Condé Nast International Luxury Conference where the fashionably late and truly fabulous gather

14 April 2019 - 00:00 By Craig Jacobs

Take an OBE, a hip-hop rapper and add a famed scribe with a coif that looks like a dollop of cream atop a scone.
Throw in the fashion-patron wife of a billionaire, the head of one of the world's most successful luxury brands and a supermodel with late-coming tendencies.
Ah yes, this was my week for sashaying with the world's luxe cognoscenti at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference held for the very first time in Cape Town.
It all kicked off on Tuesday evening with a reception at the Zeitz MOCAA on the edge of the V&A Waterfront.
Arriving with local fashion enfant terrible Gavin Rajah, I greet Tarina Patel, the flawless local businesswoman and sometime actress.
Tarina tells me she's just flown in after spending the day in Joburg filming a commercial for... er... talcum powder.
On to meeting a Vogue editor, the latest to follow in Anna Wintour's Manolo Blahniks. She is 29-year-old Thaleia Karafyllidou, whose launch edition of Vogue Greece sold out in 12 hours on Sunday.
Then it's catchup time with Arie Fabian and his dad, Jeffrey, who founded local menswear outfit Fabiani - now owned by TFG.
Arie tells me they're about to re-enter the retail scene. "We were out, and now we're coming back," he says cryptically.
On to the famous scribe with the distinctive coif, and she is of course Suzy Menkes, who welcomes us all, telling us how pleased she is to finally bring the luxury conference she curates to Africa.
In comes the woman married to the billionaire, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, to the CNI do, which, along with Nigeria's Guaranty Trust Bank, is a major sponsor of the shindig.
Dr P glows with pride as she tells me her and Patrice's second-born, Kgosi, graduated with a BCom in business marketing from the University of Pretoria a few days earlier.
Outside I spot Marco Bizzarri, the president and CEO of Gucci.
Someone who has a predilection for the brand, but who has opted this time for a poo-coloured Dickies jacket over dungarees from local label Artclub, is rapper Riky Rick.I ask Riky to pose for a pic with Order of the British Empire recipient and British Vogue editor Edward Enninful, and as we all head back inside Naomi Campbell, a vision in a printed Alexander McQueen gown, finally arrives.With official proceedings over, they all head up for dinner at the top of the museum but, sadly, I don't crack the nod.
I do, though, land an invite to the CNI and Guaranty Trust Bank party at the swish Mount Nelson hotel the following evening.For the soiree the lawn of the grand hotel is transformed with white canopied enclaves, elephant sculptures fashioned from white paper and fairy lights everywhere.The guests? More fashion folk than you can shake a needle at, social butterflies like Carol Bouwer and conference speakers including Hanneli Rupert, elegantly turned out in Issey Miyake, Jochen Zeitz, and Uche Pézard, whose talk on the "Afrocentric luxury opportunity" was one of the two-day talk sesh standouts.You'll want to know more about the conference, and what I can tell you is that while many locals turned up their noses at coughing up $5,500 (R77,000) to hobnob with Suzy and her crew, it was a fascinating insight to the gilded world of all things luxury.For me, though, Suzy was the real star.The 75-year-old fashion critic didn't miss a beat, her razor-sharp wit both charming and disarming.When Marco explained the diversity measures Gucci put in place after its balaclava sweater with cut-out red lips was denounced as bad taste blackface, she summed it up: "You're putting your money where your bad mouth is!"Touché!..

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