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DDC WINNERS (article first published : 1999-06-6)

The Independent on Saturday MTN/Hooch Durban Designer Collection (DDC) held its annual fashion show at the end of May. There were three categories: invited designer, young designer and loose cannon and designers were asked to interpret the theme Fuse. This required a collaboration between fashion and art much along the lines of the highly successful and interesting exhibition held at the NSA recently where fashion designers collaborated.with photographers and videographers

The use of Kingspark Swimming Pool was an inspired one and the idea of three thrust stages over the pool itself – one for the ramp and the other two for audience seated at tables – was highly innovative. The stage structure was impressive and from a technological point of view, the event was stunning.

However, the venue is too vast and cavern like, with the pool’s dimensions forcing the audience to be at a distance. Therefore, unless you were sitting in the immediate vicinity, it was difficult to offer any immediate response to the designs. Those placed at the tables may have appreciated the finer points of the ranges but from where I was sitting on the higher level, you felt a bit like a voyeur, watching over the fence at some remote happening. Video screens with blown up images would have helped not only a feeling of interaction but also an appreciation of individual design touches.

The judges were unanimous in Amanda Laird-Cherry as their choice of winner for the invited designer trophy. Laird-Cherry worked with video artist Lance Slabbert. The range was definitely one of the most popular, using as reference points the braid, patching and fringing seen on mblaselopants (those worn by migrant workers).

Another highly popular range fused ethnic African traditional dress with European style and won the young designer award for Craig Naidoo and Geraldine de Beer. Winner of the loose cannon award was Lavani Pillay whose designs included PVC, knits and suiting fabric.


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