How to bling it like a rock-star politico

2010-02-21 09:27

IF you had asked any teenager 15 years ago if they wanted to be a

politician, chances are they would have laughed at you. But in 2010, youngsters

eagerly jump at the chance of joining the youth brigade of a political party –

it’s sexy. Simply put, politicians are the new kwaito stars.

Take the ruling party’s young ­lions: girls are tripping over their

high heels to be in their company. If she catches the eye of a young politician

or tenderprenuer, a girl could be set up in a Camps Bay or Sandton flat with a

drop-top Mini Cooper thrown in.

See, the nouveau riche are not afraid to throw their financial

weight around to impress the ladies and upstage their “friends”. All you have to

do is look at the lavish parties they frequently host and the clothes and

accessories they drape themselves in.

Greg Sadie owns Desch, an exclusive store that sells the latest

ranges of imported men’s clothing from the world’s most stylish fashion houses.

Desch says it’s a politician’s playground when it comes to imported

Italian fashion brands. “Many politicians come to the store because they know

they get VIP treatment while they shop.”

His clientele includes president Jacob Zuma, snappy dresser and ANC

Youth league president Julius Malema, trendsetter Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi –

remember his bling suit at the opening of Parliament last week – and even King

Goodwill Zwelithini.

“The king flew in just the other day to do a bit of shopping,

actually,” boasts Sadie.

Some of the politicians’ favourite brands include Eduard Dressler

and Giovanni Gentile (GG) for suits, while Roberto Botticelli is a favourite for

shoes. They prefer high quality wool, cotton, silk, linen or cashmere and, most

importantly, they have to be made to measure.

“They come into the store and I measure them for the suits and

tailor accordingly,” says Sadie.

At Desch, a GG suit costs between R12 000 and R15 000 while an

Eduard Dressler suit costs a whopping R29 000.

The silk cravats that Malema and presidential spokesperson Zizi

Kodwa are often seen wearing are R700 each, while a silk tie Tony ­Yengeni style

goes for R900.

“The ties and cravats are all handmade in Italy,” says Sadie.

As for the shirts, R1 800 to R3 000 will get you one made out of

pure cotton or silk.

Sadie adds that most of his politician clients shop at least two to

three times a year, or come to the store when new stock comes in.

“Ultimately, you need to have ­serious money to shop at Desch,”

says Sadie.

Another fashion favourite with stylish politicos like Kodwa is

­Fabiani, whose tailored suits ­retail for between R8 000 and R12 000. The

Fabiani store also stocks brands such as Prada and Armani.

And don’t forget the accessories?– Louis Vuitton and Gucci manbags

that retail for between R5 000 and R7 000, belts from R1 700 to R2 500,

unadorned sterling silver cufflinks for about R800 and watches that go up to

R300 000.

And then there are the celebrity-saturated parties at all the local

hotspots. Recently, Kodwa hosted four parties to celebrate his 40th birthday.

The first leg was in Joburg with two parties – one at the popular nightspot

Taboo in Sandton and the other a picnic on a Sunday.

As was expected, premium alcohol flowed at a staggering rate. At

Taboo, a magnum of Moët et Chandon costs R4 800 while a “less expensive” but

still select champagne will set you back R3 500 a bottle.

The fat cats also love their R400 cigars accompanied by a double

tot of Hennessy cognac at R150 a shot. That is, if they are not downing Johnnie

Walker Blue at R170 a shot.

Is it any wonder then that women are throwing themselves at the

feet of these fat cats, and that every other Tom, Jabu and Jaco wants to be in

the ­inner circle?

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