July 31, 2012

A strut and a skip.

Before I dive into a full  report of my recent experience with Cape Town Fashion Week you should know that I don’t like fashion week in general. Ever. It is not because I never got invited, because I usually did or could have, but because I don’t like most fashion people that crowd these shows. Especially the really important ones which make every self-respected designer start his show an hour late. I don’t care if you are the devil who wears Prada, my time is valuable too and I don’t care that you need to share a Diet Coke and chat with Mr Lagerfeld before gracing us with your presence.
Though I might get annoyed by these Anna Wintours of the world, those are exactly the people you put on a fashion show for. You don’t put it on for some ordinary girls who buy a ticket for R 150 to feel important for twenty minutes, but who can never afford to buy your clothes afterwards. Tell me international fashion peeps – is there any other country than South Africa that sells tickets to their fashion shows? I think there would be quite a few ecstatic New Yorker wannabe it-girls, paying a little fortune to sit front row at Marc Jacobs or some nouveau riche Parisians to get a close-up look at Dior. But they can’t. Because that is not what a fashion show is for. Unless you live in South Africa, but then there is no MJ or Dior or any worthwhile reason to see a show either. Except you have a teenage niece like myself and it’s her birthday.

Yes, one could say that I went into the whole experience already prejudiced. In addition to the selling tickets part, I don’t hold South African fashion in high regard in general and think they should just let it go and concentrate on making beautiful furniture and home accessories. But hey, that is just me…

My prejudice got confirmed however upon walking into the CTICC and seeing a display by a Kim Gush with her collection called The Immortality of Devine Rule, which was in her words inspired by what black South African women wear and New York City. And in case this didn’t make sense for someone like me, it further explained This is what I would wear as a South African woman, coming to New York, but wanting to keep my own identity*. Considering what just happened at the Batman premier I didn’t think it was a good idea to wear a muzzle, clad in black leather when out about in Soho, but what do I know? I snapped a picture for Julia and sent it with the comment And this is Cape Town Fashion week for you to what she replied Thanks for adding the explanation, I thought it a Darth Vader Zeitgeist contest.

Darth Vader hip and happening.

At least the display of Dark Age appropriate dressing for New York kept us entertained enough till the actual show started. I had left the choice to Gabi as one designer means as little as the next to me and she selected Spero Vilioti. I thought he at least looked like the best of the bad options with puffiness, sparkles, and drama, so I expected to see a show in the true sense of the word. That was till the curtain opened to … a Resort show. Bummer. At this point I already wanted my money back.
To me resort shows are in their concept the pinnacle of decadence. If the idea that you buy a whole separate beach wardrobe to go on holiday somewhere warm when the rest of the country is freezing is not decadent, I don’t know what is. Unfortunately these shows never reflect this decadence as they are usually just an array of bikinis, beach cover-ups, and ugly sunhats in either tropical print or nautical themed colours. This show was no exception minus the tropical print, which may have just brightened the whole sombre affair.
What can I say? The clothes were mainly plain and boring themselves, but I giggled at the thought of what would happen if the guys actually got wet in their white, tight spandex swim shorts and I giggled a bit more at the sunhats that came in wagon wheel size only. I thought for a collection lacking any attitude at all, the models should have worn killer heels or at least skipped and danced in their generic, white flip flops. Nope, they didn’t. It made me giggle a bit more that most slumped across the runway in their flats, sporting a strange back arch as if they were walking against strong winds. One wonders why some designers haven’t realized yet that a fashion show is not real life and most outfits look a bit drab without a heel and a strut.
Luckily fashion shows are short and the finale look came quickly. I kind of respected the designer for being so old school that he showed wedding look to close the show. Of course here this meant a white bikini, a veil, and choice of groom. Then the model turned around and I felt more than giggly. Now I know that in the South African fashion world you can have a flabby ass, but still be chosen to walk down the runway in a bikini and show the world your inner beauty. And what is not to love about that for an ordinary girl like myself?

*Yes, I am paraphrasing as didn’t have a pen to write it down and I can’t find it online anywhere. Just in case you wonder if such a thing could be actually true, it is - I am good at paraphrasing!

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