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Former queens remember designer Angelo

16 Mar 2023

Devastated by the news of the demise of  fashion designer Angelo Ambrou, former beauty queens and the fashion community remember him for his chic designs and impact on their lives.

Angelo called himself ‘the boy from Phikwe’ and those who were there at the beginning of his journey in Phikwe knew him as the man behind the Savvanah Creations by Angelo John brand.

His global acclaim came as the designer of the Miss Universe ball gown.

Angelo reportedly passed away following a severe asthma attack on the night of Saturday February 18 at his home in Cape Town, South Africa.

In an interview Miss Botswana 2006, Joyce Manase-Ntau said she was distraught when she heard of Angelo’s passing.

Her wardrobe at the Miss World competition was designed by Angelo John.

“I was Angelo’s debut on the international pageantry stage, almost all of my Miss World wardrobe was from Angelo and at that point he was a young 26-year-old designer operating from Selebi-Phikwe,” she said.

She said the late fashion designer‘s work was infinite and he was a designer with wisdom who had ideas about what the future would or could be like.

She said Angelo was concerned more with others’ needs and wishes than with his own.

Manase-Ntau said she was proud that the fashion gem made it to the international platform.

She said he had made his mark in his fashion career that he ended up being a top notch designer in New York for over 17 years before relocating to Cape Town.

Sharing Manase-Ntau’s sentiments  Mpule Kwelagobe remembers how everyone stopped to celebrate her and many spoke of how beautiful she looked in her yellow gown.

It was a double win for the country - that had hitherto been unknown, except maybe for diamonds or being apartheid South Africa’s neighbour; as another local; Selebi Phikwe-based, Fashion Designer, Angelo John Lambrou, who had designed the Cinderella dress, rose to fame.

After news broke that the fashion designer was no more, the former beauty queen sent out a heartfelt eulogy celebrating the life that immensely contributed to hers.

To Mpule, the late Angelo John was a beloved friend, brother and designer extraordinaire.

She said she came to know him when all finalists had travelled to Francistown and Selebi Phikwe for fashion shows to publicise the upcoming contest, revealing that all contestants modelled attires by Angelo John’s Savvanah Creations.

“Where do I begin to capture who Angelo was, what he meant to those of us who loved him and had been part of his brilliant journey?” she wondered.

She said she was heartbroken, adding that writing the eulogy to her beloved Angie was surreal.

One of Botswana’s local designers, Thabiso Dibeela said Angelo also inspired her to be what she is today.

Taking to her Facebook page, Thabiso described the late Angelo John Lambrou of Savannah Creations as simply mighty.

“… I learnt of your passing and hardly slept. For some reason I was thinking one day I am going to die too, but you Angelo was special, you were one of my life’s treasures,” she added.

She said it was only after Angelo designed Mpule Kwelagobe’s winning dress that she was able to convince her parents why she had to do a fashion degree.

Angelo Lambrou was born on April 1, 1969 in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) to Greek Cypriot parents.

He was educated in South Africa - including at the famed Leggats Academy of Design in Johannesburg.

He later attended the fashion programme at the Central St. Martins in London, which produced notable designers such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney. But for Angelo home was always Botswana, specifically Selebi Phikwe, where his parents had settled when Angelo was a boy.

Angelo recognised the Miss Universe win not only as a door to Mpule’s dreams, but to his own as well and so the two became best buddies.

He made the leap to New York City, in 2000, opening the first Angelo Lambrou Atelier on 96 East 7th Street on the lower eastside of Manhattan and would later move his atelier to 252W 38th Street in midtown Manhattan.

Angelo thrived in New York City and was featured in countless magazines and fashion dailies, showcased his designs during New York fashion week and other fashions shows.

But with all this success, Angelo remained the humble “boy from Selebi Phikwe”.  Ends


Source : BOPA

Author : Bakang Wren

Location : Gaborone

Event : Interview

Date : 16 Mar 2023