Chats with Lalesso

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It’s always interesting to get an inside look into what goes into the planning of a show for Fashion Week. Last week we chatted to Olivia and Alice from Lalesso on what to expect from their show, what inspires and motivates them as well as touched sides on trends and some advice for aspiring designers.


Herse what these lovely ladies had to say:

In 3 words how would you describe Lalesso? 


Being that Lalesso is awarded as an EthicalBrand, how do you ensure this is always incorporated in your collections? 

Olivia: Our ethics are so deeply engrained into the ‘Lalesso system’ at this stage that it happens by default. We work with only ethically approved and reputable factories, we source environmentally friendly textiles and we carbon offset. We also try to incorporate socially responsible projects wherever possible. This season we are working with an amazing Maasai women’s group who are doing the beadwork embellishment detail on the garments.

What inspired your latest collection for Cape Town fashion week? 

For Spring Summer 2016 we started to look at global traditional cultures – from Mongolia to Peru to Senegal and we started to see a common thread throughout. An ornate intricacy in detail, pattern and form. We used inspiration from this to create the prints and then moved forward with it into the design – a collection for a global citizen that embodies the sense of universal tribalism. We’ve incorporated some beadwork embellishment in the designs which are hand crafted by a Maasai women’s group in Kenya which creates interesting depth to the collection.

Talk us through an average day in the month or weeks before fashion week? 

Alice: There is no such thing as an average day! One day we’ll be shooting, one day we’ll be sourcing shoes and at fittings. We spend time coming up with a ‘concept’ for the show which includes music, hair and makeup and set design. Then we’ll start ironing outfit issues in the garments and start resampling. ALOT of work goes into the collections you see on the runway!

What do you ladies do to mentally and physical prepare for a show like this? 

Olivia: We’ve been working so closely with the collection for over 6 months now so it feels almost like a child that we’ve nurtured to maturity. In saying that we feel confident and prepared with what we’re going to show on the runway and that means we don’t allow for too much stress to come into play. Physically we’re both very active and our exercise is important to the balance in our daily lives. We both do yoga and are often running up mountains – this definitely helps with the preparations.

Knowing that celebrities and big fashion houses around the world know, wear and are big fans of your brand, what is your expectation for every Cape Town fashion week?

Alice: Every year Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town gets better and better. As the world is now presented on such a digital platform, it’s easy for our buyers and customers to see what we are doing over here in Cape Town during fashion week which is amazing. It’s a wonderful way to unveil a collection.

Do you feel showcasing at Cape Town fashion week is a great platform for existing and aspiring designers? 

Olivia: Yes I absolutely do – the standard of production is world class and I feel that this really gives designers a chance to showcase their collections in a professional manner to the right audience.

What can we as the public and media expect from this year’s show? 

Alice: This year we have kept the show very streamlined and simple. We wanted the collection and the prints to speak for themselves. There will be plenty of flowing chiffon’s and crisp summer linens.

As a designer what are your biggest concerns for the night of your show? 

Olivia: One year the sound didn’t work for our show, that was a disaster as so much time and energy had gone into pairing perfectly with the AV and it completely ruined the overall effect – so sound is definitely something we always hope won’t go wrong. Other than that we also always get a bit nervous about the response from both media, buyers and the public but so far that has always been predominantly positive 🙂

What would you say are trends to look out for this coming summer? 

Alice: There is a huge return to the seventies and the boho chic look is on it’s way back. Lots and lots of white lace, cotton and camel platforms.

What is an ideal everyday look that our readers could throw together? 

Olivia: One of my favourite looks from the SS16 collection is the Laini Shirt work with the Rahisi Culottes – its print on print which is a big look for the summer and is easily worn with some platform wedges.

What do you wish you knew then that you know now? 

Alice: I wish I had known not to sweat the small stuff and to keep focused on the bigger picture. Olivia and I often have disagreements on things but now we kind of just get on with it. We have the same end goal and that’s what’s important, not if the sleeve should be lengthened by 2cm or 2.5cm!

As Raw Explosions supports young aspiring designers, what advice can you give those starting out?  

Olivia: Know and nurture your customer as they are the ones that will see you through into becoming a successful business. Keep your books in order, know what you’re spending on what and study the reporting at the end of a season so you know where you can spend more or where you’re spending too much.

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I am beyond excited to see the final product this Friday the 31st! Raw Explosions wishes these ladies all the best for their show! Thank you for the chat.

Mercedez-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week from 30-31 July & 01 August

Photo Credit – Simon Deiner / SDR Photo

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