MBFW F2014: David Tlale is the business

By :- R. Anthony Morrison

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 David Tlale's runway show during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was held in the new Pavilion space at Lincoln Center. On the morning of his show, the backstage is in full gear. Models are getting hair and make up done while in the pavilion's front of house Jan Malan and team are sorting things out. There is a hell of a lot going on backstage. That's mostly because two hours before the show there is a hell of a lot to be done. So there are models going from make up station to hair station. Some of the models are waiting, photographers are shooting the models and front of house. Where is the designer in all of this activity? David Tlale is off to the side in the garment section quietly sewing what looks like a belt. He has an aura of calm that comes with knowing is team has things under control.

The Pavilion space meant a departure from the presentation format of last season to show his collection. The collection featured impeccably tailored designs that were both elegant and chic. As always his delicate attention to detail is what sets his work apart and expresses what is so uniquely south African in craft. David brought together a superb group of models to wear his designs this season. Among the models walking in the show were ; Millen Magese, Anna Van Raventein, Devyn, and supermodel Oluchi who closed the show.

David Tlale continues to grow and evolve as a designer as he does so he is also focused on the bottom line. At the end of the day the business of fashion is after all the business of fashion. it's not just about having a show, it's about what happens afterwards and where you go from there. After the show David shared a few of his thoughts. It's clear he knows he has to make it happen, he is the brand, he is the business.

P :  David, compared to your presentation last season, was there anything different about preparing for this show?

DT : Everything was totally different because preparing for an installation presentation is different from a runway presentation.  Some of the girls that we've worked with before came back because they loved the product. It was more nerve racking to have all those fashion critics sitting in the front row criticizing or appreciating what we created. It was more pressure that any other show I have ever done in my entire life. it was out first solo runway show and we had to make sure that we brought a cohesive collection more than just a fabulous collection. It also had to make financial sense,because work starts today as we sell the product. We will start this afternoon.

P : How demanding is that after showing a new collection?

DT : I think it's a very demanding process because you have reach out to buyers and agents, and showrooms because not everyone believes in what you do as an artist. You just have to keep on hustling until you get that person who falls in love with your brand.

P: Can you describe your process of selecting models for a show like this one?

DT: That process is part of the story telling. I'm an artist that has to tell a story, and take people on a journey. I'm not just designing for one particular woman, I'm designing for the world. The world has turned around, we are now all part of this puzzle. From a girl from Korea to the girl from South Africa, they can wear a David Tlale dress. So such a girl can wear a David Tlale dress in New York. So the story is going to go on including the music I selected for the show, and working with the show producer to make sure that they experience it.

Photos : Roy Anthony Morrison

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