First published on www.mediaupdate.co.za in November 2015
Young Moroccan fashion designer, Hamza Guelmouss’s life changed in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 25 November when he took home top honours at the ELLE Rising Star Design Awards held at Hyde Park.
By Remy Raitt
The ELLE Rising Star Design Awards in association with Mr Price (MRP) is the largest fashion prize in Africa, and since 2000 has launched the careers of some of Africa’s biggest names in the industry. Guelmouss, the only non-South African out of the six finalists, walked away with R30 000 and the opportunity to work in collaboration with MRP and launch his own range. He will also learn from a mentorship programme at MRP’s head office in Durban, obtain online business coaching with GetSmarter as well as receive exposure in ELLE Magazine.
The Awards and fashion show began with a sneak peek of MRP’s new range titled ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’. Taking cues from the Nirvana hit, the outfits matched feminine florals with grungy denim and hi-top sneakers to create an effortless free-spirited look.
ELLE Magazine editor, Gisèle Wertheim Aymés, then took to the catwalk to express her belief in the power of design. “I was asked if I thought design could change the world, and I said yes, it can, one stitch at a time,” she said. “Design shakes the way one experiences life, and fashion allows us all to be a little wilder, to express ourselves and even be extravagant,” she continued.
Wertheim Aymés congratulated all six finalists, saying that although there would only be one winner, there were many successes, all with their own beautiful stories.
The judges of the stiff competition ranged from fashion designers, MRP trend experts, ELLE Magazine staff and fashion’s foremost fundis. MRP Trend executive, Amber Jones, joined Wertheim Aymés on the runway to congratulate Guelmouss on his astounding achievement, but not before all the finalists showed off their various collections to a fixated front row.
Blünke Janse van Rensburg (21) opened the show with bright oversized bows and shoulder pads with a line that used kitsch elements to express her daring style. Next, 24-year-old Cara Geach’s monochromatic sporty range exuded simplistic luxury. She was followed by Durbanite Siyabonga Ntini (22) who’s street-style inspired garments used mint and mango colours to exude a hip, preppy vibe. Twenty-four-year-old Bianca Messina’s range was inspired by the Bauhaus movement and rock formations and offered a muted and minimalistic aesthetic that was both sexy and sophisticated. Daisy Jo Grobler (20) looked to nature for her line, which incorporated knits, embroidery and floral fabric to create a feminine line that honours her own heritage. Guelmouss (20) was the final young designer to display his garments on the runway. His edgy range made use of non-conformist structures, predominantly in black, layered in a way that exuded urban confidence and androgyny.
Last year’s ELLE Rising Star Design Award winner, Tamar Cherie Dyson’s line closed the show. White and creams dominated the colour palette while architectural lines exuded a chic and elegant aesthetic.
The audience was then treated to an up-close-and-personal look at all the garments on show thanks to AFI Fastrack.