Together for tomorrow


Essential Elegance

by | Jul 27, 2022

Trends may come and go, but elegance will always remain in style. These pandemic years have allowed us to pause, reflect, and examine what is truly essential in our lives. For many, this lens has extended to our clothing and consumption habits.

We have learnt the importance of investing in local designers and focusing on quality over quantity. We call this Essential Elegance.

A person wearing a black beret and blue jacket

A person wearing a white dress and blue jacket by local designers

Abu wears Thebe Magugu fine ribbed knitted dress in merino wool and navy beret with steel sisterhood emblem from Counterintelligence SS21 & baby blue wool suit jacket from Art History SS19

A person wearing a mustard coloured dress

Asanda wears MMUSOMAXWELL Bishop Sleeve Cotton Shirt Dress from Imbokodo ‘21 & Kirsten Goss accessories

A person wearing a navy blue suit in a white room

Abu wears MMUSOMAXWELL navy V-neck wool tailored jacket and trousers from Umethulo ‘22

A model in a pink outfit poses in a white room

Abu wears pink Erre woven and quilted mohair jacket, Kirsten Goss accessories & Crystal Birch pink felt bucket hat

A model in a pink dress and yellow tights by local designers poses in a white room

A model wears a pink dress and yellow tights

Asanda wears pink Erre Bougainvillea Coat Dress from Winter 2022 and Kirsten Goss accessories

Essential Elegance highlights looks that focus on subtle shapes and luxurious fabrics by fashion labels that elevate classics while upholding a signature look. These designers prioritise quality, integrity, and longevity.

Beyond these virtues, the editorial highlights the essential principles of the featured labels and how they echo social and cultural energies. These garments are more than clothing. Through storytelling inspired by communities and histories, they reinforce fashion’s ability to transport us to different worlds.

Thebe Magugu

With his sublime ability to capture the complex history and rich diversity of our country in multifaceted garments, Thebe Magugu seeks to construct clothing that can be described as modern relics or familial heirlooms drawn from memories of the designer’s upbringing.

The editorial features pieces from the eponymous label that offer versatility and longevity. The baby blue wool suit jacket from the Spring/Summer ’19 collection, Art History, offers versatility with elasticated pinch and pull touch points that allow the wearer to create different silhouettes from this singular garment.

The sleeveless fine knitted dress from the Spring/Summer ’21 collection, Counterintelligence, is a garment that will age gracefully and transcend seasons.


Designing duo Mmuso Potsane and Maxwell Boko seek to challenge traditional narratives around women in society, especially in African culture. Featured in the editorial are looks that elegantly blend culture and modernity. They appeal to the sensibilities of contemporary African women honouring their cultural heritage.

This is exemplified by the ultra-sleek navy V-neck tailored suit from Umethulo 2022 collection and Bishop Sleeve shirt dress from Imbokodo 2021 collection. The latter is a reinterpretation of the traditional mourning attire in a sophisticated modern silhouette and the former pays homage to ecclesiastic black matriarchs with a shirt dress with references to cleric attire.


With a firm belief in the transformative nature of power dressing, ERRE (pronounced ‘air’) creates beautifully-made trans-seasonal pieces. Each garment is made-to-order, ensuring they produce only what their clients consume.

With a clientele of highly empowered women, such as actress Terry Pheto and Princess Charlene of Monaco, the label designs with an emphasis on colour and boldness that celebrates feminine energy. The featured looks offer bold, figure-flattering silhouettes and 2022’s most popular colour, pink, in luxurious mohair and ever-enduring cotton twill.


Fashion Editor | Tandekile Mkize

Photographer | Andile Phewa

Fashion Assistant | Qaqamba Sibiya

Models | Asanda Mgwaba and Abu Ngcangata

Wardrobe | Thebe Magugu (sourced from Merchants On Long), MMUSOMAXWELL, and ERRE

Accessories | Crystal Birch and Kirsten Goss

Shoot Location | The Muholi Art Institute


  • Cover image: Asanda wears Thebe Magugu navy beret with steel sisterhood emblem from Counterintelligence SS21
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