Vive la reine! The Salon58 Cycles experience.

Salon 58-4There are meteorological and astronomical seasons, both marked by specific weather conditions, temperatures, or length of the days. For those of us who are privileged to know and love Jackie Burger, that rarefied celestial being of grace, wisdom and beauty, we clock our seasons to her Salon 58’s soirées. As a fitting tribute to the end of a national month celebrating the many strong, independent women who weave the fabric of our lives, this Saturday past at the PJ Olivier Centre Art Centre in Stellenbosch we not only experienced the tenth soirée but co-joined in the themes of changing lives, our ever-changing faces and raised a glass of bubbles in a nod to her recently celebrated landmark birthday.

I am approaching a new life cycle which calls for a different ‘version’ of me. This made me think of the various cycles a woman goes through and the different women we have to be as we move through them. Each presents a new opportunity to pause for a moment and reflect and edit the person we have become before moving into the next. Yet we often don’t acknowledge and embrace this,” said Jackie Burger of the inspiration for her tenth soirée, #Salon58Cycles.

We are moving through a disruptive phase, shaking up the status quo and breaking down traditional stereotypes. With Cycles, I wanted us to embrace the emerging values of inclusivity, creativity and fluidity that allow us to make conscious choices devoid of stereotypical rules and codes.”

This is a lesson Jackie had to learn herself in the course of her career in fashion and which she shared with the 120 guests in attendance. “It has been the most profound lesson in understanding what truly defines me, stripping who I used to be and acknowledging the cyclical nature of growth while embracing the change and the fear that comes with it – in addition to battling my self-imposed cowardice.”

It extends to fashion, too, and this, as always, was at the heart of Cycles.

We are caught up in a ‘fast fulfilment’ and highly disposable fashion economy fuelled by the quest for the latest in ‘cool’. Recent studies have shown that the average American woman does not wear 60% of the pieces in her wardrobe. My aim is always to inspire women to reconsider their choices and reclaim their sense of self instead of chasing after a look or image that will be old news by the end of the week.

Powerful words which impact the way we think about things, but what exactly do Cycles mean on a level of an application rather than just mindfulness? Ms Burger referred to cycles not only as the theme of the soirée but as the theme of our lives and our ever-changing faces. She continued, “it resonated with my personal cycle and I, therefore, invited guests to ‘come as you are’ instead of specifying a dress code.”

The Cycles participating designers – PICHULIK, Jota-Kena, Maison Noir Collection, Tilone, Trebene and Jane Sews – were handpicked because they design and create personalised brands with all-season appeal and an environmental and social conscience. They joined Burger in a hands-on style tutorial before participating in a conversation with guests, which is at the core of every salon, about the key pieces in a women’s wardrobe, different phases women go through and how it impacts their style choices and styling.

On the beauty front, M.A.C. Cosmetics welcomed guests with an exploration of the possibilities that come with facing the world as “who you are”. For this, the M.A.C Cosmetics team hosted a makeup session before the soirée kicked off in earnest. Guests were able to sit with the artists and choose which touch-up they’d like, whether signature red lips (a typical Burger signature along with a crisp white shirt), a hint of contouring or bold eyes.

Eight women representing various cycles participated in the Rare Librarian showcase curated and produced by Juanita Kotze with Suzaan Heyns’ latest designs decorated with Swarovski crystals. In addition to bringing the concept of Cycles home, Kotze says she chose crystals to illustrate the beauty of imperfection. “In the words of Leonard Cohen: ‘Forget your perfect offering / There’s a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.’”

An afternoon high tea with delicacies accompanied by Graham Beck’s Demi-sec Bliss MCC and the opportunity to shop the participating designers’’ garments and accessories at the #Cycles pop-up shop saw to it that the day ended on a high note.

After three years, Jackie has evolved further and at the soirée, she introduced a new menu of nine style sessions that cover all aspects of a style makeover from an introductory assessment to the final shopping trip. Clients are welcome to book them one by one, going at their own pace, or in packages. For special occasions and corporate celebrations, there is the option of group bookings.

Nonetheless, in true Salon 58 style the pièce de résistance of the afternoon, and given her seven years as editor of ELLE it’s no wonder that Jackie has returned to the format with her own insightful Salon 58 zine offering (co-produced with our favourite Alwijn Burger of Blomboy, Salon 58’s creative director) with the simple explanation, “I love magazines for the thoughts and ideas they impart, for taking me places, for revealing moments that become entries in my journals.

We all, as our Jaguar XJ’s drive reluctantly away from the braak. take some part of the afternoon away with us: whether it be the memory of the experience as a whole, a number of new friendships made during the day or just the many, many photos that we snap on our smartphones. However, we now, as Jackie calls it, were able to this physical manifestation of the soirée “sharing the collective and collaborative wisdom of all who tirelessly and lovingly work to co-create Salon 58 soirées.

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La reine est morte. Vive la reine!