There was a time you could not turn any corner without hearing the name Gavin Rajah. From local shows in his country, in South Africa, to international shows within and outside Africa, Rajah did it all. He also helped other emerging designers, paving the way for a few of the strong South African brands we know today. There was even, at some point, a time when Rajah snagged an appearance on an episode of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) when Tyra Banks filmed one of her shows season and episode in South Africa. Then, it appeared, Rajah took a break, a seemingly long break. Now he is back. He showed at Arise Magazine’s Lagos Fashion Week and earned a spot to show at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. What is our verdict on Rajah’s Spring/Summer collection?
While there were glimpses of the Gavin Rajah we know, we felt, for the most part, the collection was unclear on who the Gavin Rajah American and/ or international woman was. Dressing the South African woman in Africa, we feel, is a bit different than dressing the American or international woman who comes with a different set of cultural values and world views. The collection seemed a bit over the top and too much like a costume party that is out of touch with current economic times. The freshness and innovation synonymous with the Rajah brand, was in our view, lacking. In lean times with a recession in America and around the world, women want to feel pretty but not necessarily ostentatious. A bit more editing of the collection, more along the lines of the cream colored pants and embellished (belt), and colorful print top worn by ANTM’s Aminat Ayinde (2nd picture), would have resonated more with us, and we believe the Ladybrille woman here in the West.
Photocredit: Getty Images/Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York