A flash of green light, the faint hiss of a smoke machine could be heard over the chatter of excited guests, the beat of music rushing through the speakers and everyone knew the show was about to begin. Models in couture garments with outrageous glasses and brilliantly coloured feather boas and a boldly dressed drag artist in the centre of the ramp, it only took a moment to realise that Future fashion Leaders was unlike any fashion show to come out of South Africa.
On Tuesday 30 November Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy presented to the world Future Fashion Leaders at the spacious Vodadome at Vodaworld in Midrand. Nineteen graduate designers took to the catwalk, previewing their debut collections to an eager audience, a mix of delighted South African celebrities including Edith Venter and her wonderful husband, Bafana Bafana soccer star Matthew Booth and his lovely wife and model Sonia Booth, designer JJ Schoeman and company, esteemed guests such as Irene Athanasiou and Nick Nicolaou, the parents, family and friends of the graduating designers and members of the public who could not wait any longer to see the garments out and on display.
The variety of talent and creativity among the designers on showcase should be congratulated and has already been celebrated by those in attendance. These 19 up-and-coming designers were not only hand-picked by couture genius Spero Villioti to be taught the craft and art of making beautiful clothes but also, through their hard work, dedication and a mature realization and belief in giving back to their communities managed to raise in excess of R130 000 for the charity closest to their hearts; the Cuture Educational Foundation. These funds will aid the sponsorship of higher education for underprivileged individuals who possess immense talent but lack the financial capability to afford them the opportunities to receive the knowledge and training that they so desperately desire.
Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy graduates are to be commended for the diversity, skill, technique and creativity as each collection displayed a very unique and personal set of garments, taste and proficiency. Four of the candidates from this year's graduating class received their diplomas with distinction; an outstanding achievement for Ettie Sery, Mariliza Fourie, Minette Meyer and Zanne-Marie Groiss. But congratulations go out to all the graduates for an evening that truly showcased excellence.
Angela Behan representing Truworths was in attendance at Future Fashion Leaders to present a special award to “the most fashionably commercial collection” which went to Minette Meyer for her collection; 'Beauty for Ashes'. Perhaps the biggest announcement of the evening was when Christalla Cost of Turquoise Seas and Mr Kendy Phohleli; Country Manager for Qatar Airways in South Africa, took to the stage to award two return airline tickets to Paris, France to the top graduate. The winning candidate had to have achieved the highest aggregate across all of their subjects. In the end there were two graduates with an equal average who shared the prize, each receiving one ticket to Paris. Congratulations to Ettie Sery and Minette Meyer for this achievement.
As part of “work experience” the students at Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy also had to put together garments, which were designed by Spero Villioti, these masterfully made garments will form part of Spero Villioti Couture 2011 collection to be showcased at Fashion Week next year, but which were previewed at Future Fashion Leaders. Once again David John of Make Up International did an excellent job with the model's make up and it was great to work alongside the team from DNA Salon who showed off their skill and style when it came to the model's hair.
Everything about Future Fashion Leaders carried an air of excellence, style and flair and ending off the evening with a colourful explosion of confetti from the ceiling of the Vodadome made a statement about the future of Future Fashion Leaders. Like the little pieces of confetti we hope that Future Fashion Leaders reigns into the hearts of all of everyone who supported it this year but that it also brings brightens the lives of the individuals receiving the funds through the Couture Educational Foundation and that it adds colour and diversity in talent to the South African Fashion industry.