Art Fashion Show

The Art class of Knysna High had their annual fashion show last Friday Night. I was looking forward to it, having glimpsed bits of the costumes in the Hostel.

Smashed mirrors had flashed at me from stiff neck ruffs, and long, brightly coloured ribbons trailed from the hands of girls, as they dashed backwards and forwards to rehearsals.

Preparations went on for days, involving two of our grade 10 hostel girls.

It is not obvious by looking at me that I have a well hidden interest in fashion. But I do, absorbing the latest fashions, almost by osmosis, just by sitting in coffee shops and watching the passing parade.

My son trusted me, all through his teen years, to buy him his clothes. It could never be said of him that ‘your mother dresses you funny.’

sarah_janeLately, of course, that has all changed, with him pounding the streets of London and Birmingham, and being witness to the latest street fashions, and cutting edge clothes that we, in South Africa, have not yet had a glimpse of.

Being a ramp model was something thrust upon me as a young, gangling, nearly six foot girl of sixteen. It was a passing phase in Port Elizabeth, but the drama of the ramp still holds me enthralled.

L has been to most of the big modelling shows, filming them during his Top Billing days. He was quite a fashionista back in the day, wearing Hilton Weiner suits to go with his latest sports car.

So, on Friday night, we took up our favourite front seats at the end of the runway, in the Knysna High School Hall.

The curtains opened on a great set, consisting of a halo of branches and fairy lights, magically hanging above a township chic gateway of corrugated iron, through which pirouetted a feather light ballerina in blue.

It was a great beginning to a fantastical show.

To a soundtrack of various foot stomping songs, the girls (and one boy) began their colourful and outrageous procession down the ramp.

There are  few things I envy, and wish I had been gifted with in this life.

Being able to sew really well is one.

TiffanyBeing able to whistle like a banshee , loudly and shrilly, through my teeth, is another.

At the Fashion Show I had to be satisfied with making loud woops and clapping as each girl passed me by. If I had been allowed to stamp my feet as well I would have, such was my delight with each astounding outfit.

I hardly recognised the girls, transformed as they were in their wayout outfits, and extraordinary makeup.

And that was the idea behind it all.


Ball gowns made from playing cards, black bags, newspapers, old maps and joyously vibrating paper cups. A bulbous skirt lit with LED lights, and another trailing magnificent feathers, shed from some peacock, here re-stitched for a different kind of bird.

The models preened and strutted, twirled and pouted past us. Some came striding, poised effortlessly on ballet point, and others moved with attitude, their red or black or blue painted mouths pouting.

We enjoyed every moment, letting rip with a special whoop of pride for Tiffany as she flounced above us, a dramatic blur of ribbons and colours, and for Christines’ joyous balloon creation.

You are our hostel girls, and you were simply the best.



Writer, author, script writer

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