Monday, February 6

Wednesday, March 30

Some Lovely Frocks

I find myself looking at blogs and websites and dreaming of somehow winning the lottery, even though I never buy a ticket, just so that I can blow it all on anything my little heart desires.  The latestto grace my screen are all the lovely dresses that you see above.

Abigail Betz's new collection for Autumn/Winter 2011 is amazingly beautiful. She's known for her pretty dresses and uncompromisingly feminine designs. I am in love with the gold/copper and black number. I'd buy them in every size if I could just to be the only person who owned it.

Forever New has also updated their site. How cute are those ballerina tights? I can't say I'm overly taken with the playsuit though. The Tilly Military coat is to die for but it's a bit pricey for me I'm afraid.

Thursday, March 10

Cuppa Joe

I'm not a massive coffee drinker, I very rarely have more than two cups a day, but I do need at least one to get me going in the morning. I think the problem is that I'm really rather fussy about what coffee I'm drinking. While I really do like Vida E, it's not exactly budget friendly to buy it all the time.

When we were in Cape Town this last December we took a trip to Lourensford, home to the usual wine business but even better, The Coffee Roasting Company. If you haven't tasted their coffee you're missing out. They have 21 blends, so there really is something for everyone. I found one I really love and I'm sticking to it though and that's the Chanchamayo from Peru.

The best thing about the Coffee Company is that they deliver anywhere in South Africa, counter to counter. They're really quick too, although the Post Office could do with a bit more haste.

In any case, if you're after really delicious coffee at an extremely reasonable price check out their site and get ordering.

Find them on facebook

Images are not mine. They were taken from the Coffee Roasting Companies Facebook Page.

Wednesday, February 23

Avant Apparel - A Design Duo To Watch

To view more from the collection - click here
Avant Apparel's Lauren Du Plessis and Bailey Allison may be relatively new on the scene but they definitely know how to make an entrance. Following their recent widely acclaimed Jo'burg Fashion week debut, I wanted to find out more about where they come from and what makes them tick.

Tell me a little about yourself, education, design background etc?

LDP: Lauren Du Plessis, JHB. Studied fashion design at LISOF, graduated 2008. Started working for a relatively well known and established designer making patterns and at the same time I was a wardrobe stylist for film and TV. I also was involved in making items for private clientele and garments for shoots with various celebrities. I moved on and up to pursue my own dream, Fashion Production Company, Gaschette.

BA: My name is Bailey Allison, 24 years old, graduated from LISOF in 2008.

What does fashion mean to you?

LDP: Fashion to me is a wearable expression of art and elements not so wearable. All my life I have always imagined how certain things would look on cloth and on ones body. Interior, architecture, shape, form, structure etc. These are all influencing elements for me when designing.

BA: For me fashion is a wearable form of art. Art in the sense of being able to change the human form by creating new shapes with the use of fabrics, the body being the canvas and fabric being our paintbrush. Fashion is also an expression of ones self. From a designers point of view, just like an artist, we have our own style, techniques and influences. From a consumers point of view, most people dress to make a statement or to express from one glance what would take time in words.

How would you define your city's fashion, and where would you like to see it going?

LDP: Depending on where you are in the city. I see our fashion here as still pretty conservative and ʻsafeʼ.  I would LOVE to see fashion in JHB and all over SA breaking out of the confines of the acceptable and taking a bit more of a risk or a chance, to deliver outfits that are not only appealing to the onlooker but also ensembles that make the wearer feel comfortable and almost excited about what they wear without becoming a costume or outfit straight from the stages of the latest theatre production.

BA: I feel Johannesburg is definitely moving forward, but very slowly.

Which of the current trends do you like or dislike?

LDP: I am loving the nude trend at the moment, and also the ballet bun on top of the head! I am also loving the ʻre-wearableʼ or ʻevolution trendʼ as I would call it, where one garment can be worn more than once in a variety of different ways. I wouldnʼt go as far as calling this a ʻCurrent FASHION trendʼ per se, but FASHIONABLE trend, with the garment being able to evolve into different looks, thereby renewing or extending its shelf life as a new garment…. We have a selection of these that we are working on at the moment and one Jacket in our current range that already posses these qualities.

BA: Capes capes capes!!! Love it!

What is the one key item every girl should have in her cupboard?

LDP: Apart from the Little Black Dress, I would suggest a Little Black Drape. EVERY girl needs some drapery in her wardrobe, it just adds that little bit of finesse and confidence. I would suggest an Avant Ghost Top, or an Elbop – this chic ʻTʼ being true to its name by draping strategically on the elbow just adds that little bit of buzz around the right areas and gives the eye a little sumin sumin to feast on.

BA: A well tailored jacket or coat. There really is nothing like a good jacket to finish off any outfit for winter. Dress it up, dress it down…it’s a must have!

Who are some of your favorite designers?

LDP: The late, great, always-inspiring Alexander McQueen – Royalty of print and textile design! It is so sad that he is gone, and his genius mind along with him. John Galliano – I LOVE his Theatrics, and the fact that EVERY element of his shows and collections are strategically planned and executed without diversion.  Although I am very organic in my design ways, I can appreciate this orchestrated planning purely because I donʼt think I would be able to stick to a definitive set of rules or instructions. Locally I admire Suzaan Heyns. Always offering up something just a little out there, but just enough to keep onlookers constantly interested and wanting more.

BA: Undoubtedly Alexander McQueen. If anyone had the ability to turn fabric into an artwork it was Alexander McQueen.

Describe your "style" like a good friend of yours would.

LDP: Cute, quirky, different, stylish… I dunno… this is slightly difficult as I am super critical of myself and never really listen to what friends have to say about my outfits unless I like them myself.

BA: I dress for each day, depending on how I feel will influence what I wear, I cant say I
dress in one particular way or that I have a specific style.

Where are you most likely to be found when you're not working? Any good hang out spots in Jozi?

LDP: The Office is a MUST. Its like home. Always certain to run into some one you know and head the evening off with stylish people-watching and always an interesting conversation to be had in and amongst the designers, artists, fashionistas, stylists, film fundies etc.

BA: Lauren and I love wolves in Illovo Great lemonade and their red velvet cake is to die for

Gaschette and Avant Apparel, who is involved, how does each sector relate to the other?

Gaschette Productions is our Mother company – Born from many years of being told what to do by others and always having to beg to get our money we worked so hard to obtain in the first place. Being a freelancer, getting money out off people is never an easy feat, so we decided if we are going to work this hard for others with the possibility of only receiving payment 3 months down the line, we might as well devote all our hard work and energy into establishing and developing a production
company that caters for 3 spheres of the fashion industry. Production, Styling, Design.

Gaschette is Brain Child of Myself Lauren Du Plessis and business partner and Co-creator Jessica Lupton. Within the 3 spheres we have design as our 3rd… and this is where the illustrious Avant was born. Avant Apparel is comprised of myself and co-designer Bailey Allison my partner in crime with all things design and long time friend whom I met at LISOF. We are the design trigger within the Gaschette Trilogy.

You recently launched your debut collection at JFW, what was the inspiration behind your collection and what has this experience meant to you?

LDP: Our main inspiration was the silhouette, so it was as if we had an outline and then it became a matter of filling it, like a child's colouring in book… we knew what we wanted or had in terms of silhouette, it was the rest that we worked many a late nights on. We had a very strongly contrasting colour palette to work with and a masculine and feminine element that worked its way in as well. We are very organic in our design approach, I like this type of approach as it shows growth, progress and
transformation in us as designers, and it allows us to unfold further talents with every article designed.

BA: What a great platform, launching at JFW has given us a chance to show people what avant is, and hope will continue to in the future! JFW has opened many doors that we could not have on our own! It has been an amazing journey creating this range, lots of hard work and late evenings/early mornings, to see our range on that runway gave me an indescribable sense of accomplishment. We had no idea our creations would be received so well!

Where do you see yourself, and Avant in the next few years?

LDP: I see us as an evermore-establishing brand and house hold name. With an array of private clientele as well as having a firm grasp on the commercial retail sector. With possibly a store or two behind our name.

BA: We hope to grow successfully, stocking our range in selected boutiques and we are planning to do a menswear range in the near future.

When can we expect to see your new line on the shelves and where?

LDP: For now we are working on a selection of buyers and stockists, it is still early days yet as we launched on Friday. We will be open to private viewings and orders by appointment as this is how we will have to compromise, but only for a short while as we are in the development process of getting involved in some very exciting opportunities that will allow us to be available direct to the public. I promise to keep you posted on this!

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions ladies.

If you would like to follow Avant news as and when it happens, why not visit the following links., facebook,
Images taken by Simon Denier and used with permission.

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