The muse that moves the maker

18 July 2013 - 03:18 By Andrea Nagel

Muses can inspire a single collection or a lifetime of work. They bring mannequins to life and dreams to catwlks. Andrea Nagel talks to six top designers about their creative sparks

KEITH HENNING, ADRIAAN KUITERS

Who is your muse?

This year I've worked with Jody Paulsen, an art student I met last year.

What is it about him that resonates with you?

Jody is very optimistic and enthusiastic about everything and is particularly appreciative of the arts.

Describe some of his characteristics.

He is striking and unique looking. I like his idiosyncrasies and the way he carries himself in my clothing.

How do you translate his style into your design?

We did an artist collaboration together earlier this year.

Jody designed a print which I translated into a shirt. We're currently collaborating on a spring/summer collection for the upcoming Cape Town Fashion Week.

How did the two of you meet?

I met Jody when I cast him for my spring/summer show at Cape Town Fashion Week last year.

Do you think it's important for a designer to have a muse?

Muses are usually temporary, which is fantastic because what inspires my design is far more varied than just one person. It's extraordinary to meet someone who possesses the ability to enhance and inspire a great deal of what you do.

Are there any celebrities you would like to dress?

I'd love to see Tilda Swinton in my clothes.

TIAAN NAGEL

Do you have a muse?

No. My inspiration changes and evolves every season. It's a combination of a few people who inspire me, never a single person. I find the concept of an ideal woman dated. Women are complex and multifaceted.

What inspires you?

Certain traits inspire me. I love the way the French interact with clothing - the ease of draping a jacket over a shoulder, the length of a sleeve, the way a scarf is worn.

Describe some characteristics you particularly love.

Confidence. I'm not very nostalgic or romantic.

How do you translate these characteristics into your design?

I try to pinpoint certain traits and quiet gestures. The way I style a collection takes its cue from this. Is a shirt buttoned up or left open?

Do you think it's important for a designer to have a muse?

I think it's important to be inspired, transported. If this is sparked by a certain woman or man, that's great.

Whom would like to dress?

Internationally, Grace Coddington, Marina Abramovic, Haidee Findlay Levin, maybe Carla Sozzani and her sister Franca, people who like clothing and understand it. Locally, Aspasia Karras and Sharon Becker from Marie Claire always look super in our garments.

 

ANISA MPUNGWE, LOIN CLOTH AND ASHES

Do you have a muse?

Yes. My good friend Zama Ntuli and, of course, Anele Mdoda.

Is it always the same person?

No, but I always have my ''go to" girls.

What is it about them that resonates with you?

Zama has the perfect mix of classic style with the curiosity to push the envelope. She likes stylish but comfortable pieces.

Describe some of the characteristics they possess that you particularly love.

Zama's attitude towards life comes across in the way she dresses. She's nonchalant about her style. She'll be in a chiffon Loin Cloth and Ashes jumpsuit to go to the market and match it with a granny hang bag .

Anele's style is haphazard but she's very focused. I feed off that energy. She has a ''in it to win it" mentality.

How do you translate your customer's style into your design?

My work is bold with a playful side. I like my pieces to have a timeless air, but I also acknowledge what's current.

How did you meet them?

I met both of them at university.

Are there any celebrities you would like to dress?

Dita v on Teese in a fitted African print of mine.

HANGWANI NENGOVHELA, RUBICON

Who inspires your designs?

Bokang Montjane.

What is it about her that resonates with you?

She embraces femininity and grace.

Describe some of her characteristics.

She has confidence and intellect, and is a great role model for young, aspiring businesswomen.

How did the two of you meet?

We were approached to dress her by her stylist and mentor when she was still reigning as Miss South Africa.

Do you think it's important for a designer to have a muse?

Most designers are private people and having a muse bridges the gap between the designer and potential clients.

Are there any international or local celebrities you would like to dress?

I wish I lived in Audrey Hepburn's days. Modern women like Kate Middleton and Michelle Obama meet my sartorial preference.

TZVI KARP

Do you have a particular person who inspires you when you're creating a new range?

As a conceptual designer, I don't have a particular person in mind because the concept is my fuel. Manthe Ribane is my muse between collections.

What is it about her that resonates with you?

Like me, she's not concerned with the approval of society. Most importantly, when people point and stare at her because of her experimental fashion sense, she's indifferent.

How do you translate her style into your design?

She translates my vision into her own.

Do you think it's important for a designer to have a muse?

For those of us fortunate enough to discover a muse, it's the most inspiring gift a fashion designer can receive.

Are there any celebrities you would like to dress?

It's my dream to dress 91-year-old eccentric style icon Iris Apfel before she dies.

JOEL JANSE VAN VUUREN

Who inspires your designs?

It depends on the collection. I have used concepts of women, like the Romantic depiction of women in the work of the pre-Raphaelites. Sometimes my sister Camilla is my muse.

What is it about your muse that resonates with you?

It's a sense of beauty and grace both within and without, a confidence and strength that I admire, a woman who celebrates life.

How do you translate this into your design?

It isn't a direct translation. It's the mood, emotion or essence that fascinates and captures my attention.

Where do you find muses?

I have obviously known my sister since birth. I also find interesting muses in films and books.

Are there any international or local celebrities you would like to dress?

Poppy Ntshongwana, Jay Anstey, Tamara Dey, Jessica Chastain, Zoe Saldana, Amy Adams and Kerry Washington, to name a few.

It depends on the collection. I have used concepts of women, like the Romantic depiction of women in the work of the pre-Raphaelites. Sometimes my sister Camilla is my muse.

What is it about your muse that resonates with you?

It's a sense of beauty and grace both within and without, a confidence and strength that I admire, a woman who celebrates life.

How do you translate this into your design?

It isn't a direct translation. It's the mood, emotion or essence that fascinates and captures my attention.

Where do you find muses?

I have obviously known my sister since birth. I also find interesting muses in films and books.

Are there any international or local celebrities you would like to dress?

Poppy Ntshongwana, Jay Anstey, Tamara Dey, Jessica Chastain, Zoe Saldana, Amy Adams and Kerry Washington, to name a few.

subscribe