Thoughts & words of @gabriela_charlotte
…Spell it backwards, I’ll show you.
The build up, the chaos, the disaster, the glory.
All in honour of the ambition, the anxiety, the dreams so delicately displayed for careful critique and curated comment.
The instant improvisation backstage, the performance and parade in the foyer, … the sheer fabulosity and utter unconventionality of a projected energy buzzing with (self) entitled airs and graces. Everything synonymous with, ‘Spectacular, Spectacular’.
It’s the middle of Winter in Cape Town, but Spring Summer 2016/2017 is about to bring the heat and slay to the chilly cosmopolitan Atlantic air swirling around the statement salad bowl stadium as the nervous excitement peaks, and boils over.
SHOWTIME. It’s South African Menswear Week, and we’re fashionably late as always.
“Media pass scramble, front-row seat fumble, catch your first breath and was that just the first night of Fashion Week? What was I even wearing!”
All walks of life, every shade of fashion, an array of various styles from the street – everyone who knows someone – from crafter to consumer. All here, all in one place: competing, hungry, determined. Some ruthless, some truth less, yet everyone evenly vulnerable when assembled in formation for the appreciation of such unified passion.
Who wouldn’t want the very best seat from which to view this prestigious beauty – unattainable art with which to adorn ourselves – the ultimate desirables. Most of the assembled only close enough to dream of feeling, touching and experiencing for themselves the absolute splendor of cloth so articulately layered and eloquently printed across the chests of full hearts.
The clear exclusivity alone driving us to an altered state of being and heightened state of reality – actually owning these hand crafted masterpieces a parallel universe in itself.
“Day two, somebody pass me a drink token!”
The ultimate collaboration, a uniting contrasting undercurrent, the forces that bring us together as equals before the fashion law: vulnerability and passion.
Passion, the fuel for everyone’s attendance.
Vulnerability, the knee-jerk response to putting this heart and soul on stage for everyone to tear apart. Remuneration for this bravery in the form only of flash photography, resounding applause and untamed whispers. The air between the air kissing is filled with smoke and glamour, littered with authority, superiority and mutual respect for the courage and confidence it has taken to kill it tonight! Whether on the runway, the red carpet, or simply while everyone’s standing in line for the men’s bathroom. (Insert gender neutral comment here, and find it again at the end of this perspective).
A concept built on traditional segregation, the space determined by the invisible hierarchy of the fashion food chain – the very lines that separate us blurred by the same power that connects us. We are all people, we all share the same dreams and the same fears yet the elegant juxtaposition of love and hate is a clear contrast of genuine devotion verse fickle, friendly conversation. A reality of a dreamlike world, the energy of one thousand talented creatives in one tainted space, where everything has beauty and nothing is without intention.
“Three days of fashion, does this beautiful beast never sleep?”
If you for one minute forget to turn your consciousness on and disengage your new found mindfulness, the flickering dim lit uncertainty and acceptance of your 100% authentic self is cast into the shadows because, HELLO, this is fashion week, one does not simply be real.
One resists, one converses, one preserves and one reserves – one does not burst at the seams with un-contained excitement and uncouth zest for life. We are water, cold as the ocean itself and fluid as the changing trends. Chameleons to the insinuating small talk, yet always in light of keeping our best fashion foot forward. This is Facebook in real life and if you are not your best life RHRN, well then who are you and who are you sitting with!?
The tide is unashamedly PC – no one is left out when the impossibly irresistible wave of allure sweeps you up and spews you out, almost always leaving you high and dry, lurking and stumbling among the other naive newbies, over-excitable’s and too-old-and-tired-to-really-care veterans (We’re just here for the sponsored wine, yeah).
Stare at someone for too long, trying to remember what hollow importance they represent, and the cold fashion tide has already engulfed a newer set of spit-me-outs, regurgitating them before it again pulls back to repeat the cycle.
Fashion does this. It teases you, it taunts you, it mystifies and mesmerizes you. It captures and encapsulates and captivates you. It literally blows the wind straight out of your sales, and can just as easily swoop you right back up in a gust of applause or blind you with the simple snap of a flash. And just as quickly as the co-ordinated costumed circus catwalked into town, it’s gone again in a flurry of devoured canape’s, sleep deprived sniffles and shattered champagne glasses
“Fashion it’s all over me, get it off! Where’s my active wear?”
South African Menswear Week is over, the precedent for another season of style has been set, but the lurking inspiration for what’s coming next has been seeded and is taking root for the best yet showcase of SA’s Got Talent. If only aerial and temporary, there must be something in the water.
Menswear, street wear, fashion week – have your moment and revel in it!
The ladies have led you to believe that they are hot on your chunky heels, yet we’re already a step ahead of you.
We acknowledge and realize the power of the male, and have thus used our superior seductive female tactics of persuasion and power to guide a movement that scratches out gender lines. A movement that highlights the integration of ladies fashion on an equal plain, where men are not above women, and female offering does not outweigh the men’s apparel. But where all fashion is created equal – regardless of season, colour, shape, size, origin or gender.
Fashion is first, and fashion is now, all hail as we proceed to write, photograph, style, craft, co-ordinate and create this fantastical world, innovating perspectives, spotlighting the bespoke and challenging the chain store offerings.
Follow, young grasshoppers, because those who know, don’t really know anything at all. It’s all just dress up and make believe, and these two short weeks equally divided each year are what keeps us crazy, and always coming back for more.
As the shine dulls and the fashion hangover dissipates, we crawl back into our laptop lit, coffee cultured corners, quietly inspired, humbly motivated for the next 6 months until we reappear, where the constitution will again be rewritten and our OTT, one of a kind, vintage collectibles will once more have a stage, and an extremely temperamental audience to (un)knowingly observe and dictate our process and progress.