As a design label Gert-Johan Coetzee has managed to find a niche in the South African evening wear market and fill that need. The South African answer to international designer Jenny Packham, no formal event is complete without a number of celebrities in a Coetzee frock. Much like Packham though, Coetzee has had to struggle with the ennui that comes from dominating in your niche, many hold the opinion that the label has become complacent, content in raking in the Rands at the expense of creative growth.
The design label’s new collection debuted at the South Africa Fashion Week’s Spring 16 showcase puts to rest all of these concerns. This is arguably its best collection in recent years. Split into three acts with distinct inspirations, all tied by Coetzee’s superior construction, the collection manages to encompass a smorgasbord of silhouettes in it’s twenty five looks.
The first third of the collection is done entire in black accented with yellow floral details. Layered pleats adorn the opening look creating a feathered effect. Chiffon paneling halterneck blouses with gathered bodices cinch at the waist and fan out into full gathered skirts. Asymmetric draping and bishop collars tie in the first act. It is suggestive of a requiem for winter and the accent, the first dawning of Spring.
High yellows and three dimensional detailing define the second act. Here is the closest we come to classic Gert. A slew of heavily beaded sheer dresses and string strap dresses. The floral accents appear here too, in greater detail, crawling up the bust line and down sleeves, setting the stage for the third act.
Coetzee gets truly adventurous in this third of the collection. The canvas is bone white, and using dip-dyed techniques and water colour prints of stylized dandelions, draws out the nostalgia of summer from the most jaded of us. There are few stand out pieces, a chiffon dress with blue ombre sleeves, a white fit and flare dress with a full tulle skirt dip-dyed just so.
Then there is Gert-Johan Coetzee’s masterpiece, a beaded geometric beauty, that reminds of the mastery of Lagerfeld at Chanel, worn with a post-futurist head piece. This is the dress that we will see on runways across Africa for the rest of the year.
It is safe to say that Coetzee will stay king of the runway for yet another season.
Photo Credit: SAFashionWeek.co.za.