After a jaw-droppingly fabulous run at AFI Cape Town Fashion Week, we caught up with designer to the stars, Orapeleng Modutle. From Bonang Matheba to Boity Thulo, his eponymous label, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue, is in every South African starlet’s little black book. With every piece exuding exuberance and opulence that is reminiscent of the late and great Parisienne couturières, it’s plain to see why Modutle is the African continent’s #KingOfCouture.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw my inspiration from life. My surroundings and my travels are major contributing factors to my inspiration. My Rose Garden collection was inspired by a garden in Italy and the floral tones in the garden. Everything and anything about life inspires me. I take everything in and draw inspiration from it because everything in life has both beauty and ugly coupled with some really important lessons.
You’ve dressed the likes of Nomzamo, Bonang, and Kefilwe Mabote; who is on your client wishlist locally and internationally?
I’ve been blessed to work with some incredible women locally. Internationally, I would definitely love to work with Lupita Nyong’o and Kylie Jenner.
What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is tailored to perfection, opulence and luxury.
Where do you see the Orapeleng Modutle brand going in the next few years?
My plan for OM Style Avenue is to penetrate the Pan-African market. We’ve dressed Nigerian media personality Toke Makinwa, and we definitely understand the market power and value within the Pan-African market. Once we have made our footprint in Africa, we will look into global domination in the bridal space.
In your opinion, what should women be wearing right now?
Tailored fits. Everything needs to be tailored yet still very feminine and refined. The way a woman is dressed says a lot about her before she even says a word.
Which other designers’ work do you admire the most?
Internationally, I would count Elie Saab as one of my absolute favorites and in the African space, I adore Taibo Baccar.
Looking back at your most iconic designs, what are your top 5 creations?
- A nude chiffon dress from my Spring/Summer Collection
- A champagne dress with floral details I made for a client named Carina
- The red dress that Bonang Matheba wore to the 2017 SAMA Awards
- A blush pink pencil dress that Thando Thabethe wore to Minnie Dlamini’s wedding
- A blush and white wedding gown that I made from my Bridal Collection.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced since you’ve started in the fashion industry?
Definitely trying to maintain a profitable business. It isn’t the easiest trying to create amazing designs and manufacture quality clothing when there isn’t much financial backing.
Where do you see South African fashion going in the future?
South African fashion is on a great trajectory. The appropriation of African designs on the international stage has made us more aware of the design and creative gifts that we have in our country, and continent on a whole, that is has made us more aware and has made us want to authentically and loudly celebrate ourselves.
For more on your favourite designers, click here!