The designer who dresses the stars

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Media personality Bonang Matheba wears Orapuleng Modutle Style Avenue.

THE glamorous dresses worn by the likes of Bonang Matheba, Terry Pheto and Nandi Madida on red carpet events takes a lot of work.

They begin in the imagination of talented designers, who use celebrities as muses or brand ambassadors. South African couture designer Orapeleng Modutle is currently in the forefront when it comes to dressing some of our leading ladies for his label, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue.

“I get to dress some of the country’s top celebrities, an opportunity that is not afforded to many young designers,” says Modutle

“I have always wanted to dress Bonang Matheba because she is one of the best dressed red carpet queens. I have dressed all the celebrities that I have wanted to dress locally such as Ayanda Thabethe, Minnie Dlamini.

 

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Artist Nandi Madida

“The women that I dress form in line with the product that I deliver and they get attracted to the quality of the style that I deliver. It’s really knowing how to stick to your clientele and quality and craftsmanship is also very important,” he says.

“Internationally, I would love to dress Jennifer Lopez and Kendall Jenner.”

I met Modutle before his African Fashion International Mercedes- Benz Fashion Week Cape Town showcase.

The collection, titled “Rose Garden Wedding”, features subliminal gowns in sequins, chiffon, satin, structured corsets.

The designs are complemented by embellishments such as flowers, pearls, lace, feathers and hats by Anita Ferreira designs. The theme of the collection says

“Royalty is getting married and they have invited their elite family members and friends. The collection caters for the attendees, the mother of the bride and bridal party”. 

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Modutle said: “It’s a day of fun, people are wearing hats, butterflies on their hair and big gowns… taking couture to another level.

“Our previous collection was very playful, our clientele was very young, she wore crop tops and shorts.

“The couture fashion scene in SA still need to grow, we need to educate our clients about the design and production process, the craftsmanship and the behind-the scenes that goes into creating a couture garment.

“Some of my favourite international designers that I look up to for inspiration includes Tom Ford and Elie Saab and locally Gavin Rajah and Gert-Johan Coetzee are amazing at couture,”he says.

 

Modutle, the Tshwane University of Technology fashion graduate, developed his love for fashion and attention for details while watching his mother and grandmother do needle work.

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“I used to watch them hand stitching and that caught my attention from when I was about eight- years-old – that’s when I also developed my love for sketching.

“The first item I made in varsity was a pencil skirt, which took me a whole two weeks to make. My big break came when I interned with Khensani Nkosi of Stoned Cherie. That was an amazing experience and she is the pillar of where I am now.

“I learnt a lot about how she ran her business. She taught me that fashion is not all about the glitz and the glam,” he says.

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Describe the Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue woman?

“She is between the ages of 20 and 60. She is a romantic. She exudes opulence and luxury. She is the kind of woman that will wear a pencil skirt with a slit paired with with a feather jacket to work,” he says.

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His advice for aspiring designers:

“You need to learn the skill of design, your talent is not enough. Once you know the skill get an internship. It’s very important because you will be working with other people who have been in the industry longer than you.”

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● Connect with Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue on instagram @Orapelengmodutle.

Photography Credits: Creative direction: Rich Mnisi. Styling: Bee Diamondhead Photographer: Apart Verrips. Hats: Anita Ferreiradesigns. Make-Up Artist: Muzi Zuma. Flowers: Amor Flowers South Africa.

Connect with me on Instagram @Nontando58 https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

Read more of my work at http://www.IOL.co.za http://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style

This piece was first published in Top of The Times on May 29 2017.

 

Floral Couture

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FLOWER HEAD: Model Samira Ako Manieson of Full Circle Models, who is wearing a dress by Jacques LaGrange Couture. Her makeup is by M.A.C Cosmetics. Pictures by  Cindy Waxa. 

Flowers remain a central element for most spring and summer collections. For many years fashion designers have taken inspiration from flowers to create dreamy haute couture and ready-to-wear pieces.

Seen on runways, florals are no longer restricted to prints on garments: designers are complementing their designs with extravagant headpieces as seen recently at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Joburg.

This is currently a big trend, here at home as well as abroad. Designers such as Dutch luxury fashion house Viktor & Rolf impressed with their 2015 spring and summer collection that styled with elaborate floral embellishments.

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Viktor & Rolf impressed with their 2015 spring and summer collection that styled with elaborate floral embellishments.

Stellenbosch floral stylist extraordinaire Alwijn Burger says it is about time
that flowers were no longer reserved for just the garden or for weddings. Known as Blomboy, Burger has made a name for himself in the niche market as the talent behind surreal floral arrangements worn as headpieces and beautiful arrangements at events of all kinds.

In the past months, he has collaborated with a number of fashion designers, creating floral arrangements that add pizzazz to their showcases. Burger’s work is not limited to flower
accessory pieces for women, he also makes quirky pieces for men.

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I meet Burger at couture designer Jacques LaGrange’s studio in Sea Point where he meticulously creates an extravagant headpiece to go with a daring thigh-baring metallic
dress by LaGrange.

Working on leggy model Samira Ako-Manieson of Full Circle Model Management, he uses tropical leaves and calla lilies to create a leafy and dramatic piece which he describes as
“modest”.

Since the metallic gown already commands attention, Burger had to make sure that the
headpiece did not take away from the glamorous gown.

His process is organic; taking into consideration the dress and model, he plucks and twists and the floral piece comes to life effortlessly. 

The entire process takes just under 15 minutes.

“It’s about time that the meeting of fashion and flowers is becoming a big thing. Flowers have always been the Cinderella of the accessories: they have not been given enough prominence.

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“Also I think we take flowers for granted as we are used to having them in our gardens. We tend not to appreciate them as much. However, we are catching on to the international trend where flowers are a timeless sort of thing… I hope the trend is here to stay.

“Instead of wearing your usual hat or fascinator that will cost you hundreds of rand, why not do a floral fascinator or piece? It’s not expensive; the bunch of flowers that I used on Ako-Manieson were only R350 and it will make your outfit stand out more,”he says.

Although Burger’s love for flowers began as a child, he fell into his now career purely by chance, after landing a job as a clerk at a flower shop in the UK, where he learnt as much as he could about flowers.

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“Flowers are here today and gone tomorrow… they are not an investment but meant to be enjoyed,” adds Burger.

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Connect at blomboy.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: theblomboy

Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on November 9 2016. 

 

Nontando Wore What?

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I recently did a studio shoot with photographer Tracey Adams. We had a whole concept planned beforehand that included amazing makeup artistry but the plan fell apart at the last minute. The shoot went ahead and we managed to pull it off to produce some of our best work so far;-)

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If you follow me on social media you will know that I am a big Adidas fan and I am obsessed with socks. Combining the two, I came up with this clean and sassy looks.

TRA_5815.JPG I am a advocate of Proudly South African designers and African designers in general. Here I am wearing a gorgeous dress by Rich Mnisi that is available at Spree:  https://www.spree.co.za/

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I love everything about this shot. The Basotho traditional hat was just genius.

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58. 

Iintsizwa Ziphelele

PICTURE: UBUNTU

All pictures are by Ubuntu: Iintsizwa Ziphelel co-founder  Mogomotsi Magome and I. 

Quirky, quality clothing that celebrates the arts and the African culture and heritage is what the Iintsizwa Ziphelele brand is all about. Based in the vibrant and energetic township of Pimville in Soweto, Joburg, the label launched in 2006 and is recognised as one the coolest and oldest streetwear brands.

I meet co-owner Mogomotsi Magome  at their studio/factory early on a Monday morning as the township comes to life. The studio facing the street is a kaleidoscope of colour, displaying t-shirts , headwear, jackets and shirts in mixed prints and fabrics. Chatting over a breakfast of puffy amangwinya (vetkoek) and polony, Magome tells me that Iintsizwa Ziphelele, which loosely translated means Brotherhood, is a story of brothers united by their love for fashion and the arts.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

Magome and his friend and business partner Mthunzi Nkosi met when they were studying at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

“We were studying things that had nothing to do with fashion. I was doing operational management and Nkosi was doing management services… very corporate stuff. We got involved in the arts such as poetry and over time an idea about having a clothing line came about and it wasn’t just him and I at the time, there were other friends involved,” he explains.

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“The idea was to create a clothing label that we could identify with, away from mainstream and retail clothing. Mostly because we were in the arts and working with musicians and artists, we wanted to create a brand that people can identify with… an African brand but not your typical African. A blend of African prints mixed with modern styles and fabrics,” says Magome. 

Their signature t-shirts display cool graphics telling stories of African traditions, such as their popular t-shirt with the word “Lobola” on it. This in many African cultures, such as in the Zulu and Xhosa nations, is a price paid by the groom to the bride’s family before marriage.

“The name ‘Iintsizwa Ziphelele’ represents the principles of a brotherhood,” says Magome.

“When we were in tertiary, for a lot of us it was unchartered territory and for us to survive we had to stick together as a collection of friends. There has always been a necessity to keep brothers around, help each other to survive socially and otherwise. That bond that we formed gave birth to Iintsizwa Ziphelele and it has been like that ever since,” he says..

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“In the beginning we were just printing t-shirts using a small one-colour screen printing machine, the most basic method of printing that you can use, in a garage. Back then the trend was to print political icons such as Steve Biko on t-shirts, it was about what was happening on the streets and people wanted to see that.

“As time went on we worked with graphic designers to create different kinds of images. It’s a big jump from where we were, we have now moved beyond t-shirts and are creating a variety of things,” says Magome.

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Although the brand primarily produces menswear they also have a handful of women’s t-shirts and bucket hats on offer. During my visit I styled their menswear collection for their summer look-book. Their pieces, such as the camouflage shirt and sleeveless bomber jackets work as unisex pieces.

‘’The printed images on our clothing speak about life in the townships and homelands, and represent our daily reality as black peoples no matter where we are in the world. The brand celebrates Ubuntu and the last remnants of our cultures, post apartheid,” says Nkosi, who I interviewed later.

“Through the clothing we get to tell our stories. Fashion has played a role in defining people and eras, telling tales of different generations from the 1600s to the 80’s and now post slavery. We are inspired by the rich history that our country tells, the unique nation of this world – in fashion, music, languages and the different cultural exchanges that come from the different ethnic groups,” he says.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

From humble beginnings to now having a fully functional mini factory at the back of their studio boasting the latest technology in printing, sewing and embroidery machines, the duo now employs young graduates and offer their services to other brands and organisations.
Not only is their clothing popular in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Joburg, they also have clients overseas.

“The business is funding itself. What we did is to try and create a business model that can sustain the brand. The machines that we use to produce our brand, we also use them to produce printing services to other brands;

A lot of young brands get killed because it’s not that easy to get out there and make as many sales as possible and produce again. We had to find some innovative way of making it work,” Magome explains.

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

 

“Obviously growth is inevitable. Three years from now we should be in every corner of the country in department stores;

One of the business’s primary objectives is to create jobs for our people and play our part in this country’s economic growth, not only by enriching ourselves but by building our community here in Soweto,” adds Nkosi.

 

PICTURE: UBUNTU

PICTURE: UBUNTU

 

Connect with Iintsizwa Ziphelele on:

Facebook: Iintsizwa Ziphelele
Website: http://www.iintsizwa.com

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on October 3 2016. Find me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: @Nontando58

 

The girl in brown and black

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My look for SA Menswear Week Day 2 was lit. This faux leather two-toned outfit was goals. Paired with a Nontando original African Prints bomber jacket it was just fire, if I do say so myself;-)  I will be launching my range soon fashionistas, stay tuned.

Amazing photographer Rizqua Barnes Richards took these before the shows started. Check out her amazing work on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/rizqua_barnes/?hl=en.

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Nontando Wore What?  #Nontandoworewhat

Jacket: A Nontando Original

Skirt: Mr Price Fashion

Shoes: G-Star RAW

Bag: Adidas

Hat: Simon and Mary 

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: Nontando58. https://www.instagram.com/nontando58/?hl=en

Look of the week

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Another week, another slay!  My dress-up party continues at The Bromwell Mall. My look of the week is this linen off-white dress by Mo’ko Elosa Julia M’Poko
and hat by Simon and Mary. Both are Proudly South African designers…all the more reason to Wear SA.

This casual but oh-so glamorous look is perfect for a sunny day out somewhere chic. Happy Fashion Friday Fashionistas!!!!

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Dress by Mo’ko Elosa Julia M’Poko
Hat by Simon and Mary

 

Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: Nontando58

The story of the man in suits

WELL-SUITED: Brian Lehang sports an ensemble at the biannual menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Italy this year. PICTURES: FABRIAZIO DI PAOLO

WELL-SUITED: Brian Lehang sports an ensemble at the biannual menswear trade show Pitti Uomo in Italy this year. PICTURES: FABRIAZIO DI PAOLO

THESuitableMan, Brian Lehang’s story began at Retlile Primary School in Soweto, when he and a group of friends decided to dress like gentlemen to impress their peers and teachers.

“We used to be naughty boys at school and just before graduating we realised that we needed to do something that would get our names into the school’s good books,” he explains.

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Dressed in black trousers, khaki shirts and ties – Lehang’s tweed was borrowed from his uncle – the effort earned the group a spot in the principal’s good books.

“I suggested that we wear ties with our uniforms so we would look more like gentlemen than naughty boys. Mine had sentimental value as my uncle had inherited it from his father. Even before we got to school, people at the bus stop were already giving us strange looks.

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“That day the principal gave us a smile for the first time,” he says.
I first noticed Lehang at the inaugural SA Menswear Week (SAMW) last year.

He was dressed in a classic “five-piece suit” – a pants, jacket, waistcoat that also included a shirt and tie (or bowtie).

Dressing up for a fashion week is not uncommon as most people are there to be seen and show off their outfits. However, wearing a suit these days without good reason, such as to a wedding or a black-tie event, is rare, unlike the early to mid-20th century, when the suit was an acceptable look for day and night.

Lehang’s sartorial look – complete with a matching pocket square, hat and clutch bag – therefore raises as many eyebrows as it draws stares.

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Introducing himself as a professional golf player, Lehang says his journey to becoming The SuitableMan was established on the golf course. After trying a number of sports at high school, including running, swimming and soccer, he fell in love with golf after seeing a neighbour practise the sport in a backyard.

“I immediately thought: ‘This is the sport for me’. I was drawn to its uniqueness at the time… no black kid in Soweto played the sport. I started playing with my neighbour after school and I did everything to learn about the game, from reading about the sport to visiting golf courses,” says Lehang.

“Playing golf is expensive so in Grade 10 I started working at a golf club in Roodepoort as a caddy in return for golf gear, equipment and a place to play.

“A new era began. I gave away all my denim jeans as I only wore formal pants or chinos and golf shirts to work. I became popular in my community… people were curious about the young boy catching a taxi with a golf bag.

My golf was not that great at the time, but I very much looked the part.”

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Growing up in a female-dominated home, Lehang’s only source of style inspiration came from magazines and books, and from studying what golf pros such as Tiger Woods wore on and off the course.

“There was no father figure to show me how to wear a tie,” he says. Lehang says fashion and golf are interconnected.

“I fell in love with fashion as much as I fell in love with golf, to a point where I started looking at how men used to wear suits in the old days.

“I have spoken to old men who used to live in Sophiatown and Meadowlands, and they told me fascinating stories of how they only wore suits on pay day.

“I fell in love with suits and started buying them at jumble sales.
“A neighbour would alter them to make them the perfect fit,” he explains.

Now fashion has become a serious business for him. Not only is he a permanent feature on the fashion scene, but he has made it his goal to visit the world’s top fashion capitals, such as Paris and New York to learn from the masters.

At the recent biannual menswear trade show, Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy,Lehang was among the most photographed people there.

“I felt like I was at home in Florence. People were not looking at me with raised eyebrows, like they sometimes do here.

“It’s not just a place where people go to be photographed. I met tailors and shoemakers from around the world since I am trying to learn as much as possible in terms of how to put together a suit and where it comes from. It was a magical time”

“As much as they say that fashion is unrestricted there is certain etiquette that a gentleman has to know when it comes to suits.

“Such as if you are wearing braces or suspenders you can’t put a belt on as the braces were meant to hold up the trousers.

“Or when you are wearing a slim fit tie, you wear it with a slim fit tie clip for it to look more proper. There are also rules on how you wear your hat.

“I believe in being a traditionalist when it comes to suits… keeping it sartorial all the time,” Lehang says.

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Brian Lehang’s style tips

●Buy a suit off the rack and have it tailored to fit.
●Do your homework. There are many shops that sell suits, so take
your time and compare prices and quality.
●Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most sales people are very helpful,
so don’t shy away from asking for information even if you’re not planning to buy at the time.

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on March 31 2016.