Is your outfit on track?

2011-06-18 08:16

A right royal affair.

That’s the theme of this year’s Durban July fashion and, as we all know, these horse-racing events come up with the most ­bizarre phrases to describe their ­oft-obscure themes.

Most of them leave a lot of room for interpretation which, while that might be exciting, also leaves a lot of room for serious fashion faux pas.

This year’s Durban horse-racing and fashion extravaganza takes place on July 2, which is barely two weeks away. In a panic yet?

Well, that’s why there are experts to help the rest of us navigate this year’s cryptic theme so that you don’t turn up at the event looking like Princess Fiona’s younger sister.

This year, the July people have invited eight designers to showcase their idea of the theme at the event.

This means we should trust them to have an idea about how to go about dressing for the royal affair.

“The idea is not to pitch up looking like a reject costume from a Shakespeare play,” advises Tiffany Prior, the fashion programme director for the event.

She says the whole theme is about luxury and style.

“Feel free to look at historical royal references and interpret them in a modern way.

Just remember that hats are important for both men and women, and try not dress in cocktail wear.

Rather do a sophisticated and elegant dressy look without doing the obvious,” says Prior.

“Always think outside the box, especially if you want to be considered for the fashion prizes,” she says.

And come to think of it, “royal ­affair” doesn’t necessarily mean king, queen, prince or princess.

There are other players in royal courts, like the court jester, the handmaiden, lady-in- waiting and royal advisers.

Plus, there are many ­different cultures with royalty. Zulu royalty, to state the obvious.

Find one that makes you feel comfortable and work it. Here are tips from designers who will showcase their royal-themed collections at the July.

Kathrin Kidger believes this year’s theme is in keeping with current ­affairs.

“It’s clever, it’s cute and there is a lot of scope for spectators and fashion participants.”

She says her collection is inspired by the role colour plays in royal tradition.

“My great grandmother was an English milliner so I have chosen to home in on the concept of traditional English royal design. I like the concept of weaving aspects of royal ­pursuits into the styling.”

Some of her tips are:

» Keep it simple. Just accessorise what you already have with a brooch, fascinator or pearls.

» Wear a statement piece. Costume jewellery can go a long way in creating that Wow! factor.

» It’s a long day. Make sure you are relatively comfortable.

» Wear a hat, they lend themselves perfectly to this year’s theme.

» Have fun with the brief. It’s amazing how putting a little bit of thought into what you are wearing can become a point of conversation.

Another designer, Sibu Msimang, says she looks forward to seeing many outfits worthy of the red ­carpet – except for tiaras, which she believes are a fashion faux pas.

Her idea of this theme is “very elaborate design; something that ­definitely stands out; luxurious ­fabrics”.

For her showstopper, Msimang says: “I intend to use the traditional Venda outfit.

I suspect we will be seeing a lot of rich colours like ­purples, greens and reds. I will be using fabrics like tulle and organza to create texture.

For tips, Msimang says:

»?No tutu skirts.

»?No bikini tops.

»?If you are fuller figured, please don’t wear your outfit too tight and too short.

»?Dress appropriately for your shape and age.

»?Colour, colour and more ­colour.

Karen Monk-Klijnstra, who is a ­regular on the fashion week ramps, says her collection will be “regal chaos, defiant duty, punkish princess”.

About the theme, she says “It sends the imagination into the stratosphere!

It’s about passion, religion, king and country, loyalty, royalty, intrigue and deception.

It’s about ‘supposed’ protocol or the defiance thereof. I picture excessive detail, explosive colour and rebellion!”

She advises fashionistas to steer clear of tradition and take a tongue-in-cheek approach.

“With the wedding in Monaco (of Prince Albert and SA Olympian Charlene Wittstock) ­approaching and the other royal ­wedding past, the most impressive outfits were those that had strong lines and bold statements.

I think ­accessories should be dramatic and daring, yet free of frivolity, well ­considered and worn with authority!”

Her tips include:

» Strong clear jewel colours worn with a twist. Try not to wear “sensible” colours

» Avoid nonsensical style. It’s about a strong statement. Make it, unless you aim to be the court jester!!

» Tailored edgy, fitted silhouettes and fine fabrics like silks and velvet “show breeding”, work it, work it!

» Fine details and finish will give you the edge, be dramatic in your selection.

» So many characters make up a royal affair. Focus on one and follow through from head to toe, ensuring you make your stamp there!

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