IN PICS | 2022 social calendar ends on a high note with local gear and mermaids
From a global singing sensation hosting a sisterhood soiree to the cream of South Africa’s top designers showcasing at an internationally feted landmark — this year’s social calendar ended on a high note.
First up, a novel venue for a fashion show — a grain silo on the edge of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on the esteemed Royal Institute of British Architects’ International List after it was converted to a 9,500m² museum by celebrated English starchitect Thomas Heatherwick.
While events often take place at the top of the iconic Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, last Saturday marked a rare occasion when the actual art space played host to a fashion show.
The Cape Town Resort Collections are the brainchild of revered and outspoken designer Gavin Rajah, who has created a platform which, unlike other fashion events, is curated by designers for designers.
Sponsored by Pick n Pay Clothing (which is gaining a following for its locally produced, affordable and trendy offerings), this year the show not only featured Rajah’s signature ultra-glam designs, but collections by knitwear king Laduma Ngxokolo’s Maxhosa Africa label, Thula Sindi and rising name Julia Buchanan, who is the 2021 recipient of the FutureWear initiative.
I also got to show a collection for my label, but as guests started making their way into the building before the show, I slipped on my social scribe hat.
First person I greet is someone I have often met in this very space – visual artist Zanele Muholi, who last year launched a homeware collection with Gavin.
Next, I spot Sabine Thomas, the wife of Pascal Asin (LVMH’s MD of Moët Hennessy for Africa and the Middle East), who looks serene in white.
The chic Frenchwoman, who I hear was recently appointed honorary consul for Morocco in South Africa, introduces me to Warawadee “Eed” Sukonpongpao-Harbich who was born in Bangkok but raised in the UK and now, along with her property baron husband, calls Cape Town home.
Down the stairs and in the VIP section with the imposing Nicholas Hlobo lightning bird sculpture iimpundulu zonke ziyandilandela hanging above us, on to meet someone more at home underwater.
That’s Zandile Nhdlovu, the freediving instructor and conservationist known as Zandi the Mermaid.
Zandi, looking pretty in a baby blue patterned body suit by Julia teamed with white slacks, tells me she is passionate about sustainability when it comes to what she wears.
Just before the show we hear from Hazel Pillay, Pick n Pay’s GM for clothing, and Gavin, who says the shows wouldn’t have been possible without the support of “a corporate which has pledged money towards a vision and strategy for the future of South African fashion”.
However, along with 200 members of the public who scored invites through Brutal Fruit’s women-inspired You Belong campaign, celebs included singers Cici Twala and Bathabise Biyela (better known as Thabsie), former Muvhango actress Simphiwe Ngema and activist/actress Refilwe Modiselle.
Round about the same time but 1,200km away was an oh-so-glam affair attended by someone who first tasted fame as a member of super-successful American girl group Destiny’s Child.
If truth be told, I’m more a Motivation than Formation fan, so I was crushed that my Cape Town responsibilities meant I couldn’t clink glasses with Kelly Rowland.
It was held at the Old Park Station building in Newtown which sports photogenic views of the city, and was hosted by radio personality Thando Thabethe.
Kelly, looking chic in a black cocktail dress embellished in silver, gushed about how she feels “so warm and welcome” in the country (this is her third trip back here that I can remember) while guests lapped up a feast which included tuna fashion sandwiches, crab cakes, lamb keftedes and honey roasted butternut quiches.
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