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Get Hooked

by | Apr 5, 2022

Bev Nates has created a magical fashion editorial that is a tribute to her Russian grandmother, Lilly Levin, whom she adored. Bev remembers her granny sitting alongside a Russian teapot with countless clashing and brightly coloured yarns and a crochet hook in her hands.

“Her periwinkle hair matched her mauve and lilac dresses. She was never under-accessorised. She was a legend.” Lilly, like many women of her generation, carried her brown patchwork leather knitting bag with her everywhere. In the bag were left-over balls of wool and embroidery cotton from her various crafting projects. “It was like a Mary Poppins bag. It was a real treasure trove.”

Bev helped her granny unravel jerseys that grandchildren had outgrown. This unravelled wool would be recycled into new unique creations. “She knew what she was doing. Nothing went to waste.” These threads and yarns dictated the size of the blanket squares, patterns and colour-ways, ultimately determining the design of the finished product.

While unpacking boxes after moving home recently, Bev rediscovered her granny’s techni-coloured crochet blankets and quilts in an antique trunk. “They brought back such vivid memories of my granny, sparking my imagination and immediately inspiring me to create a crochet editorial.”

“I had loads of blankets in different shapes and sizes. I wrapped them around me, pinning and remodelling them to create different silhouettes. I started dreaming about crochet.” After playing around with them for weeks, Bev trolled all the vintage stores in Cape Town for more inspirational pieces. She understands this market as she has been a serious collector of vintage clothing for most of her life and adores spending time reinventing, curating and tailoring her finds to give them new life. Her favourite vintage store is her closet.

But besides a few 60s and 70s garments, Bev couldn’t find what she had been dreaming about. So, she designed them instead. The next step was to find artisans who she could commission. This led her to an incredible community of crocheters with whom she collaborated to create the pieces she needed for her editorial over the course of two months. The Crochet Kind made a skullcap; Marina’s Vintage lent Bev ponchos and capes from her collection, and The Functional Art who made a coat and skirts.

“My passion drove the project bigger and bigger. I became obsessed.”  Bev added denim to her moodboard and reached out to Amanda Laird Cherry to source upcycled denim garments from their AW20 collection. Half the designs from this AW20 collection are reconstructed secondhand clothes sourced from Gumtree, an online marketplace for second-hand goods.

Often described as one of South Africa’s most influential fashion directors, Bev is a stylist and designer who believes that fashion is art. “Fashion is about storytelling, identity, and with artistic vision it can define a moment in time.”  Respecting her medium deeply, Bev thoroughly researches her editorial concepts. Her signature work ranges from dramatic, quirky to whimsical and eclectic, and always has a powerful narrative.

Bev’s illustrious career has been anything but boring. She started her career as a fashion publicist in New York, where she worked with fashion luminaries including Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti, Isaac Mizrahi and Stephen Sprouse. After 15 years in the Big Apple, she was lured back to Cape Town by Jane Raphaely to head the fashion department at Cosmopolitan South Africa. For 20 years, Bev produced countless memorable editorials, revolutionising the fashion pages and growing followers.

Now, Bev divides her time between South Africa and New York, shooting fashion editorials and designing for both commissioned and personal projects.







Bev’s favourite South African designers (in alphabetic order):



Photographer | Aart Verrips – Agent Emma | @aart.verrips + @agentemmarepresents
Fashion Director | Bev Nates | @bevnates
Model | Jihoon – 20 Model Management | @jdchoi0522 + @20modelmanagement
Make up | Raine Tauber | @rainetauber
Hair | Kevin Epstein | @hairstylistforever

Crochet blanket/cape: Marinas Vintage
Turtleneck: Dreamland Vintage
Bow and brooch: Bev’s granny’s
Skirt: FHC Functional

Scullcap: The Crochet Kind
Earrings: Gavin Rajah

Shirt: Gavin Rajah
Vintage crochet poncho: Marina’s Vintage
Jeans: Amanda Laird Cherry

Shirt: Glitterati
Patchwork jacket and jeans: Amanda Laird Cherry

Scullcap: Beulah Chin
Vintage Turtleneck: Bev’s mother’s
Crochet coat: FHC Functional
Skirt: Dress Me Up Retro
Earrings: Gavin Rajah

Denim Bomber: Gavin Rajah
Vintage ruffled scarf: Bev’s mother’s
Skirt: Wallflower

Turtleneck: Gracious Daisy Vintage
Crochet top: Bev’s mother’s
Earrings: Vintage Isaac Mizrahi

Crochet tutorials:

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