I headed down to their über-fabulous studio in Parkhurst, on designer's lane (aka 7th Avenue stretching into 3rd Avenue - the change of street name's still foreign to me) to experience what they were going to blast Paris with for their 2010/2011 Fall Collection, titled "African Angels" at Paris Fashion Week.
The grand entrance hall with mannequins dressed to the 9s displaying 5 prêt-a-porter looks which could easily be displayed on any runway around the world, plenty of warmth and an aura of glam made the welcome note; DeGorgeous, I thought!
The super friendly Malcolm was quick to tell me that they will be showing 5 pieces at the Paris fashion week with one extra look in the wings in case they pull out one garment from what was on display. He shied away from revealing which would be exchanged for one piece that we remember vividly and love wholeheartedly. Given the edgier looks they've delivered in the past (including the hand stitched DeGorge gold harems from two seasons ago that I am still lusting after), the passion and child-like joy Malcolm describes their collection with reassures me that the collection will be memorable (if only I could experience it, in Paris).
They took inspiration from South African tribes and the Masai people, but with none of the exaggerated colour explosions that are associated with African tribes. They opted to be intelligent with construction. For example; colourful Ndebele shoulder-to-hip beaded pieces that cross the body are replaced by beautifully-crafted pleats and creases on the garment, head gear and midriff pieces also replaced by intricate draping, feather details on the seams and gatherings. Some of the materials used include the industry favourite; Duchess silk, tulle and lace in nude colours; taupes and creams. Reasons for doing this, Malcolm cited, were that African couture should move away from the stereotyped African look; it needs to be more internationally appealing and on a par (and surpass that in my opinion) with other international fashionhouses as this too markets South Africa and, on a broader scale, Africa as more than just animal-prints, beads, doek-wearing, scary-looking (as Vuitton did, although I loved that collection) and colourfully printed material (think Ankara) obsessed nation. In his own words, and in short: he viewed Africa through a French designer's goggles. Yowza! Can you imagine how this is going to look? Just try…
As I waltzed out their studio - did I mention how DeGorge it is? okay; it's fabu-bubu! including the cheetah print rug that resembled their runway at the 2009 Arise Africa Fashion Week - I left with a grin and not because of the delightful cognac that he served but because this collection is thoroughly thought through and will make an impact.
J'adore Klük CGDT and wish them all the best!
(image from: www.ostrichsa.co.za)
-more pics to follow-