Chris Viljoen fro Spree MJ AND STUFF

You know how “they” say you should never meet your hero? A part of me is glad I am finally conforming to a belief huffed in hot air even though I think it is utter rubbish that this notion helps hinder disappointments. My case is; I have adored everything Chris Viljoen has touched since I started in fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I have been in rooms with Chris (and a few other well heeled fashion royalty) over the years and every time I think I have gathered up enough guts to can say hello or something, I moonwalk back, try to think about something smart and before I know it, like a ghost he disappears into what I believe is misty awesomeness. Chris Viljoen’s current position is that of a Fashion Director at spree.co.za and he was kind enough to disentangle possibilities of fashion faux pas common with the festive season…

1. In your opinion, what is deemed fabulous this festive season?

We have some magnificent local talent and with World Design Capital coming up next year, we are certain to see our designers really push their creative boundaries. Purchasing local is one of the key ways that we can positively contribute towards a thriving economy, as well as support our creative community. I challenge shoppers to buy beautiful fashion that has been designed and made in our country this festive season. Some of our favourite local labels include Loin Cloth & Ashes, Michelle Ludek and Cheryl Arthur.

December is synonymous with relaxed and casual dressing, but having said that – if there is a dress code it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

2. Is the‘timeless’ LBD finally tired out? Or is there still room for it in our closets this festive season?

The amazing thing about the little black dress is that – while it is not always the answer to most fashion dilemmas – it is often the easiest solution. Somehow it makes the wearer just a little bit more chic; a little bit smarter; a little bit more confident in her own skin. Wear with anything from a flip flop to a sky-high patent leather stiletto.

Having said that, I urge ladies to start pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and start experimenting with bold colours and prints – it is the season to be playful, after all. Orange is the new black, so consider replacing your LBD with the ‘LOD’ – the little orange dress. This shade also looks great with a lightly (self!) tanned skin.

3. For those of us travelling this festive season: Is there a big difference between dress codes in Joburg and Cape Town?

The main difference between these two cities is the attitude. I know this is somewhat of a generalisation, but Capetonians tend to be a little more relaxed while Joburgers mean business. In either city – when in doubt – rather overdress than underdress (that means you too, Cape Town!)

4. What, in your opinion, is the one festive must-buy?

We, along with the rest of the fashion world, are obsessed with pattern – especially when you start combining patterns together. I know this is a little bit daunting, but the easiest way to achieve this look is to find a colour that is prevalent in both patterns and to combine them. Nothing is trendier than a woman wearing an African print skirt paired with a geometric print crop top; pushing the envelope just a little bit, but with a lot of confidence.

5. Can shoes be mixed and matched for different dress codes i.e. wearing pumps with a cocktail dress?

Kate Moss changed these rules forever – she once wore biker boots with a ballgown and since then dress codes have been subject to individual interpretation. Ultimately you should wear whatever makes you feel great, regardless of the occasion. But always make an effort.

…It’s like he is my tutor!


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