Superella by Ella Buter is made up of whimsical and playful designs, which are underpinned by thoughtful design elements. Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer inspired the name of her label, Superella because clothes are the one thing that can change who you are.
A characteristic feature of a Superella garment is that it isn’t one garment; it can be transformed into any number of styles by a simple fold, adding another layer, or tying it in some clever way.
Inspired by Tom Waites’ classic ‘Young at Heart’, Superella’s 2009 Winter Collection was shown on deliberately selected ‘non-models’ between the ages of 50 and 82. The look featured in our 21 YEARS exhibition brings together a triangle wedge of rami linen with a divided bodice to make a clumsy dress look.
Buter states: “I don’t see myself as a fashion designer. I am a maker of clothes and only partially a designer. I make clothes for people to buy and wear, not for models and hangers”. She further states: “Comfort is everything to me. I make clothes for normal days, not special days. We all must get dressed in the morning and I want to make that easier for my clients”.
Ella Buter’s mother made her children’s clothes and, as teenagers, they were each give a sewing machine, so her clothes budget went on finding fabric and making the dresses she wanted but couldn’t find anywhere. She initially became a display artist before winning an Elle-Lisof bursary to study fashion at Lisof in 1999.
Superella’s Winter ’08 design is featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, 21 YEARS: Making Histories with South African Fashion Week (2018 – 2019).