Beyoncé's dad hails Coetzee's design

Mathew Knowles and his wife Gena Avery look debonair in designs by Gert-Johan Coetzee, on the right.
Mathew Knowles and his wife Gena Avery look debonair in designs by Gert-Johan Coetzee, on the right.
Image: Kabelo Mokoena

SA Fashion Week was off to a roaring start with a star-studded opening party on Tuesday night in the heart of Sandton.

While many Mzansi A-listers including AKA, Bontle Modiselle and Nomuzi Mabena showed off their own style vocabulary; it was Beyoncé's father Mathew Knowles and his wife Gena Avery who stole the night.

The couple rocked the red carpet in matching and bespoke African print ensembles designed by local couturier Gert-Johan Coetzee.

It was a big fashion moment not only for the couple, but for Coetzee too as it marked a departure from his DNA that throughout his career has never been synonymous with African textile.

While the fabric was off-kilter for him, the design aesthetic remained sleek, red-carpet ready and extravagant.

"The look is inspired by a bit of eclectic Africa. I think it's so much fun to show Hollywood a bit of Africa. I have never been known to do African eclectic type of garments and I think this is a great opportunity to showcase what I can do when I combine Hollywood and Africa," Coetzee told Sowetan.

"I think it's amazing how I have always been asked to do African print, but it took international people to come here and convince me to do that. It's very exciting and I Iove it.

"Working with Mr and Mrs Knowles has been a really big honour. It has been so great to get to know them. I'm happy with the end-result; I think it's an update on African fashion."

Knowles gushed to Sowetan about Coetzee. He has been in SA for over a week and on Sunday he was a guest judge on Idols SA.

"It's just an honour to be here and the designs that my wife and I are wearing are from this incredible designer that you will no doubt hear a lot about in the future... he is amazing," Knowles said.

The 66-year-old music mogul launched his third book Emancipation of Slaves Through Music at the University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business on Friday.

"It has been an incredible week. Everyone has been so hospitable and nice to us. This is not my first time here, but it's good to be back," he said.

"The book talks about that journey of our African brothers and sisters on the slave ship... Most people don't realise once they got to America, they were not allowed to play a drum because the slave owners felt they could communicate through the drum.

"I also talk about the musical instruments created in Africa. So this is a year of research and I'm just proud to have launched it in Cape Town."

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