6 of 2019

           Newsletter No. 06                                                      22 February 2019


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A South African Designer Won the 2019 London Fashion Week Top Prize

Thebe Magugu was crowned the winner of the 2019 International Fashion Showcase.

The International Fashion Showcase (IFS) is an exhibition which is the collaborative effort including the British Council, British Fashion Council, London College of Fashion, UAL and Somerset House. Young South African designer Thebe Magugu was termed a ‘leader of his generation’ by the judging panel after being awarded the top prize.

The IFS featured 16 designers from all over the world including the Netherlands, Rwanda, Brazil, Kenya, India and of course South Africa, among other countries. Magugu showcased a unique presentation where he showed the changes in South Africa’s constitution over the decades through using motifs of Africa’s past, however, in a contemporary and forward-looking manner.

Speaking on his win on social media Magugu said:

“Yesterday I won the International Fashion Showcase 2019 in London, and I can’t believe I was given the award by my idol Sarah Mower. I am so overwhelmed by emotions and gratitude…Fashion is such a powerful, intelligent medium and I hope we use this tool to our advantage.”

This year’s IFS aimed at exploring themes of politics, sustainability, identity and heritage.

Another African designer who received a special mention from the judging panel was Cedric Mizero from Rwanda. His presentation, which was described as “universal and deeply human”, featured everyday objects found in a Rwandan village and highlighted the issues facing marginalized communities. Okayafrica

AfCFTA expected to come into force by mid-2019

The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement could be in force by mid-2019, given the current pace of ratification, according to trade experts. Rwanda’s department of trade and industry recently held the 2nd ordinary session of the specialised technical committee of the African ministers of trade, industry and mineral resources to discuss the agreement.

The meeting was themed ‘The Entry into Force of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its Implementation’.

The objective was to consider draft continental strategies, including the African Union Commodity Strategy, Africa Union Small and Medium Enterprises Strategy and Trade Facilitation Strategy.

The meeting also took note of the various technical reports and presentations in trade, customs, industry and minerals, according to reports by news agencies.

Once established, AfCFTA will bring together 55 countries, availing a market of 1.2 billion people with a gross domestic product of about $3.5 trillion.

It is also expected to drive the transition from low productivity and labour-intensive activities to higher productivity and skill-intensive industrial and service activities across the continent.

The meeting was attended by member states, regional economic communities, experts from the Afreximbank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

AfCFTA, launched in March 2018 in Kigali, requires 22 ratifications for entry into force. The total number of ratifications now stands at 18, Rwanda’s commissioner for trade and industry Albert Muchanga said.

Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, creative director for Chanel and Fendi, dies

Karl Lagerfeld, the eccentric German designer who blended fashion and art, who favored white hair, black sunglasses and 19th-century-style shirt collars, and simultaneously was creative director of French (Chanel), Italian (Fendi) and eponymous international fashion labels, has died. He was around 85.

One of the most celebrated, if controversial, fashion icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, Lagerfeld passed away early Tuesday, according to AP.

Such was the enigma surrounding the designer that even his age was a point of mystery for decades, with reports he had two birth certificates, one dated 1933 and the other 1938.

“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world,” CEO Alan Wertheimer said in a release posted to the brand’s website.  “Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand.”

Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s president for fashion, added, “The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by – to quote Karl – ‘continuing to embrace the present and invent the future.’ ”

The Chanel release also confirmed that Lagerfeld would be succeeded as creative director by Virginie Viard, his longtime studio director and collaborator.

Fendi’s chairman and CEO Serge Brunschwig lauded Lagerfeld’s “immense culture, his ability to rejuvenate at all times, to taste all the arts, to not overlook any style” in a press release issued to USA TODAY Tuesday.

“He leaves us an enormous heritage, an inexhaustible source of inspiration to continue. Karl will be immensely missed by myself and all the Fendi people,” Brunschwig said.

On Jan. 22 Lagerfeld, who had looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, worried fans when he did not come out to take a bow at Chanel’s couture show in Paris, which the company attributed to fatigue. It was the first time in recent memory that Lagerfeld, who had designed for the house since 1983, did not come out to receive applause at the end of one of his shows.

Viard, appeared in his place, emerging from the door of a lavish Italian “villa” that was the set painstakingly created by the house to showcase its spring-summer designs.

Never shy about his own genius, Lagerfeld considered himself world renowned for his “cutting-edge, aspirational and relevant approach to style,” with a fashion sensibility “rooted in a DNA that’s accessible-luxe and cool,” and a “signature aesthetic combining timeless classics with a modern, rock-chic edge,”  according to his website..

“His visionary creativity expands beyond fashion to include illustration, photography, styling and publishing.”

“Edgy” might be a better one-word summary of Lagerfeld – the man, his fashion and his art. He designed clothes that made people gasp with delight; he said things that made people gasp with shock.

At one point in 2013, he said he wanted to marry his closest companion – his cat, , a white Siamese named Choupette, who has nearly 50,000 Twittter followers and an Instagram account where she frequently snarks about this and that.

Karl Lagerfeld’s death: Celebrities mourn the fashion icon.

But that was only one of the headlines chronicling outre conduct over the years: He once used strippers and a porn star as models, thus annoying Anna Wintour who walked out of one of his shows in 1993.

An unapologetic supporter of fur in fashion (even though he doesn’t wear it himself), he invited the wrath of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, which tried to throw a pie at him at a New York event in 2001. They missed and hit Calvin Klein.

“A fashion dinosaur who is as out of step as his furs are out of style,” sneered PETA of Lagerfeld.

Then there were the uproars after he called supermodel Heidi Klum ‘insignificant” in the fashion world because she was “too glamorous” in 2009; criticized singer Adele as “a little too fat” in 2012; and later that year dissed Pippa Middleton’s face, suggesting she only show her backside.

From the 1950s, Lagerfeld exchanged frequent public barbs with rival French designer Yves Saint Laurent until the latter died in 2008. He even got into a fracas with Oscar queen Meryl Streep when he claimed in 2017 that she dropped out of wearing a Chanel dress to that year’s Oscars in favor of a brand that would pay her.

“He lied,” Streep snapped indignantly.

In 2013, Lagerfeld told French magazine “Paris Match” he was born in 1935, but as of 2019, even his own assistant still didn’t know the truth. They told the Associated Press he liked “to scramble the tracks on his year of birth – that’s part of the character.”

Born in Hamburg to a father whose company made evaporated milk and the daughter of a local politician, Lagerfeld migrated to Paris, where he finished his education at Lycée Montaigne.

He started his career in 1954 when he won first prize in a contest to design a wool coat, a design subsequently produced by designer Pierre Balmain who offered Lagerfeld, then 17, a job as his assistant. By 1957, he was an art director for designer Jean Patou.

Lagerfeld also started his own label, Karl Lagerfeld, which though less commercially successful than his other ventures, was widely seen as a sort of a sketchpad where the designer worked through his audacious ideas.

In 1982, he took over at over Chanel, which had been dormant since the death of its founder, Coco Chanel, more than a decade earlier.

“When I took on Chanel, it was a sleeping beauty – not even a beautiful one,” he said in the 2007 documentary ‘Lagerfeld Confidential.’ ”She snored.”

Lagerfeld was open about his homosexuality – he once said he announced it to his parents at age 13 – but kept his private life under wraps. Following his widely known relationship with a French aristocrat who died of AIDS in 1989, Lagerfeld insisted he prized his solitude above all.

“I hate when people say I’m ‘solitaire’ (or solitary.) Yes, I’m solitaire in the sense of a stone from Cartier, a big solitaire,” Lagerfeld told The New York Times in an interview. “I have to be alone to do what I do. I like to be alone. I’m happy to be with people, but I’m sorry to say I like to be alone, because there’s so much to do, to read, to think.”

As much as he loved the spotlight, Lagerfeld was careful to obscure his real self.

“It’s not that I lie, it’s that I don’t owe the truth to anyone,” he told French Vogue in an interview. USA Today / The Associated Press

Did you know……..

The Ancient Romans wore yellow clothing on their wedding days.

The European women in medieval times used to wear green, which was thought to aid and/or symbolize fertility

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