In the late 1990’s, when I was about 12 – the stereotypical type, gangly legs, with braces and spectacles – there was an obsession with digital print, rave-inspired clothing. Bell bottoms in trippy prints were available only at Main Bazaar, a hippie den on Knysna Main Road, where a psychedelic dude pressed peace sign pendants into our palms and we perused the bong selection, unsure of what we were browsing at. Knysna was prime property for the late 90’s spill-over from rave culture and the early roots of trance, being that it was and still is a seaside refuge for corporate wash ups and people that want to spend their days doing, well, not very much. Perhaps a jumble sale here, a stint as a ceramicist there. Your general freeloading, hitchhiking and bead-wearing. Anywho. My friends and I spent our time hanging out at the Knysna movie house and repeatedly going into the local surf shop in the hopes of catching a glimpse of a blonde-haired, square-jawed guy called Tony. And we wore near-matching digital print, kaleidoscopic dresses that our moms had bought us, either at Main Bazaar, or, if you were lucky, from Space Station in Cape Town (along with plastic Hello Kitty clips and, in my case, a bubblegum blue faux fur jacket… so 90’s!)
Now it seems that the kaleidoscope trend is making a comeback, albeit in a much finer, more elegant fashion (no bell bottoms, no rainbow tie-dye references). Following on from the digital print trend, kaleido print has been seen on the runway at Alexander McQueen (worn by Camilla Belle on the red carpet) and also locally in ELLE New Talent competition winner Cleo Droomer’s winning collection, which is utterly beauteous. I just love the shape and sleekness of his bouffant PVC jackets. Find an interview with Cleo and the thinking behind his kaleido collection in the latest issue of ELLE.