Fashion catastrophe

2013-11-03 14:00

Guests had to bribe a bus driver to take them to the venue, banners flew at high-heeled fashionistas and VIP guests were soaked by rain at the opening show of Precious Motsepe’s Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week Africa.

The event – held at the Pretoria City Hall on Wednesday and heavily supported by the City of Tshwane – was designed to introduce the city as a fashion capital and show off Gauteng’s impressive infrastructure.

Instead, some of Africa’s leading designers were left stranded with suitcases full of clothes as they waited for transport – and were told they were ungrateful when a guest complained.

The fashion fail began when a massive storm broke over Pretoria.

Many guests took up an offer by African Fashion International (AFI) to use the Gautrain from Joburg and then a bus to get to the red carpet.

“No one told us where to get off,” says top photographer and film maker Chris Saunders.

“Eventually, someone offered the driver R20 to change his route ... At City Hall we were met by a giant puddle. Girls in high heels were helped off by the guys. The banners (signposting the bus stop) had fallen down.”

Later City Press witnessed a large but flimsy advertising display being lifted by the wind before pirouetting into the stylish crowd.

Then, left to stand waiting for tickets at desks exposed to the rain, some guests found none had been reserved for them.

But the opening Samsung Amaze Africa show offered stunning glimpses of talent. Sheer black and white evening gowns plunged down skinny-model bodies courtesy of Ghana’s Nana Brenu.

South Africa’s Black Coffee wittily paired mountain girl with prom queen.

Ivory Coast’s Laurence Airline remixed the image of the traditional African male scholar.

Angola’s Projecto Mental offered a bold vision of the African dandy, eliciting cheers from the audience, who saw to it that #AmazeAfrica trended in top spot on the continent.

However, both Laurence Airline and Projecto Mental were among those stranded afterwards.

While others were at the afterparty (witnessing barmen tossing half-empty drinks into the City Hall water feature), they had to wait an hour and a half for a bus.

“We were fine having to wait but then we were told we would be taken to where we’d been instructed to park in Sandton,” says Saunders.

“When I complained, one of the Fashion Week guys was obnoxious. He told us to ‘just get on the bus’.

Then he said: ‘These people are so ungrateful.’ I had a visitor from Paris with me. She said if something like this happened at an event like this there, there would be murder in the streets.”

“This alleged mishap is receiving our attention,” said AFI’s concerned Nicholas Maweni.

“AFI requires that all its employees, contractors and suppliers always treat people with the greatest respect. Ubuntu is at the core of AFI’s values.”

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