ELLE names their 2015 Rising Star


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.

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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.

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.

For more information, visit www.elle.co.za. Alternatively connect with them on Facebook or on Twitter.


Queen of vintage


Local fashionista Kate Chauncey – a.k.a. The Pessimiss – loves all things vintage. VISI interviews the popular blogger, who also forms part of a fashion upcycling trend that’s currently gaining momentum in South Africa.

Kate Chauncey, better known online as The Pessimiss, is dressed in a striped top, a long, flowing mid-waist navy skirt, both thrifted of course, and grey socks with brown leather stack heels. Her pink, painted pout stretches into a smile every time a new topic on vintage fashion is brought up.

Kate’s popular blog, The Pessimiss, started about six months ago. At the start of the year, she decided it was time to bring tangible fashion to her readers and friends. And that’s how the Rah-Rah Room came to life.

Once a month twenty-something Kate holds a vintage sale in her lounge in Gardens, Cape Town. She sells pieces collected from thrift stores in her hometown, Knysna, and other high-quality fashion pieces that have made their way into her extensive collection.

“I have a good understanding of what I consider vintage, and a good understanding of what I consider ‘crap’,” Kate says, explaining that her monthly Rah-Rah Room sales only offer clothing that falls into the former category. From classic and cult labels to perfect cuts, she collects for the style-hungry over most genres.

Kate grew up in a fashion-minded family: “My mom sews and I grew up surrounded by fabric, buttons and sequins.” But, although known to hem the odd skirt, Kate’s real passion for fashion really shines through in her writing.

Currently a copywriter at The Foundry, Kate hopes to branch into fashion writing. Already a contributor for London-based Schon!, she notes that her dream job would be to ink out her love for fashion at Vogue magazine.

Kate’s love affair with vintage began at a young age and, along with her best friend, she’s always dreamt of opening her own store.

While her art-deco-style lounge may be a more simplistic version of her dream, Kate says the sales are always a great success. Fellow vintage connoisseurs will show up with a bottle of vino and might spend hours discussing fabrics, labels and all things fashion (and of, course, walk off with a gem or two).

More information:  pessimiss@gmail.compessimiss.wordpress.com/