In comparison to the other shows I had seen or seen images of, David Tlale’s was the one that stood out the most for me in terms of execution, revolution and the detail of his impeccably-made designs. I am always critical and finicky (ok and maybe cynical) when it comes to fashion in South Africa, and it takes a lot for me to praise work as I am always comparing it on an international level, because I feel that is the standard we should aim to be at. Everything about this man’s presentation exceeded my expectations and I still cannot stop speaking about it to everyone who asks about Fashion Week. I am so relieved to see someone rejecting tradition in the form of this avant-garde installation and work.
Tlale pulled everyone in attendance out of the somewhat superficial hub Fashion Week can become. The presentation of his “show” was constructed like a gallery space at the Bromwell in Woodstock, away from the CTICC where all other shows took place. Rightly so – an artist exhibiting his work, not interested in the frivolity and elitism of the front row. You had to kick off your Aldo’s and pull up your arty pants, because no one was going to be strutting down the ramp for you. Models stood perched on window-sills, swings dripping in golden satin, reclining on ottomans, chairs, tables, bodies contorted against white-wash walls. One model stood on a rotating platform in a dip-dyed lace piece, while another lay back on the edge of a lush bed. Attendees meandered from room-to-room where they got an intimate encounter with each piece of Tlale’s finely crafted couture and detailed aesthetic. The show became about the work, and it consumed all focus and made us all feel – reminding us about why we all love this industry so much.
Champagne and snacks were served and a variety of seating was available for those in attendance – it became more than a show – Tlale extending an invitation to all to view and celebrate his work. Kudos to this young man for pushing the boundaries. It’s been a long time since I have written about something like this… I am beyond inspired.