REVIEW: Scalo at Cape Town Fashion Week

Scalo presents their latest collection at Cape Town Fashion Week

Beyond the Milky Way: How Scalo's Galaxy-Inspired Designs are Taking Fashion to New Heights

As the final day of Cape Town Fashion Week 2023 kicked off, all eyes were on luxury label Scalo and its out-of-this-world collection. Inspired by an "African Galactic Dream," designer Sello Medupe brought the Milky Way to life with experimental silhouettes, bold textures, and a celestial color palette that left fashion enthusiasts starry-eyed. With black as the base for his imagined galaxy, Scalo's collection proved that haute couture could be both otherworldly and impeccably tailored - a true feat in fashion.

Having showcased at various AFI Fashion Weeks since 2013, Scalo’s prowess is no secret. Founded by Johannesburg-native Medupe, the luxury label fluently balances a proclivity for luxury and grandeur with the unmistakable dynamism of the designer’s home city.

The designer’s embrace of the theatrical in his showcases is as consistent as his unique plays on cut, colour and layering. It is evident that, when constructing a garment, Medupe utilizes every element of his format – from silhouette to surface texture – to produce a well-considered, visually and thematically consolidated masterpiece.

His return to Cape Town Fashion Week did not diverge from this – if anything, Medupe doubled down. Each garment represented a milky way of its own, with sequins glinting under the lights of the runway. Scalo’s multi-dimensional use of beading was perhaps the crux of the collection, utilizing one of the most definitive elements of African fashion to produce his complex constellations.

The collection saw pea-sized beads in yellow and blue, utilized not only in the building of an intricately constructed galaxy, but in giving garment shape and dimension, accentuating the angles on unconventional cuts. This was most beautifully demonstrated on a two-piece suit, in which the pencil skirt appeared folded, creating a high, angular hem, emphasized by a beaded lining.

The high collar and statement shoulders of the top were energetically littered with beading, imbuing the garment with swift motion as it drifted down the runway. The label accomplished true mastery in this collection, including a knee-length cocktail dress, in which the right breast descends into a masterfully draped off-shoulder sleeve.

Alongside counterparts such as Malondie, the intergalactic theme of Scalo’s collection demonstrated an embrace of global trend research, articulating it in a uniquely African visual language. On a conceptual level, the designer’s use of beading paves the way for more experimentation with traditional dress on the high-fashion stage.

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