Africa Fashion Week, one of the highlights of the international fashion calendar, brought together glamour and a lot of commotion, with 30 lines showcased over a single, frenetic weekend. The lines were as diverse as the continent they represent, and there’s a lot to love about the looks on the runway this season. Here are some of our favourites.
Embellished Egyptian style necklines
Designers are daring fashionistas all over the world to find their inner Cleopatra with embellished, Egyptian style necklines cropping up all over the runway. We noticed this fascinating design element in a number of shows, like those from fashion houses Soucha and Bisma. This look creates a bold, scooped neckline that creates a great frame for draping fabrics. Don’t forget to look for pieces that are embellished to emphasise the broad, rounded neckline.
Slim fit pencil skirts
The style for skirts and dresses this season is simple – go slim. South African designer Thula Sindi built her sophisticated, chic summer collection around this look. Figure hugging, pencil style skirts and dresses are in. From mini to calf-length, in all colours and styles, skirts are slimmer this summer and we love this look.
Bold, animal inspired prints.
Animal prints are still all the rage on the runway, but this season they’re looking more distinct. Our favourite is the new burst of inspiration from peacock feathers, showcased by designers like Colin Ratisai and fashion house Intisaar. Pieces featuring this print were everywhere during Africa Fashion week, from long, draped dresses to short skirts and strapless tops. It’s a new trend to update the usual animal print styles and we think it’s great.
Animal inspired prints on the runway have been matched and layered with geometric style zigzags and stripes, and neatly arranged florals, sometimes on top of each other in the same pieces. We loved these looks showcased by Maatano's bold, printed collection. It’s a further reflection that anything goes when it comes to prints, this season, and anything can be mixed and matched.
With the mercury rising, it’s no surprise that soft, sheer, sleek fabrics are on trend this summer. Lines from Kluk, Marianne Fassler and Tart amongst others, used sheer textures as the core of their summer lines. Translucent, silky textures are making a comeback and we think they’re perfect for showing off your summer curves.
Layers, draping and pleats
The runway was awash with layered dresses and pleated skirts. South African designer David Tlale made extensive use of draping and pleats in his line, and the look was infused into most of the other collections on show, including those on display by Kluk, Stefania Morland and Lalesso. It’s all about movement when it comes to this summer, and fabrics that drape and move with you will be hot property this season. We love the look because it’s feminine, flattering and fun.
Black is back
One of the most distinct statements of Africa Fashion Week was that black is most definitely back. The look showed up in almost all the runway shows in Africa fashion week, notably in gorgeous designs by Kluk, Tart and Laquan Smith. The most classic colour in the spectrum is now also the hottest. So bring out all the little black dresses, black shorts and sexy black tops. Black is in, and we love it.
Stefanie Morland centred her line around pretty, feminine lace designs?. It's another classic trend that's proving its longevity from runway to street. Black lace is the look to go for this summer, especially in short, figure hugging dresses and tops.
If you’re looking for a way to accessorise this summer, go metallic. Metallic accents are everywhere – from embellished necklines to waistbands on dresses. Even bags have been given a metallic finish on the runway this season, as shown in Taibo Bacar's safari inspired collection. So shimmer away. It’s the perfect complement to the rest of your look this summer.
Most of all, what we’ve seen from the looks on the catwalk is that this summer is about being bold and sophisticated. So slim down those skirt lines, brighten those prints and take out the little black dress for a bright and gorgeous summer.
What are your favourite looks from the runway? Tell us in the comments.
Image credit: Simon Deiner/SDR Photo/2011 Africa Fashion Week