Parliament’s crimes against fashion

2010-02-14 11:51

THERE are not enough jail cells in Cape Town to accommodate the

fashion criminals who prowled the cobbled streets of ­Parliament on Thursday


Politicians are generally not famous for their fabulous fashion

sense, and as heart-warming as it was to see that most MPs tried to raise the

fashion bar, it was just too painful to watch them negotiate their way through

the cobblestoned streets of the big house.

The most cringeworthy sight had to be the big mama MPs who had

squeezed their swollen feet into dainty, strappy ­sandals with high heels. These

ladies literally ­tiptoed their way into Parly with pained expressions that not

even the flash of a camera could erase. The men, on the other hand, either tried

too hard or didn’t bother at all.

Case in point: IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi versus Deputy Police

Minister Fikile Mbalula. The Zulu chief’s elaborate black suit left me grateful

that I was ­wearing sunglasses at night. Never ­before had I encountered that

kind of fabric; a sort of heavy brocade dipped in a child’s glitter pot.

A point

to Buthelezi for trying, though – the polka-dot bow tie was a nice touch, but

next time the glitter should be left to his grandchildren to play with.

Mbalula, on the other hand, epitomised bachelor-from-the-sticks

mess. Considering he is a married kasi boy, his outfit left a whole lot of

people needing botox after long frowns of confusion.

The man looked like he had borrowed his suit from an ­older friend

and picked a tie his grandfather might have worn to a job interview back in the

day. Everything was just ugly and ill-fitting.

The always debonair Tony Yengeni’s disturbingly shiny bald head

took all the attention away from his dapper but safe suit. And Juju Baby looked

dapper in a black suit and polka dot mix on his shirt, cravat and suit hanky.

Great improvement from the taxi-boss leather jackets!

The Fashion-Risk-Taker Award has to go to the DA’s shadow minister

of home affairs, Juanita Terblanche. She and her husband, butterfly collector

Reinier, turned heads in their matching gold David Tlale outfits, straight off

the ramp from his recent Audi Joburg Fashion Week ­collection. The gold-disk

full-length dress sported exaggerated shoulders and tassels, while the gold suit

was accessorised with a bib-style cloth meant to resemble a cravat. Very fashion

forward, definitely red carpet, but oh-so-Oscars instead of Parly opening!

After the flak she received last year for her Kaapse Klopse suit,

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille kept things safe in a simple red

satin dress under a coat with matching red flower motif.

But Helen Zille refused to go the muted route. The Cape Town

premier and leader of the DA looked beautiful in a red evening dress with a

form-fitting bodice and full skirt embellished with a tartan pattern on the

shoulders and skirt, and a matching clutch. Her dangly earrings were beautiful,

but she should have lost the twisty necklace.

Another MP who was not afraid of colour was Home Affairs Minister

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. She went for a full-length fuschia skirt with matching

mandarin ­collar coat with a black lace overlay.

She coyly said she’d designed the outfit herself. Oh really?

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor’s sensible brown

shoes with her acid green skirt and jacket combo was – to be diplomatic – very

unflattering. At least First Lady MaKhumalo’s flats were a shimmery gold with

rhinestones matching her turquoise-and-gold skirt and jacket combo. Take note,

big mamas!

All in all, the fashion was a mixed bag this year, but it is

definitely improving. Now if only the same could be said of ­President Jacob

Zuma’s speech delivery.

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