Monday, July 30, 2007

You're Dismissed!

Hooray, I am back! Vacations are lovely things, it is always good to hang out with your family and peeps, but then you miss your blog, no? My wonderful friend Ros sent me a lovely package in the mail this past weekend with gorgeous goodies to share with y'all, but before I get all that in order, here is a little something else.

In 2005, South African TV had its own version of the US-franchised TV show, The Apprentice. The boss was a mining magnate, Tokyo Sexwale, and his line for firing a competitor was, "You're dismissed!" Apparently there was some uproar after the finale, as Tokyo decided to hire both runners-up.

Anyway, the TV drama aside, the real drama for me is the apartment the show was shot in. It was designed by Maira Koutsoudakis (see my previous post about her wallpaper design) and just rocks luxury, SA-style.

(Photos as seen in House and Leisure magazine, House of the Year Competition, 2005.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday, Madiba! Here's to your spirit, style and the Madiba Shuffle.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Like this little fella, I'm tired. I'm taking a week off, going on vacation. I leave you with this beautiful image, taken by Leslie in Mozambique.

See you after next weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

She Wears Shwe Shwe

I owe Gary at Spray Glue a lot. It was through his great blog that I came across Skinny laMinx, and Petticoat, amongst all the other wonderfully inspiring stuff he posts every day.

Yesterday I randomly clicked on a link on his blog and it led me to She Wears Shwe Shwe. I kind of have had trouble finding out more about the blogger, but I know she lives in Johannesburg, and has a very healthy obsession with shwe shwe fabric.

This is something I grew up looking at every day and never really saw. I didn't even know it had a name! I love how the Ms. Shwe Shwe-Blogger captures people in their shwe shwe outfits, young and and not so young.

Her posts also really appeal to the crafter in me. You can, of course, make yourself those lovely outfits, but then again, what about gift boxes? Or cushions? Or book coverings?

I have plans now... next visit home I am getting myself some shwe shwe and making a quilt (I believe this is Ms Shwe Shwe-Blogger's handiwork. Nice!)...

...and also a skirt. This is so me.

Cherrie Nice

Delving into South Africa's history, Stoned Cherrie first grabbed my attention with a tshirt that featured the cover of an old issue of (South African) Drum magazine.

It was the photograph of Steve Biko, a writer and anti-apartheid activist. Gone was the European inspired clothing that we'd always seen... and here was the new generation of South African dress. Something for people who wouldn't dress in full traditional clothing, or wear something that held any obvious connections to a specific heritage. It simply said, "I am South African".

The woman who started all this is Nkhensani Nkosi. She's a ball of energy who started the company in 2000, and it has gone from strength to strength, showing well at South African fashion shows and reaching the masses through the South African store Woolworths (not the ones that you'll know from the US or the UK). Nkhensani has also been a presenter on TV shows, acted in the theatre production Sophiatown, and is involved in a myriad of other projects. She oozes creativity!

I love the mix of what can be seen as African colors, or silhouettes, or ideas, and mixed them all up in global trends, pattern, and movements. These are shots from a show a couple years back but you can see more of her cool designs on the very cool Stoned Cherrie website.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today is a special day... I got my first (and not only, I hope!) mention by another blogger. Thanks Heather!

Monday, July 9, 2007


Rooms on View was recently held in Johannesburg. As their website says, it is "A top-end show devoted specifically to the d├ęcor industry – interior decoration, the design of furniture, ceramics, fabrics and other household items. You can expect to see cutting edge thinking in the world of design, incorporating local and international designers, lifestyle merchants, and the best new young names to watch in the future."

The booths that caught my eye were those of House and Leisure magazine, White on White, Weylandt, as well as South Africa House (which walked away with top honours).

A dear friend of mine, Ros Geber, was my eyes and ears on the ground, and also had a hand in the third-place holder, White on White's Timbuktu, so we can look forward to more news from her on this show at a later date.

In the meantime, here's a snippet of what Trevyn McGowan said about her room, and I think it really says a lot about design in South Africa right now. McGowan's room was called A Garden of Earthly Delights, winning the Gold Conde Nast House & Garden and Home Fabrics Best Stand Award.

"We wanted to celebrate South African heritage, the richness of the country and the vibrancy of now," McGowan said. "We think that this is an exciting time to be part of the South African design community."

(Photos from the Rooms on View website)

Friday, July 6, 2007

At the Farm

Imagine a land where the flowers emerge, glorious, after a fire... the land stretches away as far as the eye can see... and wildlife abounds.

Where the accomodation is environmentally sound and strikingly gorgeous.

Where you can swim at the beach, hike the hills, horse ride through the plains, or laze just outside your front door.

Imagine Farm 215, situated on a fynbos reserve and nature retreat in the Southern Cape's Overberg. Home to one of the most biodiverse floral kingdoms in the world, Farm 215 saw a far-reaching fire sweep across the Overberg, releasing the regenerating blossoms of flowers such as Wistonias and other bulbs that had laid dormat for years, in a splendour that erupted this year.

When visiting the farm, and you're not enjoying the great outdoors, your hosts, Maarten Groos and Henki Le Roux will treat you to sumptious dinners, music and good company.

...and then imagine, sitting out under the starry southern skies....

(all photographs from Farm 215's website, with the exception of my dodgily-scanned in picture of the dining room, from SA Elle Decor Autumn 07, and the night sky, which I found on flickr.)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4th of July

Happy birthday, America, from a visiting South African.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Something to Write Home About

TeamTwo is a husband-wife team who make lights... beautiful, flowing chandeliers... out of ball-chains! You know, those little chains made of tiny balls that keep pens attached to desks at places like the Post Office? I think these are gorgeous and was absolutely floored when I find out what they were made of.

Adam Hoets is an eco-architecturialist and Sian Elliot is a jewellry designer who trained in industrial design. Together they make lamps that create halos of light that move and shimmer... they move in the slightest movement of air. (Picture as seen in SA Elle Decor, Summer 06/07.) Their company is called Willowlamp.

TeamTwo is represented here in the States at Amaridian, a New York gallery that specialises in South African artists. The owner, Fraser Conlon, is currently featured on House and Garden Magazine's list of Tastemakers. The picture below is from their website. You can see a willowlamp hanging behind Fraser in his gallery.

More of Fraser's wares were recently on show at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. I couldn't be there, but Grace at design*sponge was, and she took some great photos of the booth, like the one below (scroll all the way to the end of her post... You'll also see more of Gregor Jenkins' work in the pic above the chandeliers—the lamps made of green enamel mugs).

Grace's blog is always so informative, so current, and so interesting. I'm a huge fan. She also posts on the H&G website, so you can find her blog from there, too.

Thanks Grace! Hopefully next time I'll be there, too.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Koto Bolofo

Koto Bolofo grew up in exile, far away under British skies, instead of those of his native South Africa. He studied graphic design, but moved into photography, documenting his father's return home after 30 years abroad (The Land is White, the Seed is Black), an artist who makes aeroplanes, and also worked in fashion photography (working for various editions of Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and others).

His work speaks for itself.

From The Land is White, the Seed is Black.

From Sibusiso Mbhele and His Fish Helicopter, which showed at the Scout Gallery in London.

I had trouble choosing what to show from his fashion photography, there are so many interesting shots. If you enjoy these, spend some time checking out his portfolio at his agency's website, Jed Root, Inc.

Koto has also published a book, called Racing Style. It is a photographic representation of the Goodwill Revival, which relives the days of the Goodwood Motor Circuit (the British racing venue between 1948 and 1966). As the publisher says on its website, "This edition celebrates Goodwood through the years with engaging and unusual photos. On each luminous page, the reader is invited to peek at details of the era, from the cockpits of bugattis to the competitors and spectators who dress in period clothing. Racing Style artistically captures all these special memories in a timeless edition devoted to beauty and movement".

He is admired by other photographers whose work I enjoy! Check out Sart's entry for the day this photograph was taken.(That's Koto in the green shirt.)

Currently, Koto is working on two books, one on "the secret universe of Hermes" and the other on Venus Williams (that's her in the fashion photos, bottom right). I can't wait.

"Classical, modern and timeless—that's my concept. It always works". - Koto Bolofo