On 21 February about 150 fashion insiders and members of the media gathered to celebrate the much-anticipated opening of Salon 58, Jackie Burger’s new venture.
Stellenbosch’s historic PJ Olivier Arts Centre, where Salon 58 has its offices, proved to be the perfect setting for the relaxed, stylish event that Burger described as “a gathering of friends”.
“I have been planning this day for three years,” she said. “As everyone knows, I am an admirer of Coco Chanel, not just for her fashion but because she was a woman who was not afraid to take risks. Salon 58 is the expression of one of my dreams, to create ‘some place of magic’, as she once said, where we can kick off our shoes and connect while enjoying one of life’s ultimate pleasures, that of good company.”
Guests were treated to a fashion show with a difference featuring South African women who have each built a powerful brand based on their originality and style.
They were Anet Pienaar Vosloo, Jena Dover, Jess van Wyk, Doreen de Waal, Pnina Fenster, Jenna Bruwer, Lizma Van Zyl, Lindiwe Suttle, Leonie Von Hase and Asanda Sizani. Also on display was the Salon 58 x PICHULIK series of striking portraits shot by photographer Kristin-Lee Moolman. They show Anet Pienaar Vosloo, Jenna Bruwer, Doreen De Waal, Juanita Daniel, Jackie Burger, Mellissa Muringani and Lindiwe Suttle wearing once-off earrings created by jewellery designer Katherine-Mary Pichulik. Suttle opened the morning’s event with a moving rendition of La Vie en Rose accompanied by Stanislav Angelov on the accordion.
The show at the same time served as the launch of designer Elaine du Plessis’ new label, Drotsky, and included a navy pinstripe suit consisting of flowing wide-legged trousers and an off-the-shoulder top, loose black trousers with a draped cream raw silk top with concertina pleats, a floor-sweeping wine-red column dress made from a heavy knit and a flowing white cotton shirt dress. All the garments were representative of Du Plessis’ design aesthetic that encompasses classic cuts, quality fabrics and immaculate detailing.
Also on show were a range of hand-woven scarves by designer Nicholas Coutts and hats by Joburg’s Simon and Mary. Milliner Dean Pozniak is currently working with Burger to create a signature hat to be called the Jackie Burger, a process he calls “a labour of love”.
Durban’s Dave de Witt contributed 12 pairs of Sk8 Shades sunglass frames made from reclaimed parquet flooring and skateboard material for the very first Salon 58 exhibition. Displayed alongside these were a selection of pure silk kimonos imported from Japan by Karen Ter Morshuizen that will form the basis for her new business set to launch soon. The kimonos precede WWII and have been woven and dyed by hand.
Burger, who is known as a tireless champion of new design talent, will showcase carefully selected items such as these at the salon where she will host one-on-one tête-à-têtes (personal style consultations) too. Also on the calendar are seven soirees per year, each with its own theme and collaborators. Saturday’s event doubled as the first such soiree for 2015.
“Although salons are a new concept in South Africa, they have been around in Europe since the 17th century. In a time when women did not have much scope for self-expression, salons provided them with opportunities to learn, be creative and simply to converse about matters other than the daily grind, things that they find interesting and stimulating. In a similar way, Salon 58 will be a type of ‘live magazine’ that provides edited and curated content to encourage women to express themselves in new ways,” says Burger of the salon concept. “An essential part of this is a woman’s personal style and fashion sense.”
The PJ Olivier Arts Centre and therefore Salon 58 are housed in the former Rhenish girls’ boarding school, the first for girls in the Cape and also the first school that taught Domestic Science as a subject to “prepare girls to be better wives”, an irony that organizer Juanita Daniel incorporated into the programme by having a hostess, dressed by Drotsky, ironing the Salon 58 programme in the entrance hall.