, Amber, to the J&B Met races in Cape Town -
ON THE STYLE TRACK: Cleo Allison, left, designed the tornado-inspired dress worn by her sister, Amber, to the J&B Met races in Cape Town –

A Uitenhage fashion design student and her 18-year-old matric sister were the toast of the J&B Met race day last weekend with their “avant garde” style.

Cleo Allison won the all-expenses paid trip for two to Cape Town for her NMMU second-year fashion design range presented at Fairview Race Course last year. She designed black, white and grey outfits to the theme “forces of nature”, with the image of a tornado in mind. Cleo took along the same female model – her sister Amber, a Strelitzia High School pupil – to the Met to showcase

her winning designs and kept the fashion track in the family by asking Cape Town cousin Jason Kiwiet to be her male model.

“The weekend at the Met was absolutely amazing, I had a great experience and definitely plan to go next year,” said Cleo on her return this week. “I made a couple of contacts, people who are involved in the design world, and I am forever grateful to Phumelela Gaming for the opportunity!”

She said the annual celebrity race day had been overshadowed by the death of television personality Simba Mhere, killed in a car crash on his way from Johannesburg to Cape Town. “The Top Billing crew left and there were not as many famous people in the VIP tent, perhaps because of that.”

Although her designs did not win the “best dressed” competition, she said several guests in the “Pocket Power” VIP lounge had asked her about her deigns, particularly her own outfit of lace, tulle and scuba knit in shades of navy, nude and mint. “The judges looked at the garments but mine were more avant garde than elegant,” she said, with the eventual winners “very colourful and dressed for the theme of ‘Made for the Mix’.”

This month Cleo has been interning at Hoiden, the Richmond Hill fashion boutique owned by young designers Este Chambers and Marjorie Erasmus, before she returns to NMMU for her third year of fashion design studies.

Cleo plans to make a small range for Hoiden, under her own label Cleo Allison South Africa: “I’ve got so many sources of inspirations, and Este and Marjorie are among them.’

Phumelela Gaming promotions manager Karen le Roux said the Mother’s Day prawn festival, where Cleo won her prize, was on the cards again for Sunday May 10.

“From a fashion perspective, we will also be building on what we had in previous years and would like to include a wider segment of the fashion community,” she said.

“We are planning to go ahead with the prawn festival, building on what we started last year, improving it and making it even bigger and better.”

-Gillian McAinsh 

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