On a sweltering hot day in Stellenbosch this past weekend, a constellation of guests gathered for the final Salon 58 soirée for 2016. Entitled Stardust, Jackie Burger, true to form, presented a playful celebration of fashion, food and all things beautiful that stretched well into the night. Apt perhaps given the theme for the day’s festivities.
“One of most exciting movements in fashion is the ‘break-all-the-rules approach to dressing that challenges dress codes. It calls for fresh ideas and creativity from the design fraternity and from us,” said Burger at the beginning of the soirée. The dress code for Stardust, black-tie presented us with an opportunity for a little tongue-in-cheek challenge to play dress-up and allow personal style to triumph over convention. Having attended enough black-tie events in the past few months it was a welcome alternative to the stuffiness that comes with dressing up. But then you already knew that about Ms. Burger’s events. Stardust follows in the footsteps of the seven previous soirées by celebrating South African fashion and making it accessible to all by pairing couture with vintage and wardrobe staples. Burger herself chose to wear a design by Durban designer Gideon and says of her look, “I love the whimsy of the top and chose to contrast it with a vintage pleated couture skirt I found in Paris years ago.” Looking back on her two years at Salon 58, the experience of being an entrepreneur, she said, “It maps my challenges and personal need to push my boundaries to grow in a collaborative and experiential economy. It helped me to rediscover the power of following one’s dreams and taught me a new mental fitness, thanks to its unpredictable nature.” But as she continued to tell of her Muse’s murmurings, I was reminded of a recent coffee date with Ms. Burger that was only supposed to be a catch-up but nearly two hours later we both had to dash out of the restaurant to salvage what was left of our afternoon appointments.
From this came the idea for Stardust as a way to create and share magical moments, “to make memories of friendship and unique moments that perhaps fall by the wayside because we don’t have enough time or are too tired to make the effort. Besides, magical moments are what the festive season should be made of.” That’s the thing about Ms. Burger – she herself is so alluring. Insightful. Inspiring that you walk away energised to go out and make the world a more magical place through art, design, words or even consciously thinking on what you’re going to wear that day.
This idea, of unique moments and finding those within our everyday, was carried through in the conversation led by Dr Yvette de Viliers that turned to our expectations of the festive season and also what is expected of us. She focused on escaping the habits that keeps us in “survival mode” and replacing a sense of duty with joy.
Because it was the final soirée of the year, Jackie elected to work with several collaborators who had been with Salon 58 almost from the start. Juanita Kotze (The Rare Librarian) created a playful fashion production to show the breathtakingly intricate fashion by Klûk CGDT, Gideon, and Stefania Morland, all paired with shoes from Spitz. In the spirit of the evening, actress and producer Marlida Ferreira took to the floor in a design by Gideon and sparkly rollerskates. (As Gideon said, “Dress-up is about returning to the innocence of childhood and losing the inhibitions that we allow to define us.”)
Ferreira was joined on stage by award-winning actress Erica Wessels, soprano Magdalene Minnaar, actress Sarah Kozlowski, designer and artist Saskia Wicomb, designer Juandi Andrag as well as Kotze, the curator of the fashion theatre production, The Starduchesses. All are redheads, in line with David Kriel of Institute Aesthetics’ prediction that red is the hair colour for now. This was reinforced when he invited guests backstage to see and experiment with playful, flirty up-dos and small, sleek buns, with the compliments of Redken, and in his talk on the rise of red and pink in make-up as well as hair. “Texture is big too – it’s about volume and big and bold hair. It’s about fun,” he said.
MAC Cosmetics’ senior make-up artist Raine Tauber set the tone for the evening by treating guests to a dusting of glitter as well as MAC’s Nutcracker Sweet Holiday make-up collection. The shimmery pinks and plums are a little bit naughty, somewhat nutty and spot-on for the celebration that followed.
Next up came Salon 58 cocktail hour with Simone Musgrave of Musgrave Gin who treated guests to their artisanal Pink Gin made at their distillery in Salt River. Musgrave’s gins are made with African botanicals and the Pink Gin owes its lovely pink hue to rosewater and rosehip while their Jitterbug Perfume is made with beetroot – in a nod to Tom Robbins’ cult novel. In the course of the tasting, she shared the story of Musgrave Gin, which is the story of her family too.
Last but in no ways least, Hanneri Visser and Studio H, together with Woolworths Food, created visual and culinary installations for all the senses. A black liquorice chandelier, a black-tie braai with braaibroodjies made with an iron and chocolate skulls in balloons that guests had to pop were all on the out-of-this-world menu served with beer shandies from Devil’s Peak Brewery made with Juicebox juice, and Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV.
Salon 58’s Stardust shopping experience consisted of meticulously crafted leather clutch bags, belts and accessories from Missibaba; Coast and Koi’s new range of jewel-coloured shoes adorned with the most fantastic details and embellishments, and a selection of handmade items by Retha Erichsens’s The Farmer’s Daughter. Marcos and Istvan of Basilei Confectionary’s fudge introduced guests to their handcrafted luxury fudges that proved wildly popular.
The entire fairytale setting for the evening was created under the direction of Alwijn Burger from Blomboy, Eduan Roos of A Create and the talented David Brits. Brits created the huge black and white artwork that formed the backdrop to the conversations and salon in front of guests’ eyes.
In parting, Burger said, “I humbly thank each and every one who graced my life in 2016 with their creativity, energy, passion and generosity, especially those who attended the soirées and allowed me to share my visions and dreams. I invite everyone to join us next year – starting with the first soirée on 1 April.”
They say that in life there are only two things which you have no choice, death and taxes. I would like to propose a third, if I may: attending all of Ms. Burger’s soirées.