On Saturday night, the Book Café was transformed into an elegant, fashion showcase of two of the hottest fashion designers in town: Colin Ratisayi and Alice Knuth. Dubbed the Mad Hatter’s Fashion Party, this new initiative – spearheaded by Knuth – is an important new event that will showcase Zimbabwean designers quarterly throughout the year.
Taking a cue from the children’s classic Alice in Wonderland, Knuth and Ratisayi treated Harare audiences to a range of fashion garments that had the crowd sighing with delight.
This fresh, exciting concept saw a parade of collections from two designers with very distinct styles.
Colin Ratisayi is one of Zimbabwe’s most talented designers. In 2011, Ratisayi won best designer at Zimbabwe Fashion Week in Johannesburg. This dynamic designer has had his clothes featured in New African Woman Magazine and has shown his collections at fashion shows locally, in South Africa and Botswana. His label CZee-Rat specializes in haute couture, but also presents simple, classic, ready-to-wear garments all of which were on show last night. Ratisayi’s collection, called ‘The Sleeve Collection,’ was avante garde, and showed Harare once again that he is a designer who consistently thinks outside the box, presenting fresh, thoughtful garments that are works of art.
Alice Knuth is a Danish- Zimbabwe designer who started her own label Countess K in 2009. Knuth specializes in combining bright, African print fabrics, with dark denim which has become her signature style. She is a favourite with musicians and beauty queens whom she frequently designs for. Last night, artists including Hope Masike, Chikwata.263, Edith weUtonga, Ammara Brown, Gary Tight and Lady Tanda were all resplendent in Countess K. Emcee Chido Musasiwa changed into several Countess K outfits over the course of the evening to the delight of the audience. Knuth has built a strong brand and the models on the runway did an excellent job of showcasing her product.
In between the fashion, there were stellar performances most spectacularly from relative newcomer, Umoja, who presented a tight ensemble of dance, music and stunning vocals, easily the best act of the night. Other standouts included Chikwata.263, talented newcomer Gary Tight, and comedians Doc Vikela and Carl Joshua Ncube.
Overall a fantastic evening of music fused with fashion – an exciting new concept we’re looking forward to more of soon.