By Guest Blogger STEFANIE COYOTE.
Summer is just a few weeks away, but even in summer, a girl needs a warm coat or shawl to wrap herself in -- whether running errands around town or sitting on the dock of the Bay or beachside watching a beautiful sunset or sunrise.
Nothing refers to "cozy and warm" more than a blanket. My first attachment to a blanket was a Pendleton wool blanket. The blanket was a design that originally gifted to President Harding by Native American tribal chiefs. I threw it over me on cold wintery nights to watch TV. It still lives on my den sofa continuing to provide warmth and beauty.
Peoples from around the globe have donned blankets to stay warm wrapping themselves and their infants up in their native version. Blankets were weaved not only for warmth, but also reflected the status of the wearer and designs were reserved such as Native American Chiefs blankets.
Last Fall (FW 14), that age-old concept was beautifully and stylishly resurrected. Most notable was when designer Christopher Bailey reached back into Burberry’s archives and brought the new capes and coats to the AW runway. Now the “latest” style, examples can be seen by Chloe, Prabal Garung, DKNY and Isabelle Marant.
The South African version of this current trend is captured beautifully and elegantly by Lesotho-born designer, Thabo Makhetha. Ethnic Luxe has selected a variety of styles, the O.C. Cape, Circle Cape and the Starburst coat from her Kobo Collection. These are made from very distinctive blankets. Ms. Makhetha has taken the traditional African tribal blanket design, woolen Basotho blankets and turned them into a fashion statement. Using the blankets, worn by the King and Queen of Lesotho, Thabo has created designs that blend style and ease, producing stunning and sophisticated capes and coats.
The word khotso means “peace” in the Basotho language and these blankets were used as a peace offering by the Basotho people to the Xhoso people when they moved into Lesotho. Khotso blankets can be identified by the unique repetitive designs using crowns and corns, or aces and diamonds such as those that are found on playing cards.
Founded in 2009, the Thabo Maketha label has garnered international attention a result of Ms Makhetha’s creativity, innovative utilization of traditional cultural materials and heritage-inspired designs. Named as one of House and Leisure Magazine’s Top 51 Rising Stars of South African Design, she has also been featured in Marie Claire, Elle Décor’s SA magazines and a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal by Devon Maylie. Elle SA magazine’s editor-in-chief wore Ms. Makhetha’s shoulder cape to the Louis Vuitton Paris fashion show last year.
I subscribe to Ms. Maketha’s philosophy, “Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. Don’t be limited by your clothing design.” Or your clothing designer. This is one to incorporate into your wardrobe.