Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Cape Town Crystal Gala

Every project begins with a brief…. and then an explanation of the brief. But THIS was a little different.

IT began with a mini-lecture, a certain expectation by the Academic Director of what was expected of us as 2nd year students…. And we thinking… “ohhhh-k-a-y-y-y… where is he going with this?”

IT then advanced into a glowing review of what a certain gala represented and an address by a representative of the producers of the certain gala. A show, the 1st of its kind in Cape Town with the best of jazz music and a runway showcasing work from international and local designers, 12 evening gowns (and 6 male outfits) from the 2nd (and 3rd) year students at FEDISA.

Errrr….. REEEE---W-I-N-D…..!!! Only 12? But we’re over 20 in all...


…what was meant to be yet another task for the module, “corseted evening gowns” turned out to be a mini-competition for the launch of the Crystal Gala ball in Cape Town, part of an annual event alongside the Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

And FEDISA’s interpretation of Crystal Gala? An array of “shimmering” corseted evening gowns in shades of only white and silver and LOTS OF BLING!!!!

Only THEN did we get the brief!

And boy… did our classroom turn into FEDISA’s version of Project Runway!

Patterns, fabric, tools, threads, you name it EVERYWHERE!!!

Fittings, accessories and yelps and screams of pain from damaged fingers caused by rotary cutters, pin pricks and sewing machines all over the place.

I was one of the last to finish (what else is new) but I was undeterred; bothered by finished garments from colleagues...

...but not discouraged.... never discouraged because I knew it wasn't over till the deadline for submission.

Funny…. We all thought our creations would look like wedding gowns but HA! FAR from it!

Well... apart from this one because this was an actual wedding gown for her sister...

Yah the chic trying on the outfit made the outfit. Shame you can't see the crystals on the outfit. Stunning work I tell you...


THIS was my initial sketch and my ORIGINAL concept.

It took me all of....what.... 10/15 minutes to sketch. Lucky for me, this first sketch was immediately approved which, though was surprising, was a huge relief. Some peeps... actually enough peeps had to work on theirs again or improve on their existing sketches.


52 pattern pieces (I pride myself on this), 2 days of couture beading (including accessories), a few modifications here and there and approximately 3 weeks later (not my fault as I had to start again because I bought the wrong fabric colour), this was what my concept turned out to be…..


Yah I know you can’t see much of it but there are crystals down the front and back of the outfit.

YUP! You guessed right! I was one of the CHOSEN 12!!!!!!!!!!!

We all took chances, making garments without seeing the models.

BUT I was lucky. Mine was a perfect fit! And I have God to thank for that.

I never got to see it on the runway but I do have this picture of the final result. AND it truly is a good feeling.

Honestly? In a class filled with such talent, I never thought I’d be part of the final 12… or 14 I think the final figure was. Perhaps I underestimate myself.

I still think my garment was simple in comparison with what my mates did but I have been told it is brilliant. Hey… I got chosen didn’t I? I guess I really am too hard on myself.

Lesson learnt? Always believe in yourself… no matter what!

And you know what? It gets better…

I already have orders for the garment…… or better still…. my work…


There is HOPE… and ASSURANCE… that I will indeed, by God’s grace, succeed in my chosen career path.

Check out to see the outfits that made the Crystal Gala runway.


CKBK said...

Its great that you've even got orders.I bet you are buzzing. It must feel wonderful to have people like your work. I'm sure I would too. So please, I need a summer jacket........and you might as well throw in a winter jacket too!!! Oh yeah, make them both XXL!

t said...

I can't see as much of the final dress as would like, but the truth, it looks spectacular. It's romancing the model's body and she's returning the favour. Really awesome.

Hey, believe in yourself, Big Star. Do it.