Four glorious days of style, design and local talent celebrations: We booked out our diaries to surround ourselves with the most creative fashion engineers and the products of their skill and imagination. We didn't miss a beat and we made sure you won't, either. Here's your thorough synopsis of SA Fashion Week.

Day 1


Gert-Johan Coetzee

Gert-Johan Coetzee via Facebook


Starting SA Fashion Week with a glittery bang, the Gert-Johan Coetzee show was held off-site at the Ferrari showroom in Bryanston. It was glamorous from the get-go: Guests were welcomed at a Veuve Clicquot champagne bar, where swanky socialites mingled with celebrities and fashionistas. This by-invitation-only event attracted the who’s-who of the Joburg social scene, and when the first model with a sharp Chinese bob-style ponytail stepped onto the runway, notes were scribbled furiously. Using cobalt blue fabric, an abundance of sparkle, tulle and touches of stonewash, Coetzee once again proved to the fashion world that he knows how to design a dress. His show dramatically concluded with the live transformation of a stunning red gown shedding its layers to reveal a tight-fitting bombshell-worthy dress. Then, of course, Coetzee himself arrived on the catwalk in a slick white Ferarri. Ever the showstopper.

Day 2


Sunglass Hut New Talent Search Competition


The first show at the Crowne Plaza in Rosebank, the official venue of SA Fashion Week, celebrated the collections of the Sunglass Hut New Talent Search finalists. This initiative gives established and emerging designers the opportunity to bring their masterpieces to the runway and to the attention of the public.

With
First on the floor was Dean Charles Hauptfleisch’s label With. Cream and pastel colours, natural fabrics, loose fits, complex patterns, sandals with socks and half bonnets characterized his avant-garde designs and the noncomformist methodology behind them. For the fashionably bold and brave, Hauptfleisch’s pieces adventurously cross the boundaries beyond standard functional attire.

Somerset Jane
Somerset Jane impressed with a chic, monochromatic collection. Understated elegance is revived through patterned fabric and intriguing style components seen specifically in items such as her gorgeous brown cape. The subtle two-toned colours used in her jackets and polo-neck tops add fashionable flavour to everyday wear.

Greerkyle
Greerkyle opened to zealous support from the audience. The models wore All Star high-top sneakers, which added a playful feel to the predominantly brown and grey collection. Inverted triangle skirts; oversize plaid hoodies; and jackets with embellished shoulder designs paired with simple pencil skirts combined casual with professional in an edgy way.

Mod_ish
Mod_ish is a brand created by two Muslim sisters as a celebration and acknowledgement of their Afghan heritage. Combining modesty with fashion-forward design, their collection includes denim, jumpsuits, maxi skirts, flowy pants and head scarves, with a brush of patterns across each look. It represents a fresh way to incorporate cultural elements into the modern fashion world.

Iamoine
Twenty-six-year-old designer Farah Ione Wallett wants her Iamoine collection to represent the “kaleidoscope culture” of South Africa. We certainly got a feel for our nation’s rainbow nation through each one of her diverse creations. From a country-style cream-coloured dress worn with cowboy boots to a red tartan skirt paired with a rocker blazer with leopard-print sleeves, Farah’s designs encapsulate the spirit and soul of our people.


And the winner is….

With!

With, Winner of Sunglass Hut New Talent Search via SA Fashion Week


Dean Charles Hauptfleisch walked away with a ticket to London Fashion Week as well as other pop-up shop and showcasing opportunities. 

Colleen Eitzen

The runway was amplified with bundles of fluorescent tubes on the floor, and zigzag lines brought the models closer to the audience in a departure from the typical straight-walking format. Colleen Eitzen’s customer-focused design philosophy sees shades and patterns of brown used in long-sleeve midi dresses and flowy knickerbockers. Her textured, high-waisted pantsuit with its wavy, feminine jacket lapel speaks to the 70s throwback trend, with endless potential for autumn 2016.

Rubicon

A curvy model wearing a long, tight, bright peachy-pink dress opened the floor. This attention grabber was followed by floor-length muted grey skirts with African-patterned belts and patches. One in particular was worn with a high-neck ruffle blouse of the same bright peachy hue as the opening dress. Catchy combinations and an imaginative use of detail create a fabulously feminine range, which will fare well within the Joburg fashion scene.

Amanda Laird Cherry

Amanda Laird Cherry via Website


Sound bites of calls of the wild introduced Amanda Laird Cherry’s assortment. It was a brilliant way to catapult the audience into her fashion world that she refers to as winter safari resort wear. Loose pants with thin ropes as belts and shirts made out of her signature Table Mountain printed fabric added a sporty, adventurous facet to a courageous casual collection.

Clive Rundle

Dramatic, deep organ church music led the models, wearing Union Jack Dr Martens, onto the runway. Touches of streaky silver fabric were intertwined with dark brown velvet in multilayered and asymmetrically constructed skirts and dresses. Our absolute favourite was the striking blue-purple velvet jumpsuit with a cape.

Sies! Isabelle

Gathering huge support from the audience with models carrying placards supporting the #feesmustfall uprising, the designs centred around skirts and dresses. The cream wool maxidress is incredible and the designer’s use of a rusty burgundy colour blended with a rose pink reminded us of nature’s very own shades of autumn. 

Thabo Makhetha

To say we were obsessed with this collection may be an understatement. Using the famous Basotho blanket (Kobo Ea Bohali) as fabric, Makhetha created jackets and capes that are original, beautiful and thoroughly African. The white jumpsuit covered with a traditional material hoodie is an absolute knockout.

Sober

Sober via Website


Feminine, pretty and detailed is how we describe the work of designer Tshepo Mafokwane. In contrast to the power-dressing trend, her outfits remain classic and stylish. The blazer-style hoodie jacket layered over a purple top tucked into a floral skirt is nothing short of magical.

Mantsho by Palesa Mokubung

African-themed dresses, patterned bomber jackets, multicoloured striped skirts and jumper-and-skirt combos are the signatures of Palesa’s autumn/winter style for next year. We adore the black-and-white patterned shirt sticking out beneath an orange-and-purple jumper worn with a straight black midi skirt. Hip and funky casualwear perfected.

Day 3

Wake

Wake lived up to its name by blaring Die Antwoord from the runway speakers. Apron-style, black-and-white chequered dresses with wide sleeves, bold prints and texture amalgamations characterize this complex autumn/winter collection named “…tussen hier en vagevuur…”

Adam & Eve

This Cape Town-based label blew it out of the park and we would like to single out a few items specifically. The dress with an orange polo neck and navy blue braces is extraordinary. Other standouts include a grey, oversize trench coat (our winter must-have) and a blue-and-cream collared long-sleeve dress with a brown sleeveless cardigan thrown over it. No wonder this remains one of the most coveted ready-to-wear collections in South Africa.

Erre

Erre via Facebook


Erre (pronounced “air”) is our favourite range of 2015’s SA Fashion Week. And we were tough judges. When the first model stepped out in a bodycon brown dress with an elaborate, knitted brown-and-black chest and shoulder cover, we were hooked. Top-heavy design elements dominate the collection, with drapes and texture embellishments glamourizing jackets and jerseys. Designers Carina Louw and Natasha Jaume believe in designing investment pieces, and their low-cut, V-neck black dress with woollen burgundy shoulder gildings is an exceptional example of that. Their colour combination of black and brown and the use of leather and wool deepen the autumn and winter feel, actually making us look forward to the colder months. Who would have thought?

KZN Fashion Council

The Kwazulu-Natal Fashion Council is an NPO created to boost the fashion design sector. It highlighted the designs of Nicole Meyer, who showed a lovely floral waistcoat over an A-line burgundy minidress. The men’s collection, Hombre, with its tight leather pants, orange-and-brown colour scheme and gangster glamour went down a treat with the ladies (and guys) in the audience. Rich Couture // Mapitso grabbed us with their super-short black leather jumpsuit and the brown tulle skirt and tight black leather flare top. Duke menswear challenged the traditional male trends by incorporating dresses and skirts into their repertoire.

Keys Fashion

Keys Fashion via Facebook


A black-and-white tartan poncho worn with big, roomy pants. A tight sequined minidress dramatized with an oversize chequered coat and tiny black leather shorts dressed up with a thin rust-and-mustard-hued printed blouse with open sleeves represent the diversity of this sensational fashion house. Their sheer lace dresses are exquisite, and that shimmering golden one-shoulder mini number had everyone gasping. This show captured the audience.

Sun Goddess

We picture ourselves wearing these African-inspired garments on a luxury cruise holiday or at the J&B Met. Theyre extravagant, traditional, colourful and glitzy: You’ll be the belle of the ball in one of these brilliant creations.

JJ Schoeman

The models wore striking blond wigs and the colours of choice for this year’s clothes were grey and cream. Cape dresses, oversize coats and an elegant pantsuit worn with a long matching jacket signify the importance of Schoeman’s contribution to the fashion world. His understated sophistication continuously amazes at fashion shows.

Day 4


Saturday was the men’s turn. Shows were somewhat delayed to ensure no one had to choose between World Cup rugby and fashion. Influenced introduced us to the masculine tailored jumpsuit and rubber textured fabric. Ageo chose a purple and royal blue colour spectrum and toyed with sheer tops and Star Trek Nation-inspired coats and male dresses. Rip n Sew broke through with an asymmetrical side-zipped jumper, and Rogue Wear opened with a military-inspired leather and cotton jacket.

Labels like Tempracha and Esnoko further confirmed the creative transformation currently exploding within the previously neglected realm of menswear.
 
After four exciting days of being awed by South Africa’s talent and planning our wardrobes for next season, we applied for two more credit cards and worked out a shopping schedule. Come May, we’re going to be kitted out. Watch and see.


By Suzette Leal

Suzette only stays at home to watch Orange Is The New Black. She limits her fluid intake to water, wine and champagne and she absolutely doesn't get the selfie trend. Burma is next on her to-do list. That, and salmon fishing in Iceland.