16 Dec Avant-Premiere: Curating Clothes for the Mother City Lifestyle
UK based creative agency, Avant-Premiere, has opened a pop-up clothing store in Kloof Street, with a focus on selling artisan products specially curated for the Mother City lifestyle. Spacious and light, the atmosphere feels more like a gallery than run-of-the-mill retail shop and with garments fit for an endless selection of looks – from boho beachwear to casual classics – there’s something to suit everyone’s taste. We loved Talia Strates’s leather bag range and Crystal Birch’s ‘Kaledio’ hat collection. If you’re keen to know what our other favourites were, then be sure to visit and view our ‘picks of week’ rail in store.
Avant-Premiere is a multi-brand pop-up store. What inspired the concept?
Avant-Premiere is more than just a store – we are a creative agency specialising in launching luxury brands to market. We handpick emerging designers with unique stores, share them around the world and provide marketing strategies and brand development to designers, as well as introductions to sales representatives.
Our series of travelling pop-up stores is just one way in which we are working with designers at the moment. Cape Town is the fourth in the series – following two in London and one in New York.
Tell us about the process of choosing the store decor and layout. How did you go about this?
We tailor our decor to suit each city ad its style – Cape Town was all about “deconstructed restructured” with white ladders, copper paint tins, natural plants and dark grey walls.
How would you describe the style of an Avant-Premiere dresser?
Someone who likes to be adventurous and isn’t afraid to try new things. Someone, who prefers local artisans and creators to the mass market, who loves to find unique one-offs, has a flair for fashion and who loves fine finishes.
It’s only open for a limited amount of time. Why did you decide to bring it to Cape Town from the UK?
Cape Town is perfectly on trend right now – it’s one of the best places for creativity, travel, culture, food, and the scene here is flourishing. On top of that, there is very limited availability of non-mass market brands, especially in one shop. We wanted to bring together our curated selection of a range of local designers alongside a few of our international favourites, and all the feet through the door is showing how much Cape Town needed something like this!
You’ve curated numerous brands. What are the elements you look out for when deciding which labels to showcase?
We look for someone unique with something to say – we try to make all of our brands very different from each other, and then highlight what we like best about them. In this way we offer the customer a “whole” shopping experience, with something for everyone.
Is the selection of clothing the same in each store or do you tailor it according to the specific city?
It is totally different in each store – Cape Town has been more casual, resort and lifestyle, as this fits our demographic here, however we do have some smarter brands in store as well. New York, being such a huge city, and obviously mid winter now, has designers that play their strengths in this kind of environment.
How does Cape Town style compare internationally?
Every city is so different! Cape Town people seem to prefer a slightly more relaxed feeling to NYC and London, which was to be expected.
What are some of the brands we can purchase and what do you love most about them?
For bags we have Thalia Strates, Take Charge, Balthazaar and Bagmee – four very different styles! Thalia is beautifully tailored local leather, Take Charge have a unique concept as their bags contain mobile cellphone chargers, Balthazar creates amazing designs from recycled Moroccan carpets and Bagmee offers perfectly on trend styles to match your current look.
For resort and beachwear we have BeachCult, Granadilla and the Hive, who both perfectly represent that Cape Town relaxed beach to cocktail ethos. For Jewellery we have a complete range from inexpensive trendy Soul Design and Dream State, to high end unique designs from Anna Rosholt and Carla Maxine. We also have some stunning pieces from Yellow.For womenswear I love Tamara Cherie, W35T and Isabel De Villiers.
We also stock my own range of luxe kimonos, dresses and shirts.
Are there any plans to set up a permanent store?
After this we head on to Hong Kong and LA, but we will be back next year!