Sunday, October 19, 2008

'The Times They Are A-Changing...'

Photographer: Annie Leibovitz - Vanity Fair "Killers Kill, Dead Men Die"

I have had a few emails about fashion week dates (the ones held by AFI) and the move to bring them forward. In fact I read it on a blog by fellow designer Abigail Keats. Keats seems to think its a great idea and quite frankly I must agree except cannot agree to the dates that are now being proposed. Whilst my colleague is under the impression that these change of dates will lure buyers out from other parts of the world I am not quite convinced, in fact I am pretty willing to risk my Balenciaga gladiator sandals over it!
Rather then go on with a rather elaborate explanation of why these dates are simply laughable all I would like to say on this matter is pick up the phone and call any buyer worth their salt and see if they will be prepared to travel all this way at that time.......leave alone whether we are able to all change our closing schedules for business. Just an additional word on this........I have had the experience of working through the festive holidays prepping a collection for international fashion weeks........its not that easy and requires more then just simple forward planning requires a mammoth task of motivating staff and forget about the simple fact that most suppliers in SA at that time are propped on beach chairs looking like broiled lobsters far removed from the productive environments of our studios.

I do think that there is a need to move the dates however come on who dreamt this up? Apparently 'industry research' was conducted. What? Who? How? Come on share this watershed piece of research with all in the industry - we are all desperate to know? Please for the good Lord's sake don't use lead times in magazines as a material reason.........if this would be the case then one wonders how international magazines have coped all these years?

Oh well it seems that again the industry that warrants these events are being dictated to. Will be interesting to see the line up this January........the quality, the standard and number of designers that are truly ready to show Winter 2009! And I meant 2009 and not winter 2008 thats past!
Whilst there are some of us that are ready - as our ready to wear 2009 collections are done and dusted I am not sure how many SA designers are really ready. I cannot think of this change even if it were reasonable being introduced without a minimum of 6 months notice to all - hell I forgot we were apparently all consulted in terms of the 'research' that was done.......

My invitation arrived for JHB fashion week......Winter...
For me not being able to committing to participate is two fold:
1. Our collection is ready however putting a show together requires at least a month's prep......with my staff already on leave at that time the simple issue of manpower becomes an issue. I will be left with a few days to get it together........we could possibly do this however what about other designers who may not have comprehensive infrastructure or did not factor this into their planning? Real businesses in fashion plan - in fact it is crucial to everything we do.......
2. If the reason is to have buyers attend then who are they and where do they come from and who do they represent? Who am I showing to? More sponsors? Do I get 200-300 tickets in a venue filled with people who are trying to look vaguely fashionable? Do I have to pander to event creative direction as creative as Milli Vanili?

Leave alone that we are wanting to entertain international buyers when we allow collections on ramp that have as much romantic appeal as unrequited love..........

It costs designers money to do much as people can labour on about how much it costs to stage fashion weeks it does not take away from the fact that without collections to show there are no fashion weeks! We define the strength of a fashion week - the line up supports the event.......doesn't anyone get it? Without consulting the designers that they want to have on their fashion weeks about the change of dates is not a clever move either.
Anyway enough said I am looking forward to see what January has in store for us all! With the rand plummeting with the way it is and the way fashion is trading its an expense that most designers out there cannot afford. This was evident in the international fashion weeks that past.
Interesting to note that the covering email to this year's invitation stated that there has been an 'unprecedented interest'............hmmmm.

In terms of my brand I am not committing to expending time, energy and effort unless there are some changes and there is a benefit to our business. Keep the carrot dangling for rabbits and desperados!

'Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'
Bob Dylan 1963

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

LACE........MOVING INTO 09 & BEYOND.....

Sonata Lace Bodysuit & Gavin Rajah Couture

Manolo Blahnik Lace Mule

Tord Boontje Floral Chandelier

Louise Campbell 'Bless You' Chair

Gam Plus Fratesi Lace Chair
Decarabia Bracelet

I am currently looking at new collections in fabrics to place orders on and I am bowled over by how many laces are in each of the fabric collections and just how many new designs are available at the moment from the lace houses. I love the lightness and the feminine edge lace brings to a garment and must say that this season I have used a bit........not sure I can hold back for the next season either! Even the last cruise collection managed to not go unscathed without a dose of lace....... Forget the naff oversized patterns that were once de rigeur in collections.....lace is taking on a new look.

Old wiry grannies making beautiful hankerchiefs in Venice? Sexy frilly bits to cover fleshy parts.......lace is taking on a new direction this season and impacting on many areas of design.

Taking on fresh interpretations from old patterns and details reminiscent of what your grand mum would have worn; this season it returns in forms and patterns that are reflective of the technological age we live in. Abstract gossamer cobwebs, alphabets through to landscapes have been woven into lace for collections moving away from the delicacy and preciousness often associated with it. Muiccia Prada last season described it as the most significant fabric in a women's life associating it with birth, marriage and death; and possible many other important occasions in between. Forthcoming seasons will see lace featuring hugely in all the collections.........woven, laser cut, printed, crocheted and embellished..........

Solstiss Lace

For an amazing selection of lace try Solstiss out.......I tend to buy alot from this French house. Only word of caution is that you order in advance and pray that the rand does not do major dives.....oh and check the duty and courier costs payable!

Check out Sophie Halette or Strella who also produce some amazing laces.......