Fashion pack play the glamour game

2009-07-06 00:00

THERE were kings and queens, chequerboards, dice, decks of cards and even a dartboard. This was not a scene from Alice in Wonderland brought to life, but rather one of South Africa’s glitziest sporting events — the Vodacom Durban July.

From the early hours of Saturday morning, punters flocked to the 113th running of the annual race at Greyville Racecourse in Durban.

Many were dressed to the nines,

Vehicles drove past the racecourse with passengers wearing outlandish headgear — some bearing massive feathers in various colours — sticking out of the windows. This was a mere foretaste of what was to be found behind the green entrance gates.

When the gates opened, there was a mad scramble to get to the track where the country’s top designers — and a few novices — showed off their creations drawing on the theme for 2009, “the games we play”.

Many fashionistas tried to recreate the characters of childhood games. Others took it upon themselves to become the games.

Liz-Marie Kronjé (18) wore a chessboard for a belt. Her black and white frilly check dress, which also bore patterns of chess pieces, was designed by her mother.

“These are all my pawns and I am the queen,” she said with a laugh.

Another first-time designer, Kimosha Ganas, strutting up and down the track with her sister, Tashika, looked gorgeous in body-hugging frocks. “The one I’m wearing is inspired by the casinos and the money used to play there,” she explained.

“My sister’s dress is based on a deck of cards. The theme is ‘the games we play’,” she said before Tashika interrupted, “And I’m a player!”

Some of the more extravagant designs came from Durban-based fashion designer Kevin Ellis, who dressed as a matador. “This outfit was inspired by bullfighting,” he said.

Ellis said it took him three-and-a-half weeks to finish all of his creations, which draw inspiration from game-hunting, chess and horseracing.

Cashiers and punters, also made a fashion statement, with queen of hearts brooches and red and black check handbags.

Even the horses were stylish, with the hair trimmed in longer and short check — others opted for triangles.

“They’re so beautiful,” said Gill Simpkins, public relations manager for the event. “Some of them even look better then the people on the track. Some even come through with glitter on their bums.”

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