To celebrate 50 years of edgy beauty, YSL Beauté asked 8 local South African designers to interpret one of the new Yves Saint Laurent Couture Eye Palettes (which in turn each celebrate iconic moments in the history of the YSL brand) to create a garment. I love that – beauty inspiring fashion.

I had the opportunity to interview the talented (and super cool) Thula Sindi. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Thula Sindi brand, it is the ultimate brand of apparel that is delicately made, exquisite and timeless. Targeted at the modern, sophisticated woman who loves quality but knows that quality doesn’t have to break her bank.

Thula Sindi was given the No 3 Afrique Palette to draw inspiration from. Think a fiery sun and the gleam of twilight over the savannah, sacred dust echoed in safari tones. Five shades celebreate all the exotic wonders of Yves Saint Laurent, five invitations to faraway places, under the sun.

YSL New COUTURE PALETTE n°3_Afrique (interpreted by Thula Sindi)

The palette is a 5 colour ready to wear palette, containing colours that are long-wearing and crease-proof. The formula includes a high concentration of pearls and pigments and a network of transparent powders that result in a long-lasting complex for optimal hold. This smooth even blend finish is crease resistant for up to 12-hour hold. The result is pure, intense colour.

The Afrique palette, as well as Yves Saint Laurent’s own story, is inextricably linked with the African continent. Saint Laurent was born in Oran, Algeria, in 1936. Morocco had a major influence on his work and the colours he used – he travelled to Marrakech twice a year to design his haute couture collections. In 1967 he launched his “African” Couture Collection, which was inspired by primitive African art, amongst other things. Some dresses were elaborately embroidered with 20 types of beads including sea shells, wooden beads, and animal-teeth-shaped beads, which had rarely been used for Haute Couture before, as well as several sorts of colored threads. Coming full circle, Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered in the Majorelle Gardens of his home in Marrakech.

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The soft earthy pastels of the Africa Palette provided perfect inspiration for a dress that embodies the simplicity and sophistication of the Thula Sindi brand. With the dynamic movement of the fringe which echoes the creations of Yves Saint Laurent and the beauty of Africa which captured his heart and became part of the YSL design legacy.

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Thula Sindi image

You never quite fully appreciate the final garment, until you have been through the creative process, as was my case. Read on for my interview with Thula Sindi…

How did you select the materials you used?

I thought of the modern woman when creating this garment, someone who is empowered sophisticated and knows what she wants. I chose a big industrial zip for ease (not everyone lives with someone or has a helper to help them to get dressed in the mornings) which is easy to zip up. I went with modern wearability, glam and ease.

Were the materials difficult to work with?

The fringe was difficult to work with – it was like hair and quite unruly! It took 3 days to perfect and was made from carpeting, a wool blanket and a nylon blanket. The dress itself consists of 7 parts which had to be assembled in perfect order.

How would you describe the overall aesthetic?

Sleek, modern, afro touch, ready to hit the town!

Did you enjoy the brief and collaborating with YSL Beauté?

I did! It’s great to see your finished product through other peoples’ eyes. It was fun.

Was creating the dress challenging?

It was challenging in a good way. The YSL label is incredibly inspiring.

Who is your dream client?

Jennifer Lopez because she loves clothes. She always looks fashionable and well put together. I would also love to dress Oprah – she looks like she could be quite cheeky but loyal.

What is your favourite quality in a woman?

Confidence. I think it leads to being decisive. I love a woman who knows what she wants. I’d rather have someone tell me what she likes and doesn’t like instead of me having to figure it out.