There is no doubt that the fashion in the first half of the 1900s was instrumental in shaping what we still see on the catwalks today. Style history repeats itself in some shape or form.
Granted, some interpretations of styles from bygone eras can never be translated realistically into everyday wear, but if you look carefully, how much has really changed in the 21st century? Trends for this summer include fringing and feathers (1950s), puffed sleeves and bright colours (1980s) and couture sportswear (1990s). Nothing really new, just fresh, reimagined and re-engineered interpretations of the wealth of good (and bad) things that decades of fashion has had to offer.
The key to unlocking a style that really suits your individual personality is discernment and the good sense not to get caught up in the mayhem and clutter of a season's multiple trends, but to remain true to the era that speaks to you.
African Fashion International's (AFI) Spring/Summer fashion shows saw designers drawing inspiration from literally every single decade since the 1940s with fascinating modern, unexpected twists. Here's our take on the style cycle and how it just keeps on spinning.
The Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv brand embraces new and classic perspectives on everyday elegance with a subtle edge. Their idea of women’s fashion is one that blends old practices with a high-end appeal. The A-line skirts, collared necklines and tulle, reminiscent of the 50s, combined with the bright oranges, pinks and grass green trending this season, deliver a perfectly synced, pretty yet sassy summer collection.
Is it a style rut or are we merely celebrating the classic, immortal styles from bygone eras?
Gavin Rajah's combination of the edgy studded leather biker jacket was offset beautifully by the bright, textured, beautifully crafted floral mini dress. A gorgeous mix of Grease and feminine florals.
Providing proof that the polka-dot will never die, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue's one-sleeved, peplum and tulle skirt creation is perfect for a modern day at the races but also resonates with the structured lines of the 1940s and 50s. Many of his designs are inspired by female icons from the past that left a legacy in the fashion world, such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Josephine Baker and Marlene Dietrich.
Khosi Nkosi's multi-award-winning clothing brand came out firing, with sweetheart necklines and layered mermaid-style dresses that took one back to the 80s, while traditional headscarves and African prints on the fabrics put a whole new and modern, chic twist on these styles.
The youthful Eric Raisina is one of those designers with the ability to transport you immediately into his own private universe – or into another era completely. His use of textures, colours and patterns and fabrics such as silk, raffia, linen and sisal, all merge beautifully in his skillfully crafted looks. This particular outfit screams the 70s with the colour combinations, high waist and tailored jacket worn over the shoulders.
Let's not forget the disco diva! Creative collaboration is at the heart of the Ruff Tung brand, inspiring a collection that empowers the contemporary woman by using a combination of simple silhouettes, colour blocking and bold prints. The Ruff Tung collection embodies the celebration of bold statement colours, prints and magnificent sparkle.
This dress, part of The Botswana Collections '18, screams The Great Gatsby with its fringing and low waist. If we are talking about the roaring 20s or the ultimate jazz age, this design has it nailed. This is one of the designs shown in a collection sponsored by the Government of Botswana.
Junior designers mentored by David Tlale showcased their new collections and celebrated coming into their own with a collection called Café by David Tlale. This whimsical lavender-infused outfit smacks of the 50s with its soft floral design, headscarf and cats-eye sunglasses. The texture on the extra-length skirt is a brilliant example of how to modernise a classic, sophisticated look without taking away from the essence of the era.