A rich seam of dramatic design

2011-03-18 11:52

When it comes to showcasing ­jewellery, exhibitors often have a hard time coming up with new and inventive ways to capture their audience’s interest.

Enter AngloGold Ashanti who have created a ­musical aptly titled Streets of Gold to exhibit ­designs from the 10th AuDITION gold jewellery design competition.

Trend analyst, Dion Chang came up with eight characters to be used as muses for the competition’s finalists.

Chang conceptualised the tribe to represent a cross-section of contemporary South African society.

These characters are The Futurist, Extreme Street, Hip-Hop Homeboy, Jabulani Bond, Old Money Honey, The Pampered Princess, The Black Gold Prince and The Gold Digger.

This brief of characters was then given to ­entrants of the competition, who each chose two characters as “clients” to design for.

Of the more than 1 000 entrants, only 11 were chosen to be part of Streets of Gold. These include Kristen Malan and Tshepo Ditshego.

Malan, who won first place, went on to win the Innovation and Uniqueness in Design award at the International Jewellery Design Excellence Awards for her intricate 18 carat gold and Perspex bubble arm piece called Molecular Truth, created for The Futurist.

Malan, who also designed a spiked bangle, ­appropriately titled Hands Off for Extreme Street, says she found the brief interesting.

“Usually when I design bespoke jewellery for clients, I ­interview them to get a sense of the person they are and design according to character.”

Ditshego says: “It’s very interesting that the characters are brought to life and we as designers have an idea of who we’re designing for.”

He says his piece, Itinerant, combines the ­concrete jungle and the beauty of nature with self-identity in a global village.

“This brings together both the modern and ­traditional warrior mentality just so the character doesn’t forget where he comes from,” says ­Ditshego.

Each piece is as interesting and beautifully ­constructed as the last. As an added layer of ­interest, selected celebrities were asked to try their hands at creating accessories too. Among those who tried were Jamali, Louise Carver and Loyiso Bala.

With a script by Alan Swerdlow, haute couture costumes by Suzaan Heyns and a cast that mines the rich seam of South African talent, Streets of Gold beckons both the fashionable and the arty.

The all-star cast includes Samantha Peo, Fiona Ramsay, Tumisho Masha, Phumi MnCayi and Shaun V.

But the sparkliest stars of this show are the ­accessories worn by the characters who populate this noir-inspired tale of a city built on gold.

It is summed up thus: “This is the story of an arm piece, magically crafted from bubbles of ­ancient gold.

Gold that is older than the sand, as old as the mountains.” Fittingly, the show is at Gold Reef City, a place that tells the story of the precious metal and its eternal pull on Jozi.

»?Streets of Gold: The Musical runs at the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City Casino, Joburg, from Thursday to April 3.Book at Computicket

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