Johannesburg turns out in style

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Cape Town recently set the tone for the inaugural Mercedes-Benz Bokeh International Fashion Film Festival, and true to form, Johannesburg raised the bar on Friday 5th September as the well-heeled, well-dressed and well-spoken all donned their finest and gathered for a one night only glittering event held at the imposing Airbus Helicopter hangars at Grand Central airport.

Surrounded by gleaming luxury helicopters together with a display of the latest stylish hardware from Mercedes-Benz, guests were chauffer driven in sponsored luxury to the entrance where they were welcomed in true celebrity style. The glamorous and irrepressible Bailey Schneider, dressed in stunning coral Fundudzi dress by Craig Jacobs, was on hand to lead the welcome party, flanked by a designer squad of waif–figurines that ushered the guests along the formidable ‘Red Carpet’ for an authentic Oscar style moment. Television and camera crews lined the stanchions and jostled for the perfect shot and sound bite from the invited guests, fashionistas, designers, celebrities and VIP’s which included Sashi Naidoo, Lalla Hirayama, Tarina Patel, Angela Deh, Michaella Russel and Peta Eggierth-Symes to name a few.

Founder of the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh International Fashion Film Festival, Adrian Lazarus was overheard saying, “I’m completely blown away by the turn out. I thought that we had nailed it in Cape Town, but tonight’s turnout means that Joburg is also hungry for their very own Fashion Film Festival.”

The cavernous hangar space was transformed into an eclectic yet sophisticated club-like arena with oversized TV screen walls from global electronics giant Hisense showcasing the award winning fashion films in perfect, ultra high definition. Guests mingled whilst being served Ashbourne wines from Hamilton Russell Vineyards and designer canapés. Live body painted figurines were on display and for those willing to align themselves deeper into the film genre, enjoyed fresh popcorn in abundance together with a designer Protea Fire & Ice Milkshake bar.
The Mercedes-Benz photo corner proved a highlight where guests had the opportunity to witness a photo shoot for the front cover of the Mercedes-Benz magazine.

Five selected designers from the Cape Town Fashion Council then had the opportunity to present their designs to the admiration of the thronging crowd. They included Craig Jacobs, founder of the Fundudzi label; Eleni Labrou who recently unveiled her latest range at the AFI Fastrack show at Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week; the inimitable and innovative Tzvi Karp and Joel Janse van Vuuren, who is known for his colourful, feminine creations. Highlighting the importance of the event, Cape Town fashion Council CEO, Bryan Ramkilawan enthused, “The Cape Town Fashion Council is passionate about expanding partnerships and collaborative events such as this one between designers across all disciplines. We want to tell a fashion story and showcase our massive talent base while building entrepreneurial and technical skills, which will enable our designers to explore new ideas and creative retail opportunities.”

Selvin Govender, Divisional Director, Product and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars concluded, “Following the great success of the CT event we were delighted with the response from our Johannesburg clients, as they went all out to support the event and set the tone for this stylish event. The Fashion Film genre is a new visual phenomenon that is sweeping the fashion film industry worldwide and we feel this event is neatly aligned to our brand and our customers' lifestyle of fashion and style."

The award winning fashion films from the Cape Town event were screened in a 1 hour visual extravaganza that challenged the boundaries of fashion and brand messaging, leaving those gathered in no doubt that they were witnessing the future of fashion branding. In true Fashion Film form, convention was immediately shattered by the impromptu arrival of a high tempo Primi Piatti dance troupe who turned up the heat and made ‘Work is love made visible’ a reality, as they bounded around the room offering up piping hot pizza slices to the guests, who were delighted to oblige.

The event rounded off the inaugural and massively successful Mercedes-Benz Bokeh International Fashion Film Festival, which initially started out as a Cape Town event and has now immediately become a highlight on the national fashion calendar.

Additional sponsors of the event included: Fashion-One TV, MAC cosmetics, Luxury Brands, GHD Hair care, TRUTH Coffee, Ashbourne wines, Ginger Grouse, San Pelligrino, Chambourd and Protea Hotels Fire & Ice.

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