SA Fashion Week Review by Ceilidh Simpson
As the Terrence Bray label begi...
SA Fashion Week Review by Ceilidh Simpson
As the Terrence Bray label begins its second decade the designer has taken advantage of the Spring/Summer shows by using them as a platform to showcase his return to retail focused collections.
terrencebray.jpgSince closing the doors to his flagship store about four years ago, Bray has focused intensely on the more 'couture' side of the business, particularly specializing in bridal gowns. It has been a spectacular success for the brand and has given him a respected name when it comes to any and all 'occasion wear', both at home and in Europe.
Keen to delve deeper back into the business of woman's and men's wear, areas in which is he is also well regarded, he presented a small collection entitled 'Urban Fashionista on Safari'. He explained the collection being defined by words and concepts such as ultra-modern and sophisticated and combining them with a utilitarian but still feminine air.
"It's just about the simple beauty of nature and women who exude confidence and the wish to feel beautiful every day through the use of natural fabrics," says Bray of his inspiration. While this does come through in the collection, these are certainly not bare-footed earth mothers. Rather they are those who manage to look elegant even at the end of a long journey, when everyone else is dusty and slightly dishevelled.
Making use of a colour palette based on khaki's, ivory and muted coppery tones tells the story well, while appearances of navy blue and brown broken up by hints of dirty purple, green and yellow-gold provide interesting contrast detail. Antiqued, brassy metal buttons were used functionally as well as decoratively, playing on the use of beads by creating a 'gold necklace' built into the neckline of a dress or sewn onto fabrics as embellishment.
Most of the fabrics were cottons; often with a very visible weave, although others were extremely fine and ranged from heavy twills to soft, stretch sateen - which featured prominently. A silk chiffon with a dark khaki and brown-red abstract print allowed for some softer silhouettes and fine pieces of detailing. A gold, navy and orange-brown Persian carpet patterned silk fabric, along with a navy and white striped one, added the glamour to the safari.
Various widths of ribbed cotton tape were used to great effect in trim detail, panel illusions and even as belts. It was a perfect example of a simple, fairly un-expensive material being put to use with a good idea and excellent execution – something we'd all love to see more of, and a lesson all designers should take to heart. Elsewhere, contrast seam binding on the inside of garments and delicate lines of perfect embroidery along strategic lines spoke to a certain level of attention – the kind that can make the difference between your brand and somebody else's!
While the designs on show were an equal mix of casual day wear and cocktail dresses, all seemed absolutely wearable in real life. The simple styling; flat gladiator sandals in a range of browns and small French plaits down the right side of the face, sealed the story and lent a little bit of honesty to a world you wouldn't expect it to be.
The Terrence Bray website will be re-launching soon, in the shape of a fully-fledged online store so that anyone can buy pieces 'off the shelf' straight from home. Bray feels strongly that this is a fantastic way for consumers to have access to shopping. It also helps the business by letting the designer focus on creating and allows more items and a wider variety to be on offer while not having the tremendous overheads associated with a physical shop and storage place to worry about.
Already being a well-established and respected designer and brand should help Bray make inroads. While in Europe around 60% of the population has quick, regular access to the internet and most are happy to buy goods online, South Africa is another story. We only have about 9.5% of our population online and the majority are still quite reluctant to shop online.
Clearly there is a long way to go, but as with so much in our fashion industry we have to realize that the insiders are the ones who need to keep pushing forward if we are ever going to be able to compete on an international level.