Designers show off new outfits at glam Cape event
Thula Sindi and Craig Jacobs chase after innovation with new collections
Thula Sindi and Craig Jacobs marked their return to the runway in full glamour and fervour at the 4th annual Cape Town Resort Collections, founded by fellow fashion designer Gavin Rajah.
The high-spirited Zeitz Mocaa in Cape Town was the fantastical setting for the fashion show that also featured Rajah, Taibo Bacar, MaXhosa Africa, Imprint ZA and others.
Sindi’s style is all about understated glamour and modern elegance. Flirty dresses, lightweight fabrics, flowing kaftans and sheer finishing made their way down the ramp in subdued shades of black, silver and gold.
“It was good to return to the runway and I enjoyed it. The show production was by Mary Reynolds, who was pivotal in my career,” Sindi said
“She did all of my earlier shows, from my debut show as the brand Thula Sindi in Paris. She’s integral to my story. The process was so smooth that I even got to watch my own show.”
Sindi last had a runway show that debuted a new collection back in 2018 at African Fashion International (AFI).
“This collection is about glamour, travel and about the dream of a life post the pandemic. So you get party dresses and beautiful kaftans; whether your are on a yacht, island, resort or city having a cocktail, it’s those kind of vibes,” Sindi said.
“When I do a collection I always think what do people need from me and right now. So it’s very glamorous, but contemporary, not heavy and overly beaded. It’s all very simple textiles, beautiful brocade in gold, black and silver and hand embroidered chiffon kaftans.”
Jacobs’s collection, under his label Fundudzi, was far more edgy, youthful and risqué. The mood shifted to hip and cool vibes, with models strutting down to the roaring sounds of amapiano and Afrobeat. Scantly-clad models in speedos, swimsuits and barely-there harness tops were beach-ready.
The collection was marked by a burst of colour and stripes, with a brightly hued and loose-fitting cape leaving the audience gasping for air — literally. The piece was a showstopper, showing Jacobs’s range and understanding of the female form even though in recent years he has come to be known for his warrior-inspired menswear.
“I recently went on a trip to Accra where I was moved by distinctive architecture – from the presidential buildings, the iconic Black Star Square and onto the distinctive style of the Airport One square building and the vibrancy of Villaggio Vista,” Jacobs said.
“I really wanted to capture that in a whimsical way, a sort of travelogue of Fundudzi warriors going to Ghana.”
The last time Jacobs showcased on the runway was in Cape Town at the SA Menswear Week in 2017.
“It was exhilarating to be able to put on a show again after six years – and what I particularly loved about the whole experience was the chance to show in such a stirring architectural marvel. I loved the camaraderie among the designers and the dedication of the models and the dressers backstage,” Jacobs said.
“Cape Town has a very special place in my heart. It is where I launched my label 18 years ago and what was particularly serendipitous about showing this time around was that Mary Reynolds, who produced my very first show, was at the helm again.
“I’ve lost faith in the local fashion system – I am tired of AFI always trying to outdo SA Fashion Week when we should be all working towards growing the industry to make it sustainable economically. And I'm bored by influencers more obsessed with taking snaps of their frow outfits than what the designers actually show on the ramp.”
Acclaimed artist Zanele Muholi and Zandile Ndhlovu, SA’s first black African free-diving instructor, were some of the high-profile guests in attendance.
"It was incredible to witness the work that is going on in the fashion industry… my favourite collection was Julia Buchanan and MaXhosa Africa," Ndhlovu said.
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