Hylton Nel’s colossal cats spin on Dior’s catwalk


Hylton Nel’s colossal cats spin on Dior’s catwalk

This week, the Fomolistas also have a thing for spritzes, saying no, and the wisdom of Anaïs Nin.

  • 28 June 2024
  • Lifestyle
  • 5 min to read
  • article 14 of 17

What you want to know this week

Hylton Nel's monumental cats star in Dior's 2025 men's summer collection in Paris

Giant ceramic cats made by renowned Calitzdorp artist Hylton Nel were the inspiration for designer and art collector Kim Jones' new men's range for the House of Dior, launched in Paris last week. (Jones owns the world's largest collection of Virginia Woolf books and letters, as well as numerous Francis Bacon and Andy Warhol works).

Nel is known for his plates, pots, figures and flowerpots, usually with line sketches and satirical texts reminiscent of the Bloomsbury group.

It was a big moment when the show opened and the row of male models, dwarfed by the six colossal Nel cats on the catwalk, made their first appearance. The collection has a strong South African identity with colours such as mud brown, plum red and khaki, and hats crocheted in the technique of the Cape design studio Earth Age. The models looked like farm kids coming down the road, in vellies and long socks. Plaasjapie meets Paris; one with a ceramic cat on the arm and others with Nel's cursive, childlike handwriting drawn on sweaters and shirts.

His message for the occasion: “Dior for my real friends," which tongue-in-cheek alludes to Bacon's bon mot: “Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends."

♦ Nel has an exhibition at Stevenson Cape Town in Woodstock from June 29 to August 10.

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And that's not the only news from the House of Dior. Fragrance nerds, this one is for you:

Miss Dior, a perfume that has remained at the forefront of fashion since its release 80 years ago, is getting an exhibition at the Roppongi Museum in Tokyo titled Miss Dior, Stories of a Miss. Christian Dior introduced the scent in 1947, shortly after he debuted the New Look after World War 2. The exhibition will trace the history of the fragrance from the beginning to the recent reinterpretation by Francis Kurkdjian, Dior’s perfume creation director.

The story of Swarte Maria

She was one of the biggest entrepreneurs and real estate tycoons in the Cape who once owned all the land in Camps Bay.


#1 Elderflower cordial is the key ingredient in the so-called Hugo Spritz (see more info and recipe below). Fairview Deli (there's an online shop, too) makes an excellent local version for R77. Be aware of the difference between elderflower cordials, which are more complex and include sugar, acids, salt and multiple flavours.

#2 Martini Prosecco spritz is an affordable prosecco for spritzes — R99 a bottle and widely available in bottle stores.

#3 An excellent transcription app. We have tried many but Listen411.com is the best so far. Upload any sound file and have your transcript in your inbox within a minute. Best of all, no subscription is required. Simply pay as you go. And the fees are incredibly reasonable — $1 a file and $0.06 a minute. Sometimes, you need the ear and expertise of a manual transcriber, but if you just need a straightforward transcript, this is an excellent option.

Spinach nation

Rather than a green juice, try a spinach smoothie.

Put a handful of spinach leaves, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a banana and a cup of coconut water or almond milk into a food processor. Pep it up with a little honey if you have a sweet tooth.

The Hugo Spritz is boss

In their book Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau draw inspiration from the lighter side of the cocktail spectrum. 

Travelling along the unofficial “spritz trail” of northern Italy, from Venice to Milan to Turin, the authors describe how the spritz — a combination of three parts prosecco, two parts bitter liqueur, such as Aperol or Campari, and one part soda — changes from city to city.

But then there is the Hugo Spritz, popular in the South Tyrol province of northern Italy amid the Dolomite mountain range, where the cocktail isn’t made with a bitter aperitif but an elderflower cordial. It has an entirely different flavour profile from its bitter cousins and is less alcoholic, too.

Make it! 

Stretch in bed

Easy stretching exercises to do in bed in the morning.

Headband hack

 Nice ways to say no

  • Sounds nice, but I’m not available.
  • I’m honoured that you asked me, but I can’t do it.
  • I’m sorry, but I can’t help you at this time.
  • I’m not available at the moment, but maybe next time.
  • Unfortunately this is not something I can do right now.
  • I appreciate your asking, but I can’t commit to that now.
  • Sorry, I can’t make it, maybe next time.

And we loved this from Jonathan Amid:

“My new excuse for going home is, ‘I think I’ve had as much fun as I can have here'.”

Last word

Quote of the week

Wise words from Anaïs Nin 

  1.  Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
  2. We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.
  3. Age does not protect you from love.
  4. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.
  5. I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.
  6. Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds, it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
  7. Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.
  8. Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
  9. I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
  10. Love follows no rules, and she found it best when she broke them all.
  11. People living deeply have no fear of death.

Video of the week

Listen to Miriam Makeba's Qongqothwane, also known as The Click Song, once more.

♦ VWB ♦

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