Arts and Culture

Changing gear

Zeenat Mahomed

That cars and fashion reflect who we are -- or who we want to be -- is not a new concept, so it was a smart idea to bring the two together.

That cars and fashion reflect who we are—or who we want to be—is not a new concept, so it was a smart idea to bring the two together in a campaign for Volvo. The carmaker brought out the big guns by collaborating with three of South Africa’s most prominent fashion designers to launch its new range of cars.

Their task was to bring cars and fashion together in an innovative way by designing interior, exterior, consumer and couture car accessories. The results were revealed recently at a spectacular event in Johannesburg.

Three of South Africa’s top fashion designers collaborated with Volvo to launch their new range of cars. Each artist designed a range of clothes and accessories around their chosen Volvo model and the results showcased the best in local fashion design.

The uber-cool Gert-Johan Coetzee, the South African designer of the year, chose the “sporty and playful” C30. His accessories included a memory stick, laptop bag, belt and car-wash kit, for which he created a range of innovative designs.

He took the Volvo slogan: “Anything is possible” to another level in his couture item, a dress made of water. The dress, displayed outside, had water flowing from it into a fountain and was the highlight of the night.

Said Coetzee: “Water not only symbolises life, but flowing water represents abundance of life. However, water also has the power to destroy and the contrast of this kind of power with the safety of my C30 allowed my creativity to flow.”

His described his experience with Volvo as a “fantastic, fun project”.

“When do you get the opportunity to redo the interior and exterior of a car and create accessories? Volvo spoilt us rotten.”

The other designers, David Tlale and Stoned Cherrie founder ­Nkhensani Nkosi, both incorporated details from the cars themselves.

Tlale’s couture piece included embossed leather and aluminium, and Nkosi emphasised Volvo’s focus on safety with a dress made of the tough fabric used in seat belts, which she somehow managed to turn into a feminine piece.

One would think that a dress made of safety belts would be something Lady Gaga would wear, but the piece was surprisingly wearable, exposing just the right amount of skin for an evening outfit. The knee-length, off-the-shoulder dress flared at the hem, giving it flow and elegance.

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