The Fashion Calendar

Having completed training and then beginning his career as a designer in England; leading Johannesburg based haute couture designer Spero Villioti has had the privilege of being present at some of the world's most exclusive and coveted fashion shows and events. This week he shares with us some of his most memorable experiences both on the international and local scene. If you are a avid fashion lover may want to diarise these events in your own calendar...

Day 1

International Highlight: Paris Fashion Week
Hosted by the city of love and capital of fashion Paris Fashion Week is on the top of every fashion lover’s “bucket” list; a definite must see. “I myself have attended Paris Fashion Week on several occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the event every time,” comments Mr Villioti. The Fédération Française de la Couture, du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode, which was founded in 1973, establishes the show calendars for each of the fashion weeks. The calendar includes the Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer shows for three major divisions; Haute Couture, Women’s Ready to Wear and Men’s Ready to Wear collections/designers. In January and July of each year the city hosts 30 Haute Couture fashion shows and 40 men’s wear shows, and then in March and October it welcomes 150 women’s ready to wear fashion shows. Shows are held at venues that are within close proximity of each other in the city’s center. Around 2000 French and international journalists and buyers attend Paris Fashion week alone.

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Day 2

International Focus: London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week was held for the first time in a West London car park back in 1984. Some of the fashion greats made their debuts on the catwalks of London Fashion Week such as the likes of the controversial John Galliano, Betty Jackson, Ghost and David Fielden to mention a few. In 1992 due to the recession only a handful of designers were chosen to showcase their collections in limited rooms at the Ritz. And then in 1995 student designer Stella McCartney made a huge success by selling out her entire collection at the Spring/Summer showcase. “It has been a privilege to see some of the world’s biggest fashion names and brands on the runways of international fashion week’s such as that of London Fashion Week."

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Day 3

Jo’burg Fashion Week
Spero Villioti Couture has been a part of the Jo’burg Fashion Week line up for a few years and has also had the pleasure of showcasing at Cape Town Fashion Week.  “I find the Jo’burg Fashion Week inspirational as a designer and always thoroughly enjoy the event,” states Spero Villioti. Not only does Mr Villioti believe that these shows are a brilliant platform for South African designers but also that it provides excellent marketing opportunities to the brand, “It’s a good platform to harness to create brand awareness and on which to promote your product as a designer. But it is also, very much, about having the right product to market as such a prestigious showcase at the end of the day.” Not one to only celebrate quality fashion and the allure of couture pieces at the Jo’burg Fashion Week the Spero Villioti Couture show is always finding new ways to make the show entertaining and memorable. For instance at the 2011 Autumn/Winter shows the Spero Villioti Couture show was a spectacular rain shower of gold glitter all throughout the catwalk display. Guests were covered in tiny flecks of gold, making sure everyone went home with a piece of the show, Sarah Cangley; social journalist for The Citizen newspaper called it, “The night gold fell from the sky.” While Therese Owen; journalist for The Saturday Star newspaper recalls how her bedroom floor was covered in the golden glitter the morning after the show, she comments how, “Signor Villioti’s show is always a highlight of fashion week…”. Be sure to clear your calendar for the next Spero Villioti Couture show.

Photo Source: AFI/ SDR Photo

Day 4

Future Fashion Leaders
One of South Africa’s largest fashion shows, with over 1000 guests in the one night event Future Fashion Leaders is a young designers showcase/fashion graduates show with a serious twist; which is why it is a definite must see on every South African’s fashion calendar. Just ask someone who has been. Firstly, not only is the show a major charity event; with proceeds being donated to the Couture Educational Foundation for the sponsorship of bursaries for underprivileged students wishing to pursue an education within the field of the arts, it also aims to entertain; with preparations for the event starting one year in advance and featuring laser dancers, drag artist performances and more. “Seeing the graduates on the catwalk at Future Fashion Leaders with their collections makes me so proud,” says Spero Villioti, “not just of the Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy graduates but also of the team at Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy. Every year I witness how this team has done such an amazing job of molding these future fashion leaders.” Although Mr Villioti does find the organisation of the show a bit stressful it is one of his greatest passions, “We try to give each graduate the opportunity to realise their dreams of showcasing their very own collection on the runway. And I am proud to endorse their talent.” Although the show is there to present the graduates’ work as an offering to the public fashion world it also aims to instill within each graduate that sense of not everything in life being solely about them and that there is great reward in giving back to your community.

Comment by Lauren Wasserzug on June 13, 2011 at 21:43
Always been a dream of mine to attend fashion week- especially in Paris. Green with envy!
Comment by Nomsa Kagiso on June 21, 2011 at 11:17
I am a big fan of yours Spero and I have seen you showcase your collection at many shows. Keep doing what you do- u r very talented.

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