They came, they wore, they conquered

2010-02-24 00:00

LOCAL designers like Girlie Jula and Phumla Dlamini were paired up with international houses like Dior and Jimmy Choo at the opening of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature yesterday morning.

Although the stylish event’s theme was “black and white”, some in attendance took artistic licence and spruced up their monochromatic outfits with splashes of colour.

The Mchunu women opted for smooth green fabric. Mpume Mchunu’s floor-length green and black panel dress was designed specially for the occasion. The bold green stitching on the delicate black fabric was the work of local designer Wuantawi.

No detail was spared on Nonku Mchunu’s two-piece suit. The green Zion Design original boasted intricate frills. The detailed stitching was accented by strategic green sequins. “I love this piece,” she said. “And the colour is lively.”

Despite the high fashion and Western accessories like stilettos and diamante, tradition was the order of the day. Suit-clad VIPs made way for the elders and stopped their private conversations to greet each one.

Schoolchildren with South African flags lined the road to greet the attendees as they drove through the procession — complete with marching band and police contingent. But quick glimpses through the tinted black windows revealed MPLs applying a quick dab of lip gloss or fixing a feathered fascinator.

The haute couture worn by some was in sharp contrast to the traditional attire chosen by others.

Ntokazi Thusi and Dudu Mavimbela, both legislature employees, created their ensembles by collecting traditional pieces from Pietermaritzburg and Durban. They wore woven beads and traditional Zulu attire, which they described as “fitting for the opening of parliament”.

Amichand Rajbansi admitted his wife, Shabmeen Thakur-Rajbansi, was better at making fashion decisions; she put an Indian twist on the dress code by wearing an elegant black and white floral sari. “Being traditionalists, we thought we would wear traditional outfits,” she said. His outfit came from a home industry in India. “We support small industries,” he said, “be they in India or South Africa.”

Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatswayo commanded attention in her carefully assembled outfit. She wore a charcoal pleated skirt with a tailored black and white blazer. Her outfit was perfectly complemented by black patent slingback peeptoes and a matching patent bag.

Six policemen on motorbikes and an entourage of security heralded the arrival of King Goodwill Zwe­lithini and three of his wives.

Queens MaMchiza and KaMafu looked regal in cream and gold. Both wore pencil skirts teamed with matching crocodile-point stilettos. Their hats created an air of drama, with intricate design and feathers.

Dressed in his blue traditional suit with leopard- print detail, King Zwelithini stood to attention before a row of South African flags as the police marching band played the national anthem. He then proceeded into the auditorium to address the gathering.

Nobom Dube (above) sang Girlie Jula’s praises. Jula, a young, up-and-coming designer, created Dube’s outfit — a combination of pink silk and traditional fabric. ‘This girl is someone to look out for,’ Dube said.

Phumla Dlamini designed Lindiwe Bebee’s (left) black and white ensemble. She was black and white from top to toe, and teamed her local outfit with Prada glasses and matching earrings, which bore the unmistakable Chanel emblem. With Bebee is Mbali Fraser.

Rich Gal, the boutique of Geke Getsame (left), was a favourite place to shop. Winnie Zondi’s (right) dress was made by designer Aly, while her hat, bag (a gorgeous green Chanel) and shoes were all bought at Rich Gal. Getsame’s black and white outfit came from her boutique. She zooshed it up with Louis Vuitton sunglasses and a Jimmy Choo bag.

Suraya Ak (above) kept it classic in a creation by Julie N. Her outfit’s clean lines and perfectly tailored cut was in line with ‘the look of simplicity’ she said she hoped to achieve. She carried an animal print Jimmy Choo bag and wore Italian Fendi shoes. ‘All you need is Choo and Fendi,’ she said.

Not to be outdone by the ladies, Kwenza Sikhakhane (above) looked suave in a gleaming Armani suit, which he paired with a subtly-striped Gucci shirt.

Taki and Vusi Dube in co-ordinated cerise outfits. Taki admitted her husband chose her outfit in Kenya. ‘I’ve been really looking forward to it,’ she said. ‘But I had no idea what to wear. When I saw the outfit, I just knew it was the one for my wife,’ Vusi said. He wore a Begoza suit with an Armani tie.

Sonia Roopnarian couldn’t resist adding a French element to her embellished Indian punjabi by toting a multi-coloured Louis Vuitton bag. ‘It’s from the spring collection,’ she explained. ‘I chose it because of the colours.’




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