When invitations to #MBFWJ16 fashion shows land in your inbox from designers you’ve been admiring from a far, it makes you take note. Last night I was invited to view the A/W 2016 collections of Tamara Cherie Dyson, Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv and Mille Collines at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg. Here are my highlights of the night.
Tamara Cherie Dyson
Tamara Cherie Dyson started Day 2 of #MBFWJ16 with a show that flowed through the stages of Dusk till Dawn (the collection’s title) starting with inky midnight hues and grey, working towards first light in ivory, cream and oatmeal. Contemporary tailoring and modern knits are some of the brand’s distinctive signatures and the addition of sophisticated evening options like metallic pleated skirts and sequinned tulle elevated the collection. This was a capsule wardrobe for a woman who is of the times and needs as many options for meetings and deal making, as she does for running around town – she’s still fun to bring to a party too. Sunset tones like caramel and mustard bought the range through to an array of blush, burnt orange and burgundy shades. Dyson’s design is modern and effortless but her meticulous attention to detail brings a level of quality that’s been needed in local luxury.
Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv
As a previous AFI Fastrack winner and a celeb red carpet favourite, Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv shows draw a lot of interest and high expectation. The designer’s use of relatively simple shapes- cut and fitted immaculately- with bold colour combinations and intricate applicable and beading was a winner. The collection was also well styled- dresses that his red carpet clients will pick up and make bespoke had the same importance as layered ready to wear pieces. This is something that’s vital as one of the problems with local ready to wear shows has often been looks that fall flat on the runway, because of the lack of interesting styling. It’s got to be different to how the everyday shopper would wear it to hold attention. A little bit of lace peeking out the bottom of an appliquéd wool coat or a minimal ball gown skirt with sneakers can go a long way on the runway- even if the client will pair it with next season’s favourite flashy, strappy nude heel. For that, and the splices of checked tartan on mini-skirts and mini-dresses that I’ll interpret as a Clueless reference, I applaud Tuelo.
After interviewing Ines Cuartecasas, co-founder of Mille Collines, I was amped for this show. Designers Ines, Marc Oliver and Namnayk Odupoy’s passion for Africa is what drives the brand- their emphasis is on Africa for Africans. And it’s evident in how they do business. The Curio City concept is based on Africa’s curio shops and their disconnect from Africa in it’s current state. The reinterpretation takes into account the modern African woman who cosmopolitan and business minded. As such the collection included suits- a first for Mille Collines. Mille Collines also collaborated with a group from the Masia tribe in Kenya for their elegant beaded brooches, accessories that are free of the usual ‘tourist-in-Africa’ troupes and benefited the artisans who made them. The show was moving, right down to the final walk where each of the (only black) models had their name and country of origin displayed. The show was also dedicated to Aamito Lagum who recently faced racist comments after MAC posted a backstage photo of her lips on their Instagram account during New York Fashion Week. ‘We are all beautiful and deserve to be respected. #BigLoveToHumanity”, was a quote by internationally renowned African model Alek Denj that Cuatrecasas gave. Thank you for respecting and celebrating that beauty, Mille Collines.
All images courtesy SDR/ Simon Deiner