Following an aborted Cape Town Cycle Tour two weeks ago, fashion week was cancelled last weekend by organisers Africa Fashion International when the marquee pitched on the Camps Bay fields threatened to blow away up the mountain.

But, before it did, some of the first designers scheduled to show managed to get their models onto the catwalk.

The early indications were that when times are tough designers think we should dress up in rich fabrics.

RICH VELVET

Designers, including Jenny le Roux from Habits, Lara Klawikowski and Gavin Rajah from his eponymous label, showed dress after dress in luxurious velvet in bright jewel colours.

Le Roux showed figure-hugging floor-length numbers alongside head-to-toe velvet smoking suits (someone smirkingly referred to them as Willy Wonka outfits) and long velvet coats in spice tones.

Velvet suits Rajah's dramatic style. He proffered high-waisted full skirts paired with crop tops with voluminous sleeves, and featuring flaming hearts (the theme of the show was love). He also teamed rich velvet reds with edgy, studded leather.

Klawikowski's range featured unusual silhouettes in floaty fabrics like mesh that appeared hand-woven.

Her range also featured the lush, rich velvety fabric in sapphire blue, with interesting crisscross detail. 

Jenny le Roux from Habits showed head-to-toe velvet smoking suits
Jenny le Roux from Habits showed head-to-toe velvet smoking suits
Image: Africa Fashion International

SILKY SATIN

The only designer to show on Friday night was David Tlale, whose show was off-site at the luxurious Cape Town Club. He showed a metallic-coloured range in silky fabrics teamed with silver stoles and feathered corsets.

Just before the weather got the better of us, Stefania Morland revealed a collection of spicy oranges and emerald greens, mixing silky sheen with fuzzy shag.

David Tlale showed a metallic-coloured range in silky fabrics teamed with silver stoles and feathered corsets
David Tlale showed a metallic-coloured range in silky fabrics teamed with silver stoles and feathered corsets
Image: Africa Fashion International

LACE BROCADE

The fabric featured strongly in the collections that made it onto the runway.

Shana Morland, whose collection was made up of the two extremes - either very short or very full and long dresses - made good use of the fabric in neutral colours on shift dresses.

Tlale also showed an unusual iteration of the fabric featuring large purple flowers over a cotton shirt dress with bulging sleeves.

Shana Morland was one of several designers who featured lace brocade in her collection
Shana Morland was one of several designers who featured lace brocade in her collection
Image: Africa Fashion International

This article was originally published in The Times.

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