It is this ability to adapt and change form that has inspired fashion designer Lara Klawikowski’s latest range.
“Fungi has a way of morphing its texture and silhouette to a certain shape in an unpredictable and unexpected way. That has always been a signature of my brand… nothing folds in a way that it should but it folds exactly how it should, ending up being a beautiful and structural piece,” she says.
Klawikowski will be showcasing her range at the annual Wear SA gala dinner, “Fashion and all that Jazz” on Thursday. Held ahead of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the weekend, the affair is part of the Wear South African campaign that encourages support for locally produced products.
I meet Klawikowski at her studio in Woodstock where she is working on her range that involves six different looks.
The futuristic-looking dresses, in colours such as red and yellow, are made of tracksuit cord sewn into chiffon.
“Adding cord into a delicate fabric such as chiffon completely alters the shape. Normally chiffon is floatly, but with the cord it becomes very structural and very sculptural, moulding itself into a unique shape. It has an organic feel on the inside and outside,” she says.
“I’m very excited to see how people will respond to these dresses. They’re not something you see every day at stores or even on runways.”
The designs are for that fashion-forward thinking woman with the ability to style the garments in different looks, Klawikowski explains. “She is definitely aware of what local designers are doing and is willing to take a risk. If she wears this, people are going to stare. Also, the designs are for someone who is quite informed and who enjoys talking about fashion in a constructive way. A person with an understanding of garmenting and fabrication, (with) a deeper understanding of design.”
Also taking part in the fashion show are other emerging designers, Ernest Mahomane and Ricci Janse van Rensburg of Ricci JvR, and design schools, Cape Town College of Fashion Design and Northlink College.
For her showcase, Ricci JvR says she drew inspiration from the nomadic lifestyle.
“The inspiration for this collection can be summarised in one word – ‘Resfeber’, a Swedish word describing the restless race of the traveller's heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; a ‘travel fever’ that can manifest as an illness.
“For me it is all about combining textures… Layering and textures are extremely important.”
Ricci JvR focused on comfortable clothing, layered and styled effortlessly.
“The silhouettes are relaxed, soft and draped with roomy, romantic volume,” she says. “I don’t design for a specific body type or person… the design process and realisation of each piece is important. Therefore, I focus on individual pieces at a time. I do, however, try to design diverse pieces, ensuring that no matter your taste, you would find something in the collection that would suit your style.”
Ricci JvR says more and more people now support local designers.
“I think this shift came largely because more effort was made to inform the public of the talent that we have in South Africa and the benefits of buying locally,” she says.
“Also, with a lot of international designers looking to Africa for inspiration, it has definitely boosted the overall image of the industry. There are so many different factors and opinions that contribute and influence this, but I think creating awareness is the best place to promote local designers.”
To this end, the designers, as part of the Wear SA campaign, will also be staging fashion shows at different shopping malls across the city until the end of April.
“A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to attend fashion weeks… This is a way of letting everyone else see the work that local designers are producing,” says Klawikowski. “I would like to see more South Africans buying local products… as something that they can wear, that can be part of their lives and lifestyle. The Wear SA campaign is a excellent platform to promote local designers to South Africans.”
Joburg designer Ernest Mahomane says “People don’t buy international brands because they are better than our local brands. International brands put up massive campaigns for their products and all you see are those ads… to a point that you would think local brands do not exist.
“This is when we need to get big businesses investing in our local talent and using the same strategy. The more people are confronted by local brands, the more they will buy them. Big businesses should give a helping hand to new talent – not by offering small prizes in creativity competitions, but by offering business mentorship and financial support.”
For his showcase on Thursday, Mahomane has put together a range that is “simple, wearable… keeping the everyday woman in mind”.
“I definitely didn’t want a heavy look, but at the same time I wanted it to look layered. And when it comes to fabric, nothing comes as durable and as comfortable as cotton. Most of the range is made from locally produced cotton,” he says.
Explaining the link between fashion and jazz, Herman Pillay, chief executive of the Trade Call Investments Apparel Group, the creative hub for designers and clothing manufacturers, says that the liberation of fashion through music started in the early 1900s during the post-war economic boom.
“In the 1920s the new evolving American youth culture led the way to an increase in consumer demand for fashion. The conservative, mannequin-like, tightly corseted fashion sense of the late 1800s was in desperate need of radical transformation. Jazz music ignited the fuel for loose flimsy fabrics and fits that would allow the wearer to flow into the rhythm of the music,” says Pillay.
“The blues, ragtime and swing jazz styles brought about a fresh and unique form of art that depicted the collaboration of jazz and fashion which still exists on our catwalks today.”
According to Khalid Abdulla, acting chief executive of ESPAfrika, the event managers and producers of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Wear SA Fashion show and gala dinner perfectly complement the total offering of the jazz festival weekend.
“We are very proud to be associated with the fashion show and gala dinner and believe that this event, like the established jazz festival, will become another highlight on Cape Town’s fashion calendar,” he says.Read more at:MarieAustralia formal dresses 2014
Designs are everywhere
From left: Neeta Ambani, her daughter Isha Ambani, Shabana Azmi and Sonakshi Sinha, and Saif Ali Khan (second from right) and Karisma Kapoor (third from right) at the closing runway show of Fashion Week in Mumbai
THE grand finale of the fashion week will be remembered for some wrong reasons, and plenty of good ones. The diarist is witness to the camaraderie shared by some of the biggest names in the business, especially in the backdrop of the last minute change in the venue and the consequent chaos. Rohit Bal, for instance, was completely hands-on with the preps, setting up the ramp for his fellow designer from Kolkata. So was Narendra Kumar, who, along with Bal, was intent on letting the show go on. Nari gets another thumbs up for his spontaneous samaritan act. During the finale, one of the background models, who was meant to take position near the brand signage, appeared to have fainted. Nari, who was one of the few to have spotted her, rushed in to help her with the medical attention she needed. All this when all eyes was on the show stopper. We liked that.
Skeletons and closets
SO this former minister, who is now in the eye of a major controversy that has cast an ominous shadow on his career, may have to brace himself for yet another scandal blowing up on his face. The diarist has learnt that during his tenure with an international organisation in the West, he had a two-year-long rollicking affair with an artiste with an exotic lineage. The affair may have ended when the gent was chosen for a more serious political role back in his country, but the artiste is not willing to forget or forgive in a hurry. We hear, details of the said affair may be made public very soon. Once that happens, this bambi-eyed former bureaucrat may need the help of some serious spin doctors.
Eat, pray, love
IT seemed like a happy bunch of ladies, who were out to lunch at a suburban five-star. Susanne, Gayatri Oberoi, Sonali Bendre and a couple of their gal pals, truly let their hair down over a leisurely lunch. There was plenty of laughter and good natured banter that accompanied the salads and soups and sandwiches. And in case you are wondering, they were not really discussing the men in their lives or their absence. Well done.
THE pav bhaji is going places. Word just in, the dapper Siddharth Poojari, who heads the Sukh Sagar chain of restaurants is one of the food partners for the classy Dubai Tennis Open. Not only that, Poojari, whose Amrut Whiskey has been turning hard nosed connoisseurs of fine whiskey into converts, has reportedly partnered up with an international luxury brand. Watch this space for more.
PS: Congratulations are in order for Anoushka Shankar and Joe Wright who became proud parents to their second baby boy last month. The couple have named their child Mohan. Their elder son has been named Zubin. Anoushka's half sister Norah Jones too gave birth to a boy last year.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-2015 | www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-brisbane
Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Designers definitely heard Danish author Hans Christian Andersen at the Summer/Resort 2015 edition of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW). Florals may be summer’s surest cliche, but that didn’t stop some designers from giving them their own veritable spin. Technique took precedence over pretty prints with applique, cutwork and embroidery adding to detail and definition. Here are five collections that made us sit up and lean in closer to smell the flowers.
Layer it Up
Vrisa by Rahul n Shikha may have drawn inspiration from far-off Samarkand for their collection by the same name, but their treatment of the Suzani embroideries from Uzbekistan would fit in beautifully with most Indian wardrobes. Suzani, which comes from the Persian suzan meaning needle, was illustrated beautifully in the layered applique rendition of the floral motif. The Jaipur-based designers painstakingly appliqued seven layers of mulmul in varying colour dyes in progressive patching on to pristine handlooms, to create various
Manish Malhotra’s “Blue Runway” collection, in association with the WEvolve campaign, was predictably bathed in the hue. The rose was his leitmotif and was splashed across flowy gowns, lehenga skirts, swish sari drapes and crop tops. In his trademark touch, Malhotra used embroidery, especially Parsi gara thread embroidery, quite extensively. The flowers were magnified in places and peeked from shoulders and sleeves in others, including menswear. Elsewhere, gold zardozi roses were adorned with smaller flowers and loaded with sequins in different shades of gold for a three-dimensional effect.
Cut it Out
Florals are favourites for Archana Rao of Frou Frou. And they made more than a passing appearance in her collection “The Apartment”. Starting with a faux leather shoulder cape with cutwork flowers and pearl minutiae, she moved on to beads of different sizes, giving the flowers a mosaic-like rendition. Our favourite was a marsala tunic in twill fabric with extensive cutwork and embroidery.
Giving a different twist to love were Shikha Grover and Vinita Adhikari of Ilk whose collection “Love Me Not” used innovative layering and texturing. The duo used pastels and stark monochromes in two floral stories. While one saw sheer laser cut flowers used as seam inserts embellished with beads, the black-and-white line employed hand- and machine-embroidery with cords and beads to impressive effect.
In an extension of her previous Spring/Summer line, Pallavi Singhee of Verb’s “A La Suite” continued with her strong and feminine interplay. From monochromes to pearly pinks and pale oranges, all the outfits wore tone-on-tone flowers like fleeting butterflies poised to take flight. Closer inspection revealed that the embroidered and laser cut flowers were then appliqued on to the ensembles for a three-dimensional effect. While organza gave the flowers a stiffer appearance, the base fabrics were chiffons, tulles and Chantilly, creating an interesting combination. Some of the floral appliques were further highlighted with rhinestones and sequins.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/formal-dresses-perth