The Diary of an A-LISTER – CTFW 2011

OMG! So it’s finally here… CAPE TOWN FASHION WEEK – hooray! Every year, since it has started, I wait in anticipation for this prestigious event. I have been lucky enough to score invites to the shows and get to mingle with the who’s who in the mother city zoo.

 I remember the first Cape Town Fashion Week – the tickets were R30 – I know! It is amazing to think how far SA fashion has come and it seems like every year it keeps getting better.

Photos of Fochini Fastrack Event. All photos from the AFI website, see link below.

Foschini Fast Track

 So, yesterday was Fastrack day, a show that gives young designers the opportunity to showcase their work, the event is sponsored by Foschini – BIG UPS to them – We absolutely LOVE fresh young talent. I salute big companies like this for taking the initiative to support these extremely talented designers – it is a dream come true for any newbie to show the world what they have to offer before they get snatched up by the chain stores.

 I have a confession to make, however. I didn’t go because my best friend had a baby and life’s precious little moments like these are priceless! Forgive me ok! I did however go on the website to see which designers did what.

And when I found out that when you tweet they stream it live for all those at the shows to see I got a little bee in my bonnet and decided to find out everything that was going on by simply adding #CTFW hash tag to my tweets. I received so many responses by asking the right questions, a close source revealed what was happening backstage, I was told who the best young designers were and peeps sent pictures of what they were wearing. Thanks to the ingenious real-time of social media, I felt I was actually there!

Habits, Abigail Betz and Gavin Rajah

 I woke up this morning – no birds were chirping but the sun sure was shining bright. Hello, where is winter? Fortunately, we have been blessed with good weather and us fashionistas can all sport our version of what we think is hot for Spring/Summer 2011. After all, nobody wants to look like a rainbow (colour-blocking trend) in the rain. Anyway, so… I woke up this morning… checked my BB and I had a text from David Tlale saying he put us on his guest list… I almost did a back flip! Excitement was taking over big time. Next was confirmation from FABIANI – we got invited too! Seriously can this day get any better! I felt as if I had won the LOTTO!

 But, tonight we will be watching JENNY LE ROUX from HABITS. She hasn’t showed in a while, but the other morning I saw her on Expresso chatting to long time friend and current face of A-LIST Liezel van der Westhuizen. She showed 3 key looks from her range. The black and white striped, 3/4 sleeve top with a blue, pleated chiffon super wide-leg pants worn by Anastasia was a winner. I also read in a glossy that she was one of the first retailers to jump on board the online sales trend in SA – now that’s fashion forward. Needless to say I am happy she is back and looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us.

 Later on we get to see ABIGAIL BETZ. I read that her new collection explores ANDROGYNY – very fitting in the times we live in today. Let’s see what unfolds.

And as if we scored a golden ticket like Charlie did, we got an email saying that we were on the list for GAVIN RAJAH. Seriously could this day get any better?

 We raced through to the CTICC – fashionably late I might add – only to arrive on time, all the shows always start late, plus this is CAPE TOWN! The catwalk was a square shape with a platform in the middle. Lights, camera, action! We had taken our seats, 2nd row from the front – how lucky? I know right! Some gorgeous adverts came on the 3 big screens reminding us of why we all live in this beautiful city. Interestingly enough everyone’s tweets were being live streamed – i decided to test it and within seconds our tweet was displayed for all to see. Then BOOM! The first model hit the catwalk.

 Bright satin tuxedo jackets with matching cigar leg pants – It was as if the rainbow exploded – We loved it! Next came a chiffon floral maxi dress, floral gypsy inspired tops paired with denim, some more floral, amazing white linen oversize dresses with drawstrings followed by some fitted monochrome stripes – eventually some Black was introduced which had a classic elegant evening edge to it. Over all the collection was very Summer 2011 – very on trend and very wearable. Jenny dedicated this collection to her late husband – all I can say is that she came back with a bang and sure did him proud – Well Done!

 We did the rounds saying hello to fashion editors, stylists, bloggers, celebs, customers, friends, etc. We were asked by MARIECLAIREVOYANT blog if a pic of us could be taken and a blogger went GAGA over our shoes! Peeps were coming up to us asking what we thought of the show. We saw a certain fashion editor wearing one of our statement neckpieces. A fashion stylist was rocking one of our turbans and there were a few customers spotted wearing A-LIST. We even have a competition running during Fashion Week. We asking our customers to post pics of themselves in their A-LIST outfits at Fashion Week and a guy and a girl will each win a R1000 voucher from A-LIST.

From left to right: Fabiani, Danielle Margaux, Abigail Betz, Gavin Rajah

 Next up was fashion legend – Mr.Rajah. His show took place upstairs – we were given vitamin water and Lindt chocolates – there were also Tanqueray cocktails being served but we decided to rather stay focused, after all we were there for the fashion. There was a buzz about this show because it was invite only. Tons of camera crews were around. There were a lot of celebs attending this one. Only the crème de la crème were there. When Gavin greeted us – he was so kind to pay us a compliment – saying that we looked fantastic – When people around us saw this, they probably thought we were famous or something because light bulbs were flashing like crazy – we were even pulled onto the red carpet for pics.

 The place was packed! People were fighting over seats! The show was only 1 hour late not bad for such a high profile designer, TRUST ME! Lights were dimmed and an intro played… The 2012/2013 collection was entitled: Jaipur.

 Stunning colour combos, embroided jackets,sequin kimono, structured jackets, a tropical bikini with huge gold wrap belts, maxi dresses with metallic biker jackets – futuristic silk suits. Embroided ball gowns, delicate wedding gowns and sexy heavily embellished cocktail dresses. The collection was jaw dropping! Everyone LOVED it! I tweeted: ‘Gavin Rajah reminded us why he does PARIS FASHION WEEK!’ and he re-tweeted it! At the end he got a standing ovation. His staff also got to walk the ramp – a very kind gesture.

 Eventually ABIGAIL BETZ show… Late again! There was a wooden boat on the stage with a chiffon sail blowing in the wind – the screens all had stars on them and one had a bright moon shining – it really felt like midnight or perhaps a trip to the planetarium. Models came out walking slowly to tranquil music, barefoot I might mention. They all wore colossal dresses which reminded me of sky scrapers – very monumental – simple yet beautiful – a very pure collection – the models reminded me of angels – there were only two colours namely white and then black. The dresses all had intricate details which was the highlight – a kind of “less is more” approach.

 I thought that maybe there was a message to the show – that in this fast-paced and complicated life we just need to slow down and appreciate what’s around us and keep our feet on the ground. The designer never came out – everyone sat for waiting; we all thought that there was more to come. Dr.Precious Maloi was seated in front of us. On the plus side the goodie bag was to die for – A free cut and blow dry at REGIS, a GHD opulence hair mask and MAC eyeshadow and lipgloss.

 After an eventful night we did our rounds saying farewell to our fellow fashionistas.


We were so inspired by the shows last night, that we spent the entire day shopping for fabrics. The first show we saw was a combo of 3 designers – LISP – NUCLEUS and LALESSO.

 Lisp was dreamy, very Woodstock/hippie/’summer-loving’ inspired, the models all had flowers in their hair, the outfits were perfect to be worn outdoors and the perfect place to wear such a look is definitely a trance party. The clothes were torn, fringed and cut. We loved the white crop top that was fringed. The final model was wearing a white maxi dress with flowers sewn on the bottom of it, and a feather apache hat – which rocked!

 Nucleus was very safe, very wearable, kind of reminded me of Mango. At the end the designer came out with her baby – everyone had a smile plastered all over their faces.

 Lalesso’s intro was a model stranded in the sand dunes, with trance inspired music – the ad was awesome. The usual African prints were seen, mixed with some perspex elements which I loved! Made it more modern. The models all sported wet hair. The overall look was kind of ‘resort’ something to wear when on holiday in an exotic location. Kimora and Damon sat in front of us. She spoke the whole way during the show, hand gestures were going, perhaps she thought she was still being filmed for her reality show?

 After the show we went to the AFI lounge where they had a spread of delicious food, we were peckish so we indulged in some delicious peppermint mousse – we’re not models – so we ate – this was the attitude of the fashion pack – we all eat contrary to popular belief! There was a cocktail named the DR.REY basically is a cosmo with a piece of dry ice in it so it bubbled and let out some steam, very interesting.

 I must tell you about some of my fave outfits. Firstly, Mokgadi Seabi looked amazing – she wore a red ruffle cocktail dress with chunky turquoise earrings and necklace, her platform skyscraper shoes had a silver metallic sole and bright orange strap. Bev Nates wore a PRADA inspired voluminous printed circle skirt with braces, she looked like she had just stepped out of VOGUE. The girls from Glamour looked better than the models they style in their magazine! Chu from FAIR LADY was wearing a fantastic white tee with bold flowers printed on it. Alexis from TOP BILLING wore a beige structured dress with a muted stud bib necklace. Some photographer snapped our pic for the social pages… It’s amazing to think how many people we know in this industry – the world sure is small.

 Next show was UNDACOVA and DAX MARTIN. The first show had some local phrases printed on pastel, striped tops, models sported thigh high socks and big hair. When the men came out there were wild cheers as if the girls were at a bacholorette! Needless to say, the guys looked like WWE wrestlers. Nothing like watching a show like this to make you feel fat!

Dax Martin swimwear

 More parading went on with the next show. This time swimwear, very interesting psychedelic prints, orchid prints and bold satin kimonos. I wonder if anyone actually takes note of what the models are actually wearing at shows like these. Patricia De Lille sat in front of us next to Dr.Precious Maloi. 

 After the show we called it a night until tomorrows adventure…

David Tlale, Leigh Schubert, Danielle Marguex, Thula Sindi, Fabiani

 After a previous show that started 2 hours late on the Nelson Mandela Bridge, fashion peeps were wondering if another stunt like this would be pulled. Most decided to pitch later. We got to THE BROMWELL in Woodstock to see a well-heeled crowd waiting outside, something you normally see in the movies. It was very hot in Cape Town, everyone was melting yet waiting patiently. The queue was long. Some people thought they were more special than others and tried to cut the line, but the bouncers refused to let anyone in at all. 4pm came and BOOM! The doors opened.

 As we entered we given a glass of VEUVE bubbly and told to go upstairs, but not before having our photo taken. DAVID TLALE greeted us at the door. He wore all black and had fringes from his neck down to the floor. Very fitting for such an occasion.

 Walking up the stairs there was a model on a swing, I thought it was a nice touch. Reaching the top there was a model posing on a revolving podium. Moving into the next room there was a model standing on the windowsill. It hit me – this was no runway show, rather an installation. Everyone didn’t expect this, we were all pleasantly surprised and we were all trigger-happy with our cameras taking pics. Its felt like being in an art gallery and the models were the masterpieces. Every room in the venue is decorated differently so it added to the excitement of each garment. We couldn’t wait to see what was waiting for us in the next room. The collection was mostly in black with some white elements, it was very powerful, dramatic and dark – nothing less than one would expect from this fashion icon. He outdid himself. The models had big red circles around their eyes, and their hair was done up like a horses main and reminded me of something LADY GAGA would do – She would so wear this collection!

David Tlale installation show

 Going downstairs we sat by the VIP area, amazing canapés were served and the champs seemed to be flowing endlessly. It was a very relaxing and pleasant experience – you could take your time and simply enjoy unlike the others where you hang onto the edge of your seat hoping not to miss any small detail. David seemed to be having a good time with the models and every now and then pushed one on the swing. The place was buzzing with photographers and there were flashlights going off in every direction possible.

A lot of bloggers were taking pics of everyone else at the event too – the peeps went way out with their dress sense. The crowd was a perfect mix of both the old A-LIST crowd and the new A-LIST kids on the block. The energy was amazing! I tweeted: HOT NEW TERM: “OH MY TLALE!” which David loved – we both had a good laugh. Having an hour to go before the next show – I decided to give my friend a quick visit – her baby is so cute! Then we rushed to the CTICC – always fashionably late.

 LEIGH SCHUBERT showed very feminine flirty chiffon gowns in muted tones.

DANIELLE MARGUEX wowed us! She used strong colour. The first model wore an amazing yellow trench coat – very on trend internationally. Her collection was very 2012. Every woman should own one of her pieces. I could not believe that it was her first collection. Every piece was BEYOND! She has a bright future ahead of her in this industry. Her goodie bags were stuffed with wholesome foods form THE WELLNESS CENTER.

 THULA SINDI collection had a lot going on. The music was fast. The models strutted down the runway angry. Kinda reminded me of those fierce GUCCI gals. Leopard, fuchsia, brocade, gold, white – these were some of the elements seen.

In the VIP lounge we snacked on delicious mushroom soup and fruit tarts before we were off to see FABIANI.

 There was a CHIVAS bar – we were told to enjoy a drink, but had no time. There were mirror podiums on the stage. An intro played with loud music, bright colours and kind of gave you the idea to expect a lot of energy. Around us seemed to be loads of their clients, very well dressed, impeccably well-groomed and all seemed to look super wealthy – felt like we were sitting in ‘Millionaire Mile’. Show started and BOOM! Energy is was! The models strutted fast as if in a rush. There was a lot of bold colour for menswear. The brighter the better! Finally we saw men’s leather gladiator sandals, its everywhere overseas but you can’t seem to find them here. It’s a major trend and hopefully this summer every guy sports a pair.The usual amazing suits were seen, as well as a surfboard – now that’s FASHION FORWARD! An old man with a grey afro took to the ramp and the whole crowd went stark raving mad! He was an instant hit! Definitely one of the highlights of CTFW. This show was of an international caliber. Well-done Arie!

 This entire week has been absolutely amazing! A big thank you to AFRICAN FASHION INTERNATIONAL and a special mention goes out to the kind Lorato Liphuko. Congratulations to all those involved making CTFW a huge success!

 All images are from AFI