Last year, ELLE magazine flew me to the Future Fabrics 2013 conference in Milan and the launch of Giles Deacon’s first machine-washable capsule collection. Several industry heavyweights spoke of fabric innovations that will transform fashion design and reshape our everyday wardrobes. Let me tell you, they were spot on. The future of fabrics lies in craftsmanship, haute couture made washable, glamorous and luxe fabrics, and new blends and fabrications beyond anything we’ve seen before.
At this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Jo’burg, SA’s designers showed that they are on the same page as they sent modern materials, rich textures, volume and craftsmanship down the catwalk. Here are my highlights from this year’s event and the designs that are taking fashion very much forward.
Hello, prints, texture, tassles and, yes, the typically exuberant mash-up of colour Marianne Fassler is known for. Applique and crochet made for a beautifully innovative collection and hints of metallic and layered textures put this collection streaks ahead in terms of fabric manipulation
Fast Track finalist Ruth McNaughton spun multitextured mohair knits into a collection characterised by soft and fluffy tactility. I love her take on mohair paired with felted separates and knitted and crochet necklaces were the perfect addition to an innovative collection.
Avant Apparel delivered on volume, beautiful attention to detail and ladylike silhouettes with applique detail and cinched waists. The frill overload, volume and laser-cut pieces made this collection a highlight for me. Each design showed incredible craftsmanship and an elegant and luxurious collection in a sea of white, red and black – I want it all!
Bejeweled sweaters, sequined pieces, embellished luxe fabrics… what woman wouldn’t love this collection? The feather ensemble stole my heart. Shana happily and beautifully combined silk with sequins and hints of faux fur, just in case you weren’t convinced that luxe fabrics and texture were on the rise. Wonder no more.
I fell in love with Tsotetsi Ki’s designs; this structured suit is beautiful and volumous and perfectly finished and shaped by the belt. The foam-like fabric, shape and bounce of these pieces show fabric innovation at its best. Hints of neoprene, applique and sorbet pink plus the odd piece of faux fur made this a stand-out collection.
Celeste Lee Arendse nailed sharp lines, neoprene with futuristic sports-inspired silhouettes. Her fresh take on sheer detailing and structured frills and pleats made the collection modern and placed the emphasis on fabric, fabric and more fabric!
And then there was Abigail Betz’s show… in 3-D, people. 3-D printing, laser etching and futuristic craft finishes are on the up and up and if you think design is not changing – think again. The times they are a-changing! And yes, we saw combinations of lace, sequins, metallics and as you guessed, beautiful feminine silhouettes and oh-so intricate embellishments.
Stylish glasses from front rowers: Chu Suwannapha and Jerri Mokgofe
The lovely Alexis Chaffe
Side note! The future of fashion and fabrics is an exciting one. I came across this wedding dress by Japanese artist Rie Hosokai which is made entirely from Lego blocks. The dress is shaped like one of her ‘balloon’ creations. This is creativity at its most exciting.