Since stepping out of my banking world I’ve pretty much immersed myself into the fashion world. It’s probably been the most exhilarating and challenging experience for me. I have to say I’m proud of myself for taking such a leap of faith and completely stepping out of my comfort zone to explore more of ME. Over the past few months I’ve been able to see all these pieces of me start to come together, i would go to the extent of describing it as what Oprah would call a “full circle moment”. So, you ask. What have you been up to Ms Mati? Well, after AFWM I was approached by a certain Mr Lim to assist him in the production of Nocturna Carnevale. An African-Alternative runway show to raise Money for UNICEF in support their work in combating the Ebola crisis in West Africa. My first task was getting my African designers in check. I wasted no time in hollering at my girl Neo for what would be her debut runway show for Neoh Couture. I knew we hadn’t had enough of the bold Queen Designs, the lovely Klassic designs and the bag queen Nicole Hayley Designs and I knew they had so much more to show us, so I got on the phone to the ladies and nervously explained that they would have one month to come up with some new looks, but they gladly accepted the challenge. Mission accomplished. My second task .Models. It would be my first model casting. In hindsight , I probably was too giddy .I morphed into this crazy Kimora-Lee Tyra person, throwing statements like “fabulous honey”, “give me more face please”, “Yesss, worrrrk”…Poor Mr Lim watched in pure disarray as the black in me came to surface.
A few weeks later, it was game time. The backstage situation. About thirty models, fifteen makeup artists, dozens of clothing racks and garment steamers everywhere. I took in a large breath of hair spray and garment steam, and got to work with some last-minute fitting and runway coaching. Nicole Hayley started off the show. I took it upon myself to crown her the leather bag queen. Once again her signature Ndebele Bag Collection left the audience mesmerized. The girls wore simple black Maxi Dresses, and let the bags steal the show.This time I was able to really get a feel of that smooth beautiful leather.These bags and purses are investment pieces that will last for years. Spoil yourselves ladies! Klassic Designs was all about the dresses, very daring. Plunging necklines, sheer fabrics, just oozing femininity. Not to mention the use of colour, buttercup yellow and aqua green, just in time for those summer weddings. Emily’s garments were sewn to perfection as usual, not a thread in sight! For Neoh Couture it was all about structured pieces. Pencil skirts, crop tops, high slits, gorgeous structured maxi’s and of-course the dress that stole many of our hearts. The three-quarter length body hugging dress with the peplum hem, the one that came home with ME!! Neo’s menswear looks were a highlight for me, high neck collars and well fitted shirts. I don’t know about you, but that red Dashiki Shirt had me thinking how I could convince Tapi to get some Tattoos. Queen Designs finished off the African designer runway. In her own words “it’s all about the crop this summer”.The two piece outfits were just adorable. The girls were feeling some Victoria Secret kinda way down the runway in them, i couldn’t blame them to be honest.
In the final runway, the alternative designers blew us away with the complexity and intricate detail on all of the pieces. The girls wore the clothes as if they were playing leading roles in theater production. The creativity and the passion just shone through in each garment, it was as if I had been transported into another world of counts and countesses, squires and madams. Nocturna Carnevale was a perfect way to end my Melbourne runway year, and an amazing learning experience for me. I left the show restless with so many ideas and excited for the coming year. Thank you to Mr Lim and his Team at Alive Group, it was a pleasure to be part of such an esteemed event for a worthy cause.