Michelle Heslop, of luxury fashion space The Bromwell Boutique Mall, is an advocate for African talent. Her boutique prides itself on selling and promoting art and fashion apparel that is made locally by Africans, for Africans. Drawing inspiration from this, Heslop recently launched the boutique’s in-house brand Michion, “for strong women who are not afraid to dream big and live life to the fullest”.
“The Bromwell is all about making, shaping, exposing and offering beauty made locally and around Africa, and I strongly believe in this mission,” says Heslop.
“Over the years, I have been active in creating a platform for young designers who can have their creations and brands showcased in an intimate and tailored space. Being this involved in curating such a space brought to life a hidden passion in me which I have overlooked, which is designing clothes.
“My brand is about making clothing for women who are carrying out their own life missions. It is simply about clothing that works… my focus is on easy-to-wear and one-piece-ready garments. Which makes the ‘getting dressed’ part of life fun and spontaneous,” she says
The Michion debut range includes body-flattering bodycon dresses, faux fur gilets and tweed coats in textured and muted colours. The fabric quality is topnotch, a testament to Heslop’s welltailored style.
“The brand’s phrase is ‘I like me’, which says the Michion woman is confident, she loves life and lives it fully, pushing the limits of her goals and her experiences. And she wants to look good doing it,” she says.
Michelle and I wearing the Michion tweed coats
Heslop’s love affair with fashion began from a young age. The process of dressing up and how one can use clothing to tell a story about oneself has always been interesting to her.
“I used to pay extra attention to how clothing made me feel, what the clothes were made of and the functionality of each piece. “It was something very natural for me to take up a career in the fashion industry. The biggest lesson I’ve leant so far is ‘Don’t be limited in what you feel is possible on your journey… let life surprise you’,” Heslop says.
Heslop’s signature style varies. There is the elegant, graceful and classic woman on one hand, and on the other a wild child who enjoys dressing up in flowery, bright, sexy clothes.
Michelle, queen’ing in the Michion red bodycon dress.
“My aesthetic will flaunt these extremes. I’m inspired and drawn to women who are comfortable in their own skin. Who have lived full and thrilling lives. Who design from a place of real experience and real inspiration. Diane von Furstenberg is one of the designers who inspires me,” she says.
“There is a significant interest in African designers at the moment, and it’s time we use this to our advantage,” says Heslop.
“We appreciate the attention around the talent coming out of Africa. It’s certainly fast-tracking a lot of our young designers. “However, more attention should be given to that hard-working designer who is making wearable clothing that women love and rely on, as opposed perhaps to the designer who is an exhibitionist, who enjoys creating a stir,” she said.
● Shop the Michion range at Bromwell Boutique Mall at 250 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Connect with Michelle on Instagram: @Michelle Heslop
Connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @Nontando58
This piece was first published in the Cape Times ‘Top of the Times’ supplement on December 9 2016.