Angolan designer Soraya De Piedade is a bit of a celebrity in her home country and among the fashionable in Brazil, especially for her bridal creations and the fact that she is one of the first Angolan labels to include and cater to plus size markets. So it wasn’t a surprise when she was invited to be part of the Couture D’Afrique showcase at Mercedes Benz Fashioin Week Johannesburg.
With a showcase like this, there is the temptation to play to extremism, either going fully African to the point where the collection becomes a caricature, or going fully western to the point where it is barely recognizable as coming from an African designer. This is a problem Del Piedade seems to have to struggled with and made a compromise on. The 10 piece collection is conspiciously missing African prints, which is what the label built it’s reputation on. But Piedade more than makes up for it by using embroidered lace and chiffon to create a cache of risque evening wear. Jumpsuits with sheer bodices and beaded bustlines, full skirted dresses with sleeve capes, a gorgeous striped yellow high-lo dress with a cinched waist and spaghetti straps. There are problems with fit however, shifting waistlines and sleeves that droop; perhaps a problem that arose from the model castings.
Soraya De Piedade doesn’t reinvent the wheel but the collection is solid and marketable. And with the upheavals that are rocking the global fashion industry, marketability is becoming more and more important.
Simon Deiner/SDR Photo