Le Smoking’s influence is obvious in Gautier’s women’s wear for Fabiani. It’s in the beautifully fitted tailored jackets, and in the tuxedo stripe along the side of his slim women’s trousers. It’s in the perfect finishes, and the luxurious look and feel of the jacket’s silk linings.
“This is my way of doing something for women,” Gautier says, referring to his tailored collection for Fabiani. “It’s high-voltage, sexy suiting for high-profile women.” The suit takes centre stage, with a strong emphasis on separates. Not only does Gautier offer the ultimate pinstripe and the iconic black suit, he also offers tailored couture with beaded and sequined suits for occasion wear. Although Fabiani has traditionally been a Eurocentric brand, Gautier will subtly position it as South African luxury. Expect hints of African-inspired patterning, and touches of Fabiani’s signature colour, magenta.
Another South African designer focusing on tailoring, Rahim Rawjee is well-known for making men’s suits in his made-to-measure studio in Johannesburg. Over the years though, Rawjee has had a growing clientele of women buying his men’s clothes. “I’ve never doubted the need for a women’s collection, but I knew that it would require a massive commitment.” Rawjee has made the commitment and introduced a range of women’s wear, which, like his men’s wear, is based on the principles of Savile Row: meticulously tailored, made-to-measure suits. His studio is all about craftsmanship, personalisation, and quality, Rawjee says.