Designer donates dresses to make girls' dreams come true

[caption id="attachment_35115" align="alignright" width="620"] FAIRY GODMOTHERS: Designer Odette Coetzee, centre, donated dresses from her Kamma Park studio to the Princess Project represented by Tammy Goosen, left and Pam Barnard. Picture: DEON VAN DER WALT[/caption]

MATRIC girls who fear they might not have a matric-dance dress can start dreaming now, as the Princess Project has received a donation of 36 dresses from designer Odette Coetzee.

The project, which helps impoverished matriculants to look like a million dollars at their matric dance, is steered by Nelson Mandela Bay's very own "fairy godmothers", Pam Barnard and Tammy Goosen.

They received 10 evening gowns, five cocktail dresses and 21 wedding gowns by Odette at her bridal studio, "Designs by Odette", in Kamma Park.

Having realised her life-long dream of owning her own studio, Odette wanted to donate some of her life's work to women who needed them.

"I also don't have enough space in my studio and since all my garments are now on sale, I decided to donate a few gowns to young ladies," she says. "I hope to make a difference at a crucial stage in their lives."

"Every girl deserves to look good on their wedding day or any special day," says Pam. "We are thankful to people like Odette, who give life to the project with their generosity."

Pam and Tammy are overwhelmed by the donation as Odette's dresses are new and in beautiful condition.

"Sometimes we receive moth-eaten dresses that fall apart," says Pam. "This donation, however, proves that people care and believe in the project. We did not expect so many dresses, let alone new dresses! We cannot thank Odette enough."

Odette, who exhibited her wedding dresses at last month's The Herald Boardwalk Bridal Fair, creates gorgeous gowns ranging from wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses to cocktail dresses. She has gone from being owner of a clothing boutique to transforming part of her home into a bridal studio.

"Since I can remember it has been my passion to work with fabrics and create beautiful outfits, which I did first for myself then also for others," she says.

Although the Princess Project is aimed at matric dances, the dresses can become anything the "princesses" want them to be. They range from size 8 to 18. "With a few minor alterations even the wedding gowns can be transformed into stunning formal evening dresses that are perfectly suited for matric farewells", says Odette.

The project recently helped a needy bride in King William's Town who could not afford the luxury of a wedding gown. Her bridesmaids also wore some of the matric-dance dresses. It was not a big wedding, but they were all able to look stunning on the special day. - Sinesipho Mbandazayo

  • Contact the Princess Project on: 076 113 6659 (Pam), 082 829 2300 (Tammy).