Tlale keeps SA’s elite in suspense

2010-07-01 12:08

It was something akin to a modern fairytale when designer David Tlale showcased his work at midnight during Africa Fashion Week.

One would have been mistaken for thinking that the masses would have opted for a warm night in bed instead of going to the Sandton Convention Centre to see a few designs make their way down the catwalk.

But this is David Tlale and the show was more than packed with the who’s who of the South African social scene.

It all started when the clock struck twelve (a few minutes later, actually, as the show’s clock was displaying its own time on two screens).

A veil was lifted to reveal a mini-symphony orchestra, which had already started playing. The audience gasped in wonder.

Then came the models in chiffon pale-pink creations with ruffled flowery detail and accessorised with wiry illusory hair.

Tlale said: “The show was inspired by the African Empress butterfly, which is found mostly in South Africa. This show was about the unfolding of

David Tlale as a brand. Our aim is to set trends and distinguish ourselves from the other designers.”

In keeping with the drama, opera singer Sibongile Mngoma, dressed in one of Tlale’s designs, sang to the music of the orchestra later on.

All of the 54 models used in the show walked down the catwalk in no rush, moving in sync with the sentimental strings playing in the background.

But Cinderella pink did not steal the limelight from the blue, white and the black that also found their way to the edge of the catwalk.

Overly puffed shoulders, thigh-high slits and white dresses that looked like they had been dipped in chocolate south of the hemline also made an appearance.

Overall, the creations had a very cosmopolitan feel and were not typically African – so as to belong solely at Africa Fashion Week .

So why the scene?

“The David Tlale brand is a movement,” says Tlale, “People shouldn’t be comfortable. We have to make people experience the DT signature; they must feel it, it is here!”

The drama only ended after Tlale had made his way down the catwalk to acknowledge the audience, who had given him an almost complete standing ovation.

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