After getting horribly lost downtown looking for the venue, I found myself at the doorstep of hope when I finally entered Arts on Main to acquaint myself with the young talents. I, unfortunately, did not get the chance to engage with them (call it stage fright if you will) but I had hours to analyze the mannequins adorning the garbs the young talents made.
Although I only got a glimpse of their work, tonight I will get the opportunity to fully understand their collections and what direction they hope to take in their budding careers - but I can safely say I have my money on two designers who presented DeGorge pieces which I can see working in every girls wardrobe:
Meet Este van der Merwe! This super chic mini skirt with an asymmetric pattern to break the monotony of stripes has winning qualities. The fabric choice was brilliant - the mixing of colours dilutes the notion that "horizontal stripes make you fat" which I adore (given how Benetton stripes are all the rage this season but many are too scared to attempt it for that reason, Este offers a clever solution). The finishing? Marvellous (although more attention could be given to the zip area - looked like the zip was hanging on for dear-life, or was the mannequin fat?)Meet Cleo Droomer! His futuristic retro-vibe (yes, an oxymoron) take is very impressive. Modern silhouettes with quirky retro material and detail makes this guy a winner. Under the DeGorge jacket was a stunning tulip dress with a raised hemline in front which was such an interesting touch to the early 2000s trend.
What I was particularly impressed by were the finishes and detail of the jacket ( with a lining that matched the dress was). Cleo used hard material which he somehow manipulated to get convolutions, ballooned-upper arms with a biker-jacket collar (similar to a Chinese collar but more, ummm, rough - for lack of a better word) and a retro-clasp belt to cinch the waist in a rather 60/80s way... ALL in one beautifully finished jacket. It's not the design that impressed but rather the techniques that were displayed (it was like he was boasting about his talents when he created this piece - and I like that, LURV'T in fact!)
Well, while I was busy tickling my taste buds to the Cap Classique (Krone, as once recommended by Dion Chang as one of the best sparkling wines) and delicacies and enjoying the cocktail reception, I happen to drop a tweet that said: "I love new talents. So promising! the direction Mr Price is taking these days (sponsoring and mentoring) should be mimicked by ALL retailers" and after pondering over this simple statement, I found myself quite bothered! Allow me to vent a little:
I have shopped at many retail chain stores and only a handful have taken time to reinvest the millions they are STEALING (yes, if you make it in China and mark it up by 200%, you are stealing!) back into the industry. Look, I support the Robin Hood approach to business and I sincerely wish that more retailers would nurture young designers, teach them retail business skills, Quality control skills/checks and develop them to create a sustainable vertical growth of the industry.
It's high-time people started making noise about the lack of opportunities for young designers! Not all fashion graduates have the business skills to run their own retailer/fashion house AND not all of them should be absorbed by these big retailers to be buyers (where their creativity is suppressed to meet the monetary targets of this corporations).
Hence I like what Mr Price is doing. Hence I like what "Elle New Talent" stands for. Now can others follow suite?