The Socialite paid a visit to Durban fashion designer Sanolia Naidoo to talk fashion and style and takes a peek at her gorgeous range Cocktail.
How and why did you get involved in fashion design?
I actually studied BCom Marketing/Management/Economics and haven’t had any formal training in design. Everything I have learnt has been through observation, practical hands-on experience and research. As a child I was raised by a mother with impeccable taste and so my love for fashion developed. After offering fashion advice and clothing to friends and family members, I decided to start my own label and Cocktail was born. I wanted people to be able to have a ‘peek in my closet’ and own a piece from my label that would hopefully bring them much joy. I am extremely blessed that I am able to live my dream through my label.
Tell us a bit about your label?
Cocktail is designed for any and every woman. Not necessarily just the young, but also the young at heart. My typical customer is normally quite feminine. Through Cocktail, I try to express my love for unique fabrics and quality. Most Cocktail garments are not heavily embellished and so most of my garments can be worn from one season to the next by incorporating layering or accessories.
How did the name for your label come about?
When I started the label, many names were considered, but eventually I decided on ‘Cocktail’. My mum actually came up with the name and as I am often asked, Cocktail is not named after an alcoholic beverage. It represents a blend of my love for fashion and my personality to give the customer a unique end product that usually brings a smile to the new owner.
What inspires your designs?
Each collection is inspired mostly by day to day life experiences that I encounter. I do gather a lot of inspiration from travelling and experiencing different cultures and ways of life. I always take my customer into consideration whilst designing. Their needs and wants are very important to me ,as are trends for each season.
Who would you nominate as the hottest designer worldwide right now and why?
I really have to stay true to one of my biggest design influences of all time and that is Diane Von Furstenburg. Her designs are so feminine and truly embraces the modern day woman’s body and lifestyle whilst still remaining current, something i strive to do with my own label. She is one of my all time favourite international designers by far.
Your latest fashion splurge?
One of my biggest weaknesses are shoes and my favourite store being the Nine West store at Gateway. I recently spent an absurd amount of money of a pair of black snakeskin concealed peep toe platforms. They are so beautiful and comfortable, it was definitely worth every cent.
How would you describe your look?
Cocktail is quite a lady-like brand and so is my personal style. I do like layering and dresses. I collect dresses, I really believe that a woman looks best in a well cut dress. I also really love accessories and probably own far too many (Laughs).
I cringe when I think of having bought?
This is not a tough one! I will openly admit that I didn’t have the best sense of style back in high school and on a shopping trip I decided to buy a pair of powder blue stretch pants. Wow. Terrible mistake! One that I have definitely learnt from though.
Favourite local designer?
I really love Anisa Mpungwe, I think she is extremely talented and her pieces feel very inspired. I do own quite a few of her pieces from her ‘Project’ collection at Mr Price, and they are definitely favourites in my wardrobe. I do also have to add in that I am a big Gavin Rajah fan.
What should every woman have in her wardrobe?
A well cut black dress, a printed silk scarf, a structured black coat, a pair of ‘go to’ heels that can pull just about any outfit together is a must. I also believe a structured tan leather bag and a pair of flat neutral gladiators teamed with a statement necklace are hot this season.