The Art of Refinement is a fashion editorial featuring Cape Town based fashion brands that celebrate & elevate natural fabrications & ethical production in fashion promoting less consumption, more consideration & a minimalistic aesthetic that speaks to slow living, slow fashion & the sophistication in simplicity. Set against the architectural detail of buildings in Cape Town’s CBD with clean lines as the key motif running through the editorial complimenting the minimalistic looks which offer a small selection of colours & clean streamlined shapes.
Four out of the five looks featured in the editorial are by one of Africa’s pioneering luxury brands Kat Van Duinen. The eponymous label offers collections with a modern refinement and the rare luxury of the human touch by promoting artisanal skills development. The garments featured are striking yet timeless, uncomplicated yet daring as epitomized by the Strelitzia Reginae Blouse worn in the opening image - bold in its simplicity with petal like shoulders reminiscent of those of the perennial evergreen; bold, bright & impossible to ignore. Other looks featured from the brand include a classic and easy to wear linen A-line skirt with matching shirt, a crisp cotton poplin frill shirt from their latest collection Laws of Attraction and the radically sophisticated Manhattan dress.
The third look in the editorial feature’s garments by trans-seasonal brand 1971 by Luanne Toms. The label offers a range of clothing designed & manufactured in Cape Town that can be worn in any season & for any occasion. Their latest collection makes use of fabrications such as linen, 100% cotton twill & 100% cotton as depicted in the editorial. The durability of the teal In My Mother’s Garden jacket made from 100% cotton twill gives the jacket a masculine quality that is softened by its feminine silhouette. Its name also evokes a sense of nostalgia like a memory threaded into the garment. There is a vulnerability, an emotional connection within the jacket that speaks to a desire for deeper connections.
Also featured are accessories from jewellery & accessories atelier Pichulik with pieces accessorising the Kat Van Duinen linen skirt and shirt and cotton poplin frill looks from Nascent SS21 collection with sculptural silhouettes & timeless talismanic pieces aimed at warding off negative forces during these times of great transition. Along with the charm of a classic black hat, a beret and bolero that adds such character to the looks by maverick milliner Crystal Birch. The Wildcard is a bold piece of divine opulence by Kirsten Goss with a sophisticated quirk adding an effortless elegance to the Manhattan dress by Kat Van Duinen. The Gaucho bag from Missibaba’s SS21 collection Good Vibrations also makes an appearance which draws inspiration from the labels founder, Chloe Townsend’s solo exhibition at Salon 91. Using abstract shapes & colour therapy to ease anxieties and stresses of an uncertain future, the collection is playful with bold pieces that incite an optimism that offers an escape from the pandemic blues.
When we purchase an item of clothing, we need to think about how it was made and, in an effort, to rebuild our economy we need to support local brands more than ever. Once we take a closer look to what we have purchased we begin to understand how a product is made, we can see the love, care & passion that went into making it, deepening ones appreciate for their clothes and causing a shift in how we purchase as one makes more considered choices minimizing one’s wardrobe to what is essential by prioritizing quality over quantity.
Fashion Director: Tandekile Mkize
Photographer: Andile Phewa