Moonchild Sanelly says she kicked doors when they didn’t open

CT TOTT Moonchild main pic by Jimi Herrtage.jpg

TENACITY: Moonchild Sanelly Picture: Jim Herrtage

The blue-haired pop star, has made impressive moves in her young career. Performing with Busi Mhlongo and Madala Kunene, she is a beaming light that will illuminate for many years to come.I caught up with her this week while she was in town to record at the Red Bull Cape Town S tudios, where she spoke about her career and her upcoming performance at the Oppikoppi Festival in October. 

When you completed high school, was music the trajectory you expected for your career? When I left school, the stage was definitely the vision. Performance and my mom allowed me to be expressive, so lights, camera, and action was my life’s theme.

The R&B and pop landscape has changed a lot since you came out. What are your feelings on the scene today? I respect the power of reinvention, like Beyoncé. I think it’s one of those things where you learn ways of staying true to your art yet are creative enough for young ones to jump on and appreciate, without calling it a throwback.

At this point in your career, what would you like to accomplish? A song with US record producer, rapper, singer Diplo. My fashion school and that is after I scoop my awards in every genre that I pitch for! I plan on winning in everything I embark on. I’m patient too.


CT TOTT July 14  Moonchild.jpg

Picture supplied. 

If you had to select a new artist to collaborate with on a song or album, who would it be? It would be this dope male rapper and art director Oarabile Mahole aka Jay Cubed SA, from Mafikeng. Every song is conceptual and he deals with branding artists as an artist and I love Die Antwoord with my life. Aka and Anatii are fire galore. The queen Thandiswa Mazwai. There are so many Nicci Saint Bruce is a Yassssssss!

Tell us about your experience at Primavera Pro in Spain?

Life life life! You are shown over there that music is a language of its own. The appreciation, the posters as I walked into festival they love our craft. I wish we all thought super big with our careers no matter what we do.

You have been fortunate enough to perform with SA’s well respected artists. Did you think you would get to this point? Tell us about some of the highlights while working with high profile names? I was this kid who was always eager and kicked doors when they didn’t open. It’s always a tick off the bucket list of your career. I am still that character. As an artist, with each achievement there’s hope that something better is coming. I felt that with every year in my 12 years on stage. I think patience is by default as you don’t think negatively when there’s light seeping little by little. It was an honour and the journey continues.Mama Busi said to me…“ngane yam umuhle, don’t change” (My child, you are beautiful. Don’t ever change.) Can you imagine this rock star telling a young fired-up red-haired girl that!

You will be performing at Oppikoppie? How do you feel about this and what can the audience expect? New music from my ep called #1stmillion which I’ve just recorded at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. I’ll also be sharing the stage with Luma and The Kiffness, so I am all over. You’re a pretty stylish and fashion forward individual. How important do you think image and style is when it comes to the music you’re making, as well as performing in general?Image to me is everything. You must spark an interest for people to find out what you do, before you deliver. That’s what I tell my clients. I cannot live with being invisible, the eyes are awesome.

What advice do you have for artists who are interested in producing, writing and performing but might have a hard time balancing and focusing their efforts? Believe in your art. Listen to wise counsel, in fact you may seek it. When you have a vision, you are the first one who needs to be motivated enough to hustle it t hrough. Your product is the reason for performing, so don’t lose focus, ever.

* Connect with Moonchild on Instagram

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Lexus SA Menswear Week A/W’17

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Jenevieve Lyons, Collection name: de-frag-mented (undated) picture by  by Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

Africa’s only menswear-focused fashion showcase, the fifth edition of the Lexus SA Menswear Week, took place this month at The Palms in Woodstock. I chatted to three designers whose work was among those that stood out, about their collections and inspiration.

Jenevieve Lyons (South Africa)

Collection name: de-frag-mented (undated)

Tell us about the concept behind your collection? The collection was an amalgamation of my two previous collections: Macula Autumn/Winter 2016 and Deferential Spring/Summer 2017.Both these collections carry immense relevance internationally , allowing us to showcase Macula Autumn/Winter 2016 in Helsinki, in Finland, at the end of last year.We felt that a revisit would be pertinent, thus seeing the opportunity for de-frag-mented to arise as a collection.The collection was therefore presented in the manner of an artistic installation showcasing a concise, five-look collection featuring all the campaign models from our previous two collections.They were initially disguised behind a stocking, which was later cut open to reveal their faces, and this was intended to tell a visual parable to intrigue fashion-lovers, compelling them to think, wonder and ponder about the reasoning and also reminisce along with us, all three stories in one.

How important is Fashion Week for you? The mission of our brand is to tell parables through our fashion – to take it so much further than just clothes.As a South African designer uniting to build our industry and African fashion’s identity; and to pull this clichéd identity of “ethnic” and print to a more modernistic view that can be placed next to an international brand and be understood globally.So the importance of realising cultural, social, political and environmental issues within a fashion context to educate and build renewed perspectives on the African fashion industry is imperative.

Where do you go to seek artistic inspiration? I am aware of my surroundings at all times – politically, socially, news-driven, culturally – all in all to be tapped into the zeitgeist every day, at every moment. I find inspiration in organic places.I will experience or witness something or someone that will spark interest, and this interest links up within my fashion forecasting stream.

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Nicholas Coutts  picture by  by Simon Deiner / SDR Photo


Nicholas Coutts (South Africa)

Tell us about your A/W17 collection you presented at the Lexus SA Menswear Week? For this collection, I drew inspiration from South Africa’s diverse culture combined with a strong 1970s influence.I aimed to create fresh and dynamic garments that the contemporary man can wear while making a subtle impact.There are glimpses of metallic touches of texture running through the collection. The colours give a warm and happy atmosphere, and sophisticated tailoring.

My collaboration with House of Grace design (macrame bags) and milliner Crystal Birsch for the hats added a vibrant and innovative mood which energised the collection.Styling for the collection was by Peter Georgiades. He brought a fresh approach to the styling and another point of view to the collection.It was important for me to collaborate this season to empower both myself and those that I collaborated with.

What were the first steps you took in the fashion world? My interest in fashion was sparked from an early age. I come from a creative family who have been supportive in my career from the beginning.After studying fashion design for three years, I worked learning different aspects of fashion industry before starting my own brand.

What is it like working for yourself and who is your dream client? I work with a pattern maker and a seamtress, and it’s quite lonely sometimes. It’s challenging as I have to do it all, from PR to overseeing garment construction to designing. However, in the end, the final product is very rewarding.

ST Verve Fashion Pic 2 Mai Atafo.jpg Mai Atafo Atalier picture by  by Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

  Mai Atafo Atalier (Nigeria)

Collection name: Me

Tell us about your Lexus SA Menswear AW’17 showcase? Me is a collection that describes my journey from when I was 19 years to this present day. In my early years, hand-downs from my siblings and shopping second-hands because one couldn’t afford cool new clothes made up my wardrobe.Added to this was my need to stand out by reinventing these pieces through reconstructing or sometime deconstructing them.Hand print by Dricky_ helps tell a literal story (my first fashion collaboration). The base of all this was my love for denim, velvet, corduroy (ridged velvet) suede and camouflage print.

I also used houndstooth (a pattern with notched corners suggestive of a canine tooth) which I consider to be the most technical check pattern, which could be fun and serious at the same time.Tie and dye for character and the obvious knitwear just because it’s Autumn/Winter and Verraomo is amazing as she knits herself.

In the past few years, my love for tuxedos led to a path where I can respect the dress-code and also give it twist, which is subtly visible by the velvet taping on the trousers matching the jacket fabric (velvet) rather than the conventional trouser tapping matching the lapel of the tuxedo jacket.

Not to forget the smoking jacket with our trademark shawl peck lapel (like all the tuxedos in the collection) with houndstooth trousers rather than the traditional tartan checks.

“For once, the collection wasn’t about predicting consumer trends but one that’s truly me and what I love”

The fashion industry is very competitive. What sets your brand apart?As bespoke tailor and fashion designer, what sets me apart is fine tailoring, fit, quality and ability to create garments that incorporate this with edge and fashion forward design, which sets us apart.

This piece was first published in the Cape Times arts and lifestyle supplement Top of The Times on February 17 2017.

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When fashion meets decor


Eduan Roos, Tamara Chérie and Leandri de Leeuw collaborated for aCREATE and Chérie Spring/Summer 2016/2017. PICTURES: JOE DAN PHOTOGRAPHY

COLLABORATION is now a common buzzword in fashion, art and design. Brands,
creatives and influencers are coming together to share ideas… curating content that is specifically relevant for their consumers.

The latest collaboration is between creative décor specialists, Eduan Roos and Leandri de Leeuw of aCREATE, an award-winning contemporary readyto- wear brand, Tamara Chérie. The collaboration, which was part of aCREATE and Chérie Spring/Summer2016/17 showcase titled “A Common Thread”, was presented at the Roodebloem Studios in Woodstock last month. It saw the coming together of interior design and fashion in a beautifully curated way.


The two brands’ aesthetic of muted palettes and minimal styles complemented each other well, expressing clean lines and refined silhouettes articulate in a chic modern attitude.

Previously part of The Aleit Group , Roos and De Leeuw recently ventured out on their own to form aCREATE, and over the past months have made a name for themselves as the go-to-designers for bespoke event experiences in Cape Town and Joburg. Their furniture pieces offer customised décor and accessories that interpret their vision for each unique


The local events industry has evolved over the years, with clients now demanding service that not only sets them apart, but also delivers enduring memories for their guests, Roos explains when I met him and De Leeuw at Chérie’s studio in Gardens.

Roos, a fashion designer by profession, says the slow living trend has spilled over from lifestyle to décor and design.

“There is a big Japanese influence in design at the moment… a sense of calmness in the furniture pieces. Such as using a statement piece as the focal point instead of cluttering the room with different types of furniture pieces; 

Décor design is heading to a clean and minimalist approach,” says Roos

De Leeuw continues: “Less is more at the moment. Also, people are now more aware than ever and conscious of their environment… People are more aware of the fact that there is a serious water shortage problem.

“We recently did an event where the clients specifically asked for organic materials instead of flowers… which is rare;” she says 


About their bespoke pieces, Roos says they create functioning pieces meant to be admired.

“For us, it’s really about conceptualising a look for each event, tailoring it to fit in with your brand and vision. These days clients are so over-stimulated by picture-driven social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, that it’s key to get a sense of what the client wants and to interpret it in a way that communicates their vision and brand,” says Roos.


“Our aesthetic is calm, natural and none aggressive. We want the pieces in our collection to be calming in a sense and make it easy to fit any brief,” says Roos. 


The ottoman couch, sort of like a church bench meets a comfortable sofa, is a popular furniture piece at the moment. It’s slick, clean and a beautiful piece, says

De Leeuw adds the niche market of interior design is so competitive that one has to stand out in order to survive.

“ You need to stand out, have a unique thing about you that will draw clients,”adds de Leeuw 


Tamara Chérie Spring/Summer 2016/2017


AWARD-WINNING designer, Tamara Chérie Dyson, has interned at Vivienne Westwood in London and won numerous design prizes, including the Elle Rising Star Design Award in 2014.

She started her design career last year building her brand and creating a successful diffusion line for Mr Price. In her relatively short career she has
been involved in fashion weeks such as Mercedes-Benz Africa Fashion Week
and Joburg Fashion Week.


Her collection reflects a balanced sense of timeless elegance and current intuitive design, focusing on achieving impeccable quality and the perfect fit.

Confident and sophisticated, the brand’s collections offer clients an investment wardrobe of discreet indulgence and understated, effortless style.

She recently launched her SS’17 collection which is available at various boutiques in Cape Town and Joburg and also on online shopping platform Spree. She describes her design process as “methodical”.

“I design key silhouettes that I feel every woman will want in their wardrobe that season and then I build on that. I don’t really follow trends and fads. I design then I will sometimes research detailing to add to the collection… I usually follow my heart and it
works,” she says

The Tamara Chérie woman she designs with in mind is “confident, sophisticated and believes in investing in pieces that transcends seasons and fads. A woman who believes in high quality, good designs and good fabrics”, she adds.

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CREATIVE: Eduan Roos, Tamara Chérie and Leandri de Leeuw collaborated for aCREATE and Chérie Spring/Summer 2016/2017.

Connect with with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58
● aCreate at
● Twitter: acreate_za
● INSTAGRAM: acreate_za
● Tamara Chérie Dyson: Instagram:

This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on November 23 2016. 


Deeva van der Merwe and the Androgyny Era

Merwe Mode 2

All pictures are by SDR Photo. This collection was unveilled at the SA Menswear Week SS16/17 

Androgyny is the biggest talking point in fashion right now. Androgynous fashion or gender-neutral garments that can be worn by men and women have been on our radar for a while. The traditional lines of men versus women are blurring fast driving the shift towards open-mindedness and gender fluidity. Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith, 17,is fronting a campaign for Louis Vuitton womenwear line while boyish girl models are appearing at men’s fashion runway shows.

Merwe Mode 4

At the recently held SA Menswear Week in Cape Town, designers such as Rich Mnisi and Thebe Magugu, Mzukisi Mbane, Lukhanyo Mdingi and Deeva van der Merwe presented unisex clothing.

There were mixed reactions from audiences, some men felt that they were not yet brave enough to step out in a skirt or dress while others were ready to try some of the styles.

For Cape Town designer Deeva van der Merwe of the Merwe Mode, she has been more comfortable shopping in the menswear department for as long as she can remember.

Merwe Mode 3

“I feel so strongly about the androgyny and the unisex look. It’s become a huge trend now but since the beginning I have felt this way. I always shopped in the menswear department and I have had so many menswear clothing that I have bought over the years that fit me well,” says van der Merwe

“The shoes, pants and it’s not necessarily that they are big or small but it’s just the style that I like and the fit is much better. It is still difficult because the stereotype of ‘pink is for girls and blue for boys’ is still there however that is changing. I love wearing men’s clothing I think the structure and the tailoring is much better,” she says.

Van der Merwe, graduated from the Future Excellence Design Institute of South Africa (FEDISA) with a BA degree in fashion design and business management where she was awarded two of the four ceremony awards for Best Technical Ability and Most Creative Collection.

“I originally wanted to be a veterinarian (vet) but I have always been artistic…I enjoyed art and drawing. When I was accepted at FEDISA and I never looked back,”she says.

Van der Merwe did her internship at the Tom Ford Studio in London, a position many young designers would kill for.

“It was an incredible daunting experience. An almost sterile environment compared to colourful South Africa, I expected it to be this wild and arty place. It was great working for him… the experience made me fall in love with tailoring and menswear,” explains van der Merwe.

The Merwe Mode aesthetic is well tailored and structured Androgyny lines complimented by subtle prints.

“Our aesthetic is clean. .It’s Androgynous. It’s tailoring and there is a subtle quirkiness within each garment. The colour palettes are very feminine, strong and confident but each piece is also blank enough for you to use as a canvas and style your own way,” explains Van der Merwe.

“My heart does lies in custom wear. We started with simple street wear, good fitting and fun stuff and progressed to custom wear. I am a pattern maker by trade and I enjoy making making patterns which can be on the laborious side but it’s something that I genuinely love doing,” says van der Merwe.

“I am totally fascinated with creating custom made garments for people. From forming the garment on the person’s shape, really getting to know a person, to making a flattering piece that complements their personality and style. It’s a lot of work and it’s tiring but I have a lot of energy and a very, very keen interest in people,” she says.

Merwe Mode 6

“Designers need to lessen the quantity of their designs and concentrate on their fits. With a good fit you can keep changing fabric and patterns. You get known for your fit and style and fast fashion is impossible to keep up with. Create impressive and unique designs that can’t be mass produced, “van der Merwe says.


Inspiration, she says comes from everywhere, from picture sharing sites such as Instagram and Pinterest to the Internet.

“Running a label is very hard and time consuming but it becomes an addiction that becomes part of your life. It’s constant problem solving, making a mess into your beauty. It’s really mistakes evolving into elements of perfection. It’s rolling with the gun shots…I wouldn’t change it for anything,” adds van der Merwe.

Merwe Mode 5

Merwe Mode 1

Merwe ModeSA Designer Deeva van der Merwe. Credit: SDR Photo

* You can find Merwe Mode at Convoy at The Bamboo Centre in Melville Johannesburg or at their studio in Cape Town. Visit for more information.


Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat: Nontando58

This piece  was first published in the Cape Argus on July 25 2016. 

The G-Star RAW Army


We shot a beautiful G-Star RAW campaign with my squad the other day. From left to right, Lauren Campbell @Fashionista_ct , Nandi Ndlovu @nandsndlovu and Thapele @thapeleaux, find them on Instagram.

Shot by talented photographer and social media influencer Andisiwe Boya @_mrbentlysa (IG-handle), we played dress up with some of G-Star RAW latest collection which includes army suits, bomber jackets, boiler suits, windbreakers and pouch pants designed by Pharrell Williams’ wife model Helen Lasichanh.  I love the versatility of the pieces which you can mix and match to your liking. We slayed this shoot… if I do say so myself;-)










Salute!! Until next time, SLAY!

King of couture shows high style


JLG no credit

Jacques LaGrange needs no introduction.

Whether you move in South Africa’s fashion circles or are a socialite, you’ve probably admired his creations. Over the years, his meticulous attention to detail and the glamour of his garments, usually created with a touch of drama, have earned him the title “King of couture”, and his client base includes the who’s who of South African society and international socialities.


Describing himself as a “farm boy that happens to be in the fashion world”, LaGrange
grew up in Paarl and credits his mother for his creativity.

“My love for fashion was always there from a very young age. I remember during bath times I used to enjoy draping a towel around me in a fashionable way.

“I also used to drape myself in my mother’s curtains… I always had a thing for draping things,” he says.

JLG no credit 2

“When I was a little boy, I played with dolls instead of cars.I had a love for art and nice things and my mother loved to dress up.

“During those years there were a lot of parties and she used to dress up in these beautiful dresses. People don’t dress up like that now. In those days, I would tell her what looks better with what, which shoe and earrings go together… I guess I always had it in me,” LaGrange says.

A fashion design graduate from the South African Academy of Clothing Technology, LaGrange cut his teeth in the world of fashion working for couturier Errol Arendz as his personal assistant.

pic by Johann Delport 3

Picture by Johann Delport 

In 1999, he ventured out on his own with his label, Jacques LaGrange Couture.

“Working for Arendz was nice and people often ask me, ‘did you learn something
from Arendz?’ But I don’t really think I learnt that much. I learnt how to work with people because there was a lot happening on a daily basis, but a flair for fashion is something I always had,” says the designer, whose first creation was a wedding dress
with a panelled corset and bead-encrusted neckline.


Online encyclopaedia Wikipedia describes “haute couture” as a French word for “high fashion or high dressmaking”. It further says it is high-end fashion that is constructed by hand from start to finish, made from high quality, expensive, often unusual fabric and sewn with extreme attention to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable sewers, often using time-consuming and hand-executed techniques.

LaGrange agrees.

His designs are constructed with luxurious and quality fabrics, sourced from the world’s most respected fabric manufactures such as Jakob Schlaepfer in Switzerland and Solstiss in Paris.

pic by Johann Delport 5

Picture by Johann Delport 

Valentino, Chanel and Dior are some of his favourite haute couture masters.

“Haute couture is a way of putting a garment together, the techniques, the fabric choices, the styling, the proportions… it’s like being an architect.

“You get fashion and you get couture, and I always say, couture is a lifestyle’,”
says LaGrange.

“Couture is made for the body. The fabric, workmanship and proportions are key. Not a lot of people do couture because it’s very expensive.

“I could afford to do things differently when I started out because I had highend

“Whereas new designers are struggling more because they haven’t really found themselves and their signature… I always knew what I wanted to do,” he explains.

“Real couture takes months to create if everything is done by hand. It can take up to six months, which makes it very expensive.

“The word ‘couture’ today is so widely used and most people don’t understand it. It’s a lifestyle because you can’t wear couture every day. I always say that couture is not a party dress, it’s a lifestyle,” says LaGrange.


pic by Johann Delport 1

Picture by Johann Delport 

He describes his typical client as an elegant, confident, strong and powerful  woman who knows who she is, what she wants and who is not afraid to draw attention to herself. The demand for his services is great, with a stream of orders coming in throughout the year, says LaGrange.

“I am a very simple and plain designer, but I am over-the-top at the same time. Sometimes we have to work quickly to produce a garment which is not really
proper couture, but an illusion”

“Also, if you do proper couture, the dress may appear outdated, so we cheat here and there to make it more modern.

“Sometimes we do very simple wedding dresses and sometimes over-the-top extravagant gowns. I enjoy the whole process, from the start to seeing the end product;”

pic by Johann Delport 2

Picture by Johann Delport 

“It gets frustrating sometimes, but I love doing things such as the beading by hand. I have dressed a lot of people over the years, high-end people who live the couture lifestyle”

“ I never planned on being a wedding designer, but I did one wedding dress and everyone loved it – and they kept calling.

“I always say that if you dress a bride and you don’t get clients from that wedding,
then you are doing something wrong. All my referrals are by word-of-mouth. I am fully booked and I don’t even have a website. I am active on social media, but I don’t really believe that’s how you get business”

pic by Johann Delport 4


“It’s nice to be out there, but that is not how my clients work… They fly in and out
for consultations, from Paris and all over Europe…

“We create beautiful garments that people sometimes think are done by a European designer. They come here wanting one dress, but they leave with three”

“A lot of people ask me, ‘what awards have you won?’ I have won a couple, but it’s not the awards that make you famous, it’s the clients.

“You can have great people writing about you in magazines and you can do TV interviews – all of that is great for a brand, but at the and of the day they are going to pay for your lifestyle,” says LaGrange.

Jacques Le Grange

Designer Jacques LaGrange

This article was first published in the Cape Argus on May 24 2006.

Randy Fenoli aka the ‘Bridal Gown Whisperer’

Randy with Brides (Courtesy of Francois Dischinger)

Wedding gown designer and stylist Randy Fenoli,of the reality television
series Say Yes to the Dress and Randy to the Rescue, is the go-to-guy about everything bridal.

The first TLC network series follows events at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan, while the second was a roadshow to cities across the US where a team, led by Fenoli, helps brides-to-be determine the perfect look – dress, hair and make-up – for their wedding day.

Fenoli, aka the “Bridal Gown Whisperer” is the star of both shows, whose flamboyant and lovable personality has endeared him to many around the globe. In Say Yes to the Dress, brides travel from far and wide, usually with their wedding party in tow, to the bridal salon, seeking Fenoli’s expert opinion. The hunt for the perfect dress is usually a tear-filled affair where the party disagrees on things such as the colour or style of the dress.

Countless brides have been reduced to tears or stormed out of the shop during a consultation.

“Unlike other reality shows that only rely on drama, Say Yes to the Dress focuses more on family relationships and personal connections. I think viewers can relate to the show on that personal level because their families may have the same dynamics as the families they see on the show,” says Fenoli.

Now in its 14th season and viewed in 130 countries, the show is one of the longest running reality TV shows.

“So many different people can relate to the show, from little girls who want to be Cinderella, who dream about their wedding dresses in the future, to brides who are in the process of getting married and are looking to see what’s out there. Even grandmothers who maybe never had that shopping experience with their families and maybe fathers who watch the show and and think: ‘Oh, what am I going to do when I have to go shopping with my little girl?’

“I think it has really opened up people’s mind to what happens in a bridal salon and it really speaks to the family unit and just how they interact in a public setting. Also because we don’t script the show, it’s real families going through real things and real people can relate to it… that’s why it has lasted so long,” Fenoli says.

RTTR Blue Suit Retouched  (1)

Fenoli, who will be a special guest at Bridal Fair SA at Montecasino in Joburg next month, made his first dress for his motherwhen he was nine.

“My mother came home with a new sewing machine, good scissors and some patterns with the intention to make her own clothes. However, she soon discovered that she could not sew a hem in a terry cloth towel. She left for work the next day, but not before telling me that I was not to touch her sewing machine or good scissors.

“After she left, I looked through the patterns she had brought home and found a McCall’s pattern with That Girl (a TV sitcom that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971) actor Marlo Thomas. At the time I had a huge crush on Thomas. I set up everything on our dining room table and proceeded to make the dress from the pattern.

“That night, when she came home, she saw the dress hanging in her bedroom.
She wore the dress to work the next day and came home with another pattern. So I guess you could say the passion began with my mother.”

Those dresses were the first of many that he would make, launching his career as a designer. Fenoli says shopping for the perfect dress can be a stressful time for most brides-to-be and one of the reasons is that brides always try to please everyone.

“The bride needs to realise that if she loves the dress and feels beautiful in it, the people who really love her will also love her choice. And if they don’t, then why did she put them on the guest list to begin with? It’s like, if they’re not going to show you the respect and love because you are who you are, then let them sit at home.

“When shopping for your gown, bring people who are supportive and who understand what your style is and the look you are trying to achieve, as trying on a wedding gown puts women in a vulnerable position of being put on a pedestal and being judged, says Fenoli.

“One of the most important, if not the most important, days in a woman’s life is her wedding day.

“To be able to share in this event and help a woman feel confident of her selection of gown and to help her feel beautiful is such a special feeling. I am the luckiest man alive,” he says.

Randy’s tips for finding the perfect bridal gown

THE SEXIER the better: I think the girls are definitely going for sexy dresses of sheer panels, really low backs and see-through. I don’t think they’re really thinking about the ceremony, but more about the reception or the honeymoon.

Diversity: Every bride wants their wedding to be unique, so they are thinking outside the box. I hear this from almost every bride: “I don’t want to look like any other bride before me”. But the truth is that even though looks may be similar, every bride has a quality about her that makes her look unique.

I personally prefer great style over a trendy look. However, each bride is different and some brides want to showcase the latest trends. Looking at some of today’s most talked about weddings such as Kim Kardashian’s head jewellery piece, Kate Middleton’s wedding dress sleeves, LeAnn Rimes’s high-slit dress, there really is not a single direction that bridal wear is trending. And that is the true trend, the desire for every bride to be unique on her wedding day.

Every dress is cut differently and every person is shaped differently. I would not want to generalise and say that a certain style or silhouette looks flattering on everyone. It’s true that more people can wear an A-line silhouette and that a mermaid gown is more difficult to pull off; however, there is more to be considered than simply the silhouette.

You also need to consider the neckline, waistline, and details of the dress. For example, a gown in chiffon or charmeuse will look completely different from the same gown made in taffeta or satin. I usually try to refrain from making blanket statements that may inhibit a bride from trying on a silhouette she may think she can’t wear. You never know how a certain dress or silhouette will look on you until you’ve tried it on.

BEFORE starting to look for a gown every bride should establish four things:
●The story: What type of couple are you and what would you like your wedding to
●The plan: The venue, time of year, etc should all be chosen before looking for a gown.
This can help when trying to determine the level of formality of the gown as well as fabric, colour, etc.
●The budget: Gowns come in every price range. A bride needs to establish how much they want to spend on the gown, as well as the entire wedding. For example, if you come from a large family that gathers around the dinner table every week, then the food may be the most important thing in your budget. Or it may be the music if you love a big party. You may find the perfect gown that is a little over budget. If this happens, you need to know where you can trim from other areas of the wedding in order to get the gown of your dreams.
●The look: A bride should ask herself what type of bride she wants to be. Ask yourself:
“Am I classic, flirty, fun, sophisticated, retro or a combination of classic and edgy?” Then ask yourself, what’s your story, and that of your fiancé’s? Are you nature lovers, are you artists, do you have a special connection to a location? Then decide how you can translate these into your wedding theme. Once you answer these questions, finding your gown will be much easier.


●Say Yes to the Dress is aired on TLC, channel 135 on DStv.
●The Bridal Fair SA 2016 at Montecasino takes place from May 27 to 29.
●Visit for more information.

*This piece was first published in the Cape Argus on April 15 2016.