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Friday, July 20, 2012

#MBFWCT Special Report: Fashion Designers Make Great Canapés



Day Five – Last night was great. Not sure what I was so nervous about. Yes, I wasn’t completely dressed to the nines but that didn’t seem to deter some people’s interest in me. Upon entering the One & Only’s lobby area, we were directed to the venue for the evening, Nobu.

We were welcomed by Allana Finley, Global Brand Manager of AFI and Megan Gotkin of CSA. Once signed in, we were directed to the bar to get a refreshment and settle in with some good mingling. I was super grateful when I immediately spotted my great friend, Bee Diamondhead, Jr Fashion Editor at Marie Claire. She’s such an amazing spirit and having her there made me feel a whole lot better and less alien.



Allana Finley started off the evening’s business with a short welcome speech and gradually introduced us to the players who have been making this platform happen time and time again and she also introduced us to the man representing the company making its debut at Cape Town fashion week. First up was, Grant Blackbeard, General Manager of AFI. Grant touched on the success stories of the platform, also highlighting Gavin Rajah’s significant contribution to the platform and his rise to immense fame. Grant proceeded to congratulate everyone on their hard work and urged media and designers to see the platform for really what it is, an opportunity to sell yourself as a brand to consumers and the world.

We were also greeted by Selvin Govender, Divisional Marketing Manager at Mercedes-Benz Cars, who was brief and eloquent. Citing his excitement at the partnership and how the brand has finally recognized the AFI platform as a strong competing member of the same league as those of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York, London, Paris, Milan and Stockholm. He mused his enthusiasm at attending fashion week and it would be great to mingle with some of the designers at the launch event.





The head chef at Nobu was kind enough to talk us through the specially prepared tasting menu, and it was time for the fun and games. I found the atmosphere had relaxed and when the mingling continued, people started opening up. I was fortunate enough to meet some really interesting designers, who are humble and extremely friendly. Also bumped into some merchandisers and buyers.

One of my favourite highlights of the evening was meeting Keith Henning of Adriaan Kuiters. The young man is just so proper and dapper. Refreshing really, in a pool of untailored bloke who bask in the sun behind the scenes and never have to worry about being seen. He has a great personality, down to earth and clearly living for the moment.

Michelle Ludek of the eponymous luxury brand was also present and accounted for. She was playing ‘mom’ to a few people on the night, being dubbed designated driver. There’s something magical about her aura when she engages with you. She draws your attention in and she herself is highly attentive to you while you engage. She has a warm laugh too. I was very surprised to find out she used to design menswear back in her early days, but decided to move into the challenging womenswear market when she came to South Africa to set up shop.




Another man I met last night, whom I’ve been sort of stalking on Twitter is, Simon Deiner, of SDR Photo. It was interesting to hear from the man behind the scenes and behind all the glorious images we usually see, what has been happening thus far with fashion week preparations and how the stress levels were weighing in on everyone. He seemed pretty chilled for a man whose tweets reveal a frenzied life of sets, music, lights, models and fabric action. None the less, I dropped a hint or two about doing some before fashion week coverage and we’ll see what happens from there.



The night was incredibly fun and I found myself musing at the fact that I was there and that I was accepted, to a certain degree, as part of the beautiful chaos. I learnt a great deal about the industry, being fashion media and designers last night. Spoke to memorable people who shed light on many subjects and have assisted in opening my eyes to many new adventures.


Special thanks to Janine Jellars for the great chat. To Bee Diamondhead for the awesome company and including me in her entourage. And lastly, to Keith Henning for offering to dress me for one of the show days at MBFWCT! Am so grateful and excited.


To anyone else I might have missed, I’m sorry and I’m grateful for the part you played in making last night magic for me.

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