Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Appearance | UCT Rag Fashion Benefit

By Cape Town correspondent, Bianca Hartel:

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of attending The University of Cape Town’s annual charity fashion show, this year featuring the likes of top South African designers Gavin Rajah and Craig Port. The show is a fundraising initiative hosted by UCT’s Remember and Give (RAG) organisation to raise funds for SHAWCO – a student volunteer organisation run by UCT which focuses on youth education.

Considering the chilly-with-a-hint-of-drizzle weather predicted for Saturday night, I was a little sceptical about the choice of an outdoor venue. The show was held on the Jameson Plaza, with the runway extending from the beautifully lit Jameson hall, down the stairs overlooking the city lights of Cape Town, and was by far one of the most magnificent shows I’ve ever attended – not even the drizzle and the prospect of my just-blow dried hair frizzing (in the presence of the extremely handsome, Greek god-esque fellows seated behind me) could take away from the splendour of the evening. 

The show kicked off with a casual range by Legit. The local brand had some great pieces on display, perfect for the signature not-too-hot, not-too-cold autumn weather. I loved the pairing of classic coats and bold prints, and the fun and flirty faux leather showstopper. We then moved on to something for the guys, Craig Port’s casual, yet super stylish menswear collection had me ogling (and much to my own surprise, not just at the male models ;)). The clever texture combinations were right on trend, my favourite being the leather jacket with the black woollen sleeves – if ever I wanted to be a guy, it was at the sight of that jacket!

Next was a showcase of slightly more formal cocktail stunners out of Craig Port’s Amber and XO ladies collections. Summed up in a sentence, the collection was the perfect blend of sexy meets sophisticated. The dresses were gorgeous and styled to perfection with makeup courtesy of MAC and the sleek ponytails created by the GHD styling team. The change in music signalled it all, we switched from the upbeat sounds of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Lykke Li’s ‘Rivers’, to something I can only describe as old school glamour (I’m pretty sure I just made up my own music genre haha). Gavin Rajah pulled out all the stops with his couture collection designed specifically for the event. It was nothing less than the epitome of glamour and sophistication. Each garment was beautifully constructed and the attention to detail was something to be marvelled at. I literally had to remind myself to breathe a few times, I was so blown away. The structured hounds tooth coat, finished with a dramatic taffeta skirt underneath was a personal favourite of mine (I’m a sucker for a good coat) and the finale dresses were exquisite!

I am so happy to have been able to attend this event; it reminded me exactly why I love this industry – not just for the pretty clothes, but for the ways in which it can make a difference. All of the designers volunteered their time and collections to the benefit and expected nothing in return, the same can be said for Simon Deiner (who photographed the event), and the fantastic sound team. Above all the beautiful collections, and goodie bags and everything else that made the night such a success, it was amazing to see how much the fashion industry cares and what designers are willing to do for a good cause.  


Gavin Rajah 

Craig Port (Amber) & Craig Port Menswear.

Thanks for reading today! SS


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