Wardrobe Insider: Cassie Snelgar

She’s an artist and architect, yes—but Cassie Snelgar has made her mark in countless other ways, too. From acting as a youth ambassador for SADAG, Africa’s largest mental health charity, and developing a website to help young people understand the dangers of mental health stigma, to founding both CASLAZUR, one of the very first ethically produced resort wear brands, and content site The X Cartel, this is a woman who means business.

Having recently returned to her roots by going back to her first love, painting—with an exhibition coming up at the end of the year—this multi-hyphenate who lives between between Hong Kong and London, exudes a femininity and confidence that, like her style icons Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner, seems effortless. Here, she talks to PAKT about following her granny’s advice, her love of anything high waisted and her favourite places to shop.

1) Describe your style in 3 words.

Nonchalant, nostalgic and comfortable. 

Photo: Jacques Weyers

2) What’s the most precious item in your wardrobe and why?

A vintage belt I was given by my granny. I am ruthlessly unsentimental about everything, except for clothes and jewellery. 

3) What is the best fashion advice you have received?

When I was younger my granny told me to always wear flats on a first date. I think she was worried I would be taller than whoever showed up! But I love the look and attitude of a low heel or flats, so it must have resonated with me on a deeper level. 

4) What’s your go-to outfit?

If I am in London or Hong Kong my go-to is high waisted vintage blue jeans and a crisp white T-shirt, paired with one of my favourite baskets and some Ferragamo Viva Ballet Flats. If I am back home in Cape Town, then I live in swimsuits and oversized, linen shirts tied at the waist.

Photo (Right): Jacques Weyers

5) What’s your personal style signifier?

High waisted everything!

6) Favourite piece you bought recently and why?

I recently rediscovered my Balenciaga sandals during a lockdown, where I had nothing better to do than organise my wardrobe. They are the perfect way to add a little glamour to my almost entirely, sparkle free wardrobe.

Photo: Jacques Weyers

7) If you were an item of clothing what would you be? 

A white T-shirt… Preferably one worn by James Dean. 

8) Who are your style icons?

Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardener in Mogambo. They all share understated femininity and confidence which seems so effortless. I love the romantic nostalgia of the era where the female form was shown in a way which didn’t feel forced or stereotyped in the way it can be these days.

Grace Kelly and Ava Gardener in Mogambo

9) Less or more?


Photo: Jacques Weyers

10) If you could have anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be and why?

If I could have the collective costume wardrobe of the old Bond girls that would be heaven. And while I’m at it, I would add the wardrobe of Deborah Raffin from the 1980’s miniseries Noble House. If you haven’t seen it I would drop everything and binge watch it immediately. Debora Raffin is perfect in head to toe Chanel.

John Rhys-Davies and Deborah Raffin in Noble House

11) Where do you love to shop?

As far as cities go, I Iove to shop in Paris. And as for shops, I would say every girl has to do a trip to the original Chanel store on Rue Cambon at least once in her life!

12) What is a must-have clothing item everyone must own?

High waisted vintage blue jeans. Non-stretch is non-negotiable.

13) If a museum asked you to donate one item from your wardrobe that represented you what would it be?

Probably a hand-beaded top from the first collection I made for my ethical resort wear label CASLAZUR.

Photo: Michael Snelgar

14) What will we never find in your wardrobe?

Anything sparkly. I love it on other people, but it makes me feel too self-conscious. I save the sparkles for my shoe closet.

15) What’s your number one fashion rule?

Be authentic to yourself at all times. If you love something and wearing it makes you happy, then wear it! And don’t save things for special occasions, wear the stuff you love as often as you can.

Photo: Jacques Weyers

16) What is your dream project?

To paint a massive mural in one of Kelly Wearstler’s fabulous hotels.

Kelly Wearstler designed the Santa Monica Proper Hotel

17) Dream collaborator?

Architect Bjarke Ingels. He is a genius conceptual thinker. As an architect turned artist I feel like spending time with anyone who is capable of that level of creative thinking would be incredibly inspiring and open my mind to new ways of approaching every creative output in my life.

18) Top 3 accounts to follow on social media.

Ooooh that’s a tough one! I love Barry’s Banter Bus for the lols. Noa Santos for interior inspiration. And Trevor Stuurman for his off the charts creativity and original aesthetic.

Left: Noa Santos | Right: Trevor Stuurman

19) Favourite fashion apps? 

I don’t have any! I am on a massive digital detox and feel amazing for it. So in lieu of that, if you are looking for fashion inspiration I would say watch old movies, and explore old vintage stores to find some unique pieces. 

20) Where were the last three places you travelled to and what are the can’t miss shops?

Tokyo where I love to explore the boutiques around Aoyama. There is one store called Maison Special which does the softest jerseys in the prettiest colours. I stock up whenever I am there.

Maison Special in Tokyo

There are also some stunning boutiques around Omotesando. If you are in the area make sure to get a coffee from Koffee Mameya. They have turned coffee into an art form and it is the best way to fuel some serious shopping.

Koffee Mameya in Tokyo

In Paris I love to visit Saint Laurent Rive Droite in the former Colette store. An uber stylish mix of concepts and collaborations where you can immerse yourself in this brainchild of Anthony Vaccarello. Whether buying a book, some furniture or even a YSL condom.

Saint Laurent Rive Droite

Anywhere in Botswana for the beautiful handwoven baskets made by the local communities. The creativity and ingenuity with which they weave their homewares and accessories is always so inspiring to me.