The Spring Preview

The fashion directors of SA’s favourite mags edit S/S 16

Words: Modupe Oloruntoba | Photographs: Travys Owen | Styling: Mandy Nash

New season, new threads! September is upon us and that payday feeling is still (kinda) fresh, so there's no better time than right now to work on a wardrobe update. The good news is we've done it for you: with the help of the fashion directors of SA's favourite magazines, we've edited S/S 16 down to the add-to-cart essentials. The bad news? There is none. You're welcome.

Like many in editorial fashion, Bev Nates studied design, but she got an education very few experience: 11 years working in New York fashion in the 90s, with masters like Moschino, Jean Paul Gaultier and Isaac Mizrahi, which explains the totally casual TBT shot we found on her Instagram featuring a young Kate Moss. “I think that I was possibly already playing dress-up in my mother’s womb! My grandmother had a dressmaker and I started dabbling in design at about 10 years old... it was living in New York that really secured my career in fashion.” These days, Bev lends her amazing eye and experience to a range of personal and commissioned projects, but mostly to the fashion pages of Cosmo. “Every day is different – which I love! There are meetings, previews, sourcing, pre-production, location scouting and shoot days. Shoot days are my favourite but I really do enjoy the entire process. Seeing the finished product always feels almost magical.”

Five items of clothing you couldn't live without?

My beautiful vintage dresses that I’ve collected for years, my vintage blazers and jackets, vintage Chanel handbags and jewellery passed down/stolen from my mom, my collection of enamel bird brooches, my SHOES! I am very sentimental and grow attached to items that have history and tell a story. As a stylist, I've become a terrible hoarder – I have collections of everything.

Bev on embroidery:

I adore embroidery. It’s so delicate and such a fine art. My advice would be to wear only one embroidered piece with your outfit. Never wear it head-to-toe, unless it’s a dress, of course.

Fashion you are looking forward to this season?

I look forward to wearing folk-inspired embroidery with a modern twist. I tend to add my own interpretation to whichever trend I wear because I think rocking a trend means allowing it to support your individual look – not the other way around. As an editor, I am lucky enough to get a taste of every trend simply through shooting them.

Words to live by?

Be true to yourself and embrace your individuality; never be a slave to trends.

Words to dress by?


Cape Town girl Tarryn Oppel began her career in fashion like most do – an internship. “I also did a stint at You magazine as fashion assistant before making my way back to Elle where I’ve been ever since – five and a half years to be exact.” As fashion director, Tarryn is responsible for a lot – writing, booking cast and crew for photo shoots, and styling – but it really comes down to making sure Elle’s fashion content is up to the legendary glossy’s stylish, spirited standard, online and in print. The studio is her happy place: “dancing is mandatory and nothing can keep me away from a bag of Chuckles.”

Tarryn on the bodysuit:

The bodysuit, no matter what colour, texture or silhouette is incredibly versatile. I love the idea of texture, be it velvet or lace, because it allows you to have a bit more fun with juxtaposing your look for day and night – with a simple change of shoes, you can make your look work for a summer evening. A lace bodysuit, for example, is something that many would assign to the bedroom. Well I don’t know who made that rule, because it deserves some daytime dominance. It’s just about balancing your look with a hint of street edge to give you extra cred; another way of making sure it still remains sophisticated is with the ever fail-proof choice of monochrome.

Five items of clothing you couldn't live without?

My black leather biker jacket, all-white Nike Air high-tops, black denim, an adidas Originals parka, and black tuxedo jumpsuit.

Fashion you are looking forward to this season?

More off-the-shoulder everything, white-on-white embroidery, statement heels, and modern tie-dye.

Words to live by?

Always be yourself – it's that simple.

Words to dress by?

When in doubt, wear black.

With no plans for a career in fashion, Chrisna De Bruyn found herself assisting a stylist at 21-years-old for something to do. She stayed for three years. Fast forward a little and she's leading the fashion team at Condé Nast's flagship women's title. There are layout approvals, planning meetings, and a lot more admin than most would think, but Chrisna says the job is ultimately about networking – fashion is a team sport.

On the bomber jacket:

You would think we would have run out of things to say about bombers by now, but this style continues to prove itself with its propensity for reinvention. Borrowing design details from classic baseball jackets, this season's offerings move from utilitarian to ornamental. The embroidered satin styles taking over this spring have a rich and dark history: the story goes that an American soldier stationed in Yokosuka, Japan during the occupation after World War II had his army issue jacket embroidered with Japanese symbols like cherry blossoms and American eagle insignia at Tailor Toyo, a store that's still open today. When fellow servicemen followed his lead, even purchasing extras for friends and family, the Sukajan, or souvenir jacket, was born.

Five items of clothing you couldn't live without?
adidas sneakers, Acne sunglasses, a black Witchery leather jacket, a Zara grey long wool coat and my Comme des Garçon T-shirt.
Fashion you are most looking forward to this season?
Platform sandals, embroidered dresses and silk slip dresses.
Words to live by?
Be yourself.
Words to dress by?
Never wear leopard print!! Never!

Kelly Fung studied languages, not fashion, but has always loved it, choosing clothes over toys as a kid. “After my undergrad I literally asked myself what would be the coolest job I could do and I went to intern at SL magazine, which at the time was this irreverent, youth culture magazine that explored local stuff in such a forward thinking way. I was hooked.” Kelly sees fashion the way few do, as a reflection of our time and of ourselves. “There is so much more to fashion than clothes, and that’s what people don’t often get.” When she’s not running around sourcing clothes or meeting collaborators, she’s neck-deep in spreadsheets and mood boards or prepping for travel. “Basically, I am a multitasking maniac and a pro-juggler.”

Kelly on the all white trend:

Wearing all-white is trickier than you think. The key is to keep it super casual so that you don’t look as if you're heading to an H20 jol, (unless, of course, you are). Pair a white sundress with a chunky white sandal or if you’re going with white jeans, a simple white sneaker and a white button-up. Also, make sure panty lines and bra straps are well camouflaged please, thanks.

Five items of clothing you couldn't live without?

My Issey Miyake Baobao bag. It reminds me of his pure design genius, pragmatism, his skill and understanding of fashion. It’s more a symbol of what fashion should mean and does mean to me than an item of clothing I needed to covet. It’s anti-trend and more about forever fashion. A long-sleeved striped tee because everybody needs one and you end up looking like a fashion person without even trying. My oversized black Superella dress for those lazy days when only a sack dress will do. My embellished Dior sneakers (self-explanatory). My specs because I didn’t realise how blind I am until recently so now I have these giant turquoise Vogue Eyewear spectacles that are probably too big for my face but they’re a necessity.

Are you spring cleaning your wardrobe this season?

Truthfully, I never throw anything out, I still have my gran’s wool trousers from the dawn of time. But… the crop top and skinny jean combo needs to die. Jeans are far more flattering in a straight leg cut or even in this season’s cropped flares. Overly made-up faces and culturally-appropriated symbols (Ganesha, Buddha, the Om sign etc.) on jewellery or on anything fashion related really needs to stop. It’s almost 2017, if you haven’t educated yourself, now's the time.

Fashion you are looking forward to this season?

I haven’t seen fashion this pro-feminist before and I’m loving it. From romantic sheer fabrics and peek-a-boo lingerie, to a tougher punk girl aesthetic – there really is something for everybody. I am so excited for flat shoes! Most notably: the babouche slipper (a Moroccan-esque slipper shoe that your foot magically slides in to) and the rebirth of the ballerina flat, only this time it has buckles and straps and bows à la Miu Miu.

Words to live by?

No is a full sentence.

Words to dress by?

"Quality is king, quantity feeds obesity" – Leandra Medine (The Man Repeller)

After graduating and applying for an internship, Nonkuthalo Thithi joined the ranks of the many who move to the City of Gold to build their careers, and it’s been full steam ahead ever since. Not only did she land a job upon arrival, she landed the craziest gig there is – a weekly fashion magazine. “It really is different every day. Most days I am planning and creating content for the magazine, meeting with clients and suppliers, going to launches of new brands and trends in existing stores and styling for editorial shoots and covers.”

Nonkuthalo on the tee and slip dress:

This is a tricky trend because it can easily look like nightwear. Make it wearable by adding something you would not usually wear to bed – a leather jacket, sneakers, heels, or even a blazer.

Five items of clothing you couldn't live without?

Heels, shorts, a white tee, a trench coat and a leather jacket.

Fashion you are looking forward to this season?

The bell shape – whether on sleeves or trousers. It’s so flattering and just looks like you’re having fun.

Metallics and sequins – I love that you can wear shiny fabrics all day, every day IRL! It doesn’t get better than that. #sparkleandshine

Off-the-shoulder – You can dress it up or down and look fab the entire time! Sign me up!

Words to live by?

Every day is a good day to have a great day!

Words to dress by?

Why not?