Gert-Johan Coetzee on what inspired the new Chopard collaboration

We chat to the designer about his exciting collection

12 April 2022 - 14:30
By Thango Ntwasa
Gert-Johan Coetzee with models for his collaboration.
Image: Supplied Gert-Johan Coetzee with models for his collaboration.

The dazzling world of Gert-Johan Coetzee’s fashion and the sparkling glamour of Chopard have united to create an ethereal autumn/winter collection. 

The collaboration brings a heightened sense of grandeur and was exclusively shown at the motorsport and vintage car emporium Zebra Square Gallery in Hyde Park Corner shopping centre in Johannesburg. 

Coetzee’s garments were paired with pieces from Chopard’s jewellery collection to present his latest offerings.

Want to know more about what was on show?

Here’s a Q&A with the designer to give us all the titbits about his latest show, his inspiration and how continues to raise the bar for local fashion.

Describe your creative process when collaborating.

My creative process is imagining what else is possible. When I sit down to create something, it is important to imagine a newness and imagine beyond what already exists, but also be respectful to what has already been done. I reference a lot of my past work so I always refer back to my archive and draw inspiration and combine that with my clients’ tastes and my new ideas.

What are the main goals of this project and your thought process behind it?

My main goal behind launching the new collection is to show people what I am up to and show my creative direction for this season. This year I created original art pieces I incorporated into knitwear, and different prints to go on the garments. Essentially, weaving the patterns in with embroidery and innovative ways to bring my thoughts to life. My first thought for this collection was to create original art pieces that are authentic and not easily copied.

How do you stay organised when you come up with multiple design ideas? How do you prioritise the most important?

The processes and procedures at the Gert Johan Coetzee studio are what keep us on top of the game. I strive to make every client feel like they are the only one. I have a very strong and confident team of doers and thinkers. Creativity always comes first, but above that is the client and their needs.

What questions do you ask yourself before the creative process?

What else is possible and how does it get better than this? I never want to create fashion for the sake of it. I always want to add a different look and feel someone’s wardrobe. Imagining their social context and how and who they interact with is always a good starting point.

A model shows off one of Gert-Johan Coetzee's pieces during the recent show.
Image: Supplied A model shows off one of Gert-Johan Coetzee's pieces during the recent show.

What elements of Chopard are aligned with the Gert brand?

Both brands love beautiful things and that has a lot to do with quality. Both brands appreciate timeless quality. I love the timeless quality Chopard offers to their international market. I love how we already share clientele. It is a staple in any fashionista’s closet. Most of my clients are customers of the brand. Collaborations are very powerful. That is how brands grow and inspire each other. I love the Chopard aesthetic and that is very powerful.

What rules, culture or structure need to exist to foster creative collaboration?

It is all based on inspiration. One person can never know everything. When you open yourself to collaboration, it invokes thought and broadens possibility.

Where did you find inspiration for this collection?

From the plains of the farm where I grew up in Koster and showcased in my previous collection “Kraal Couture”, where Ngunis graze freely in the hues of the African sun, we move to the depths of the African jungle, which was the overruling inspiration for my new collection. In combination with this I was inspired by the art I encountered during my travels and my love for the Baroque period, which still stands the test of time.

Using these three elements in combination, my new collection was born. I created a print inspired by modern art together with my favourite shape, the human form. Exotic animals were included to bring forward a feeling of the depths of the jungles.

Pearls are abundantly used in reference to the opulence of the Baroque period. The contrast of these different elements was woven together into a tapestry to form a collection that tells a new story that represents my roots, my love for travel, art and iconic time periods.

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