Noma Gigaba, wife and “best friend” of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, drew gasps on the red carpet before the opening of Parliament this week with a nude and white custom-made dress designed by Gert-Johan Coetzee.
She was one of the best dressed women at the event, but the red carpet princess wouldn’t say so herself.
“I just wanted to look angelic. The inspiration behind my dress was transparent glamour showing my sexy, sensual side, but in a very respectable way. It’s about showcasing feminity and power,” she told City Press on Friday.
When asked what inspired her look, she said she watched international fashion TV channels and they always helped her put together an outfit.
Coetzee hints that dressing a minister’s wife can be a tricky exercise.
Noma opted for a “transparent glamorous look, showing off the illusion of skin through the fabric”, Coetzee said. “But we still wanted her to look respectful as a minister’s wife.”
Although it may look like Gigaba was flashing lots of flesh, the dress was in fact lined with fabric that was the exact tone of her skin.
During past state of the nation red carpet walks, Gigaba has rocked plenty of colour. Last year, she used metallics – a bronze and gold gown with a long train.
“This year, I told myself I didn’t want any colour. I just wanted to keep it simple, but still look classy and elegant. I just opted for a clean look and I didn’t know it would come out so nicely,” she grinned.
She and Coetzee have been working on her outfit since last year.
“Noma is a pro. It’s a pleasure working with her and it shows in the final product,” Coetzee said.
She is similarly gushy about him: “Gert is very professional and he respects his work. It doesn’t matter who you are, he treats all his clients the same.”
Gigaba said she always made a big effort to look good no matter where she was going – whether to Parliament or a wedding.
“I don’t want to wear something that is trending; I always want to look different and unique,” she said.
So, did she help dress her husband, one of the best dressed men in attendance in his tailored navy suit by Durban-based boutique Image Collezion?
“I advised him to wear something black or navy. I told him not to wear brown because it was going to look too similar to my outfit,” she said.
She only saw what he was going to wear for the first time on Thursday.
Although her marriage has been through trials and tribulations, she said she and Malusi were doing well.
“My marriage is still fine and life is good. But Malusi is busy of late; he’s studying and work has been keeping him busy. We support each other because we are both working and studying,” she said. “When we both have time, we chill. Malusi is skhokho sam’ [He’s my best friend].”
She has a lot on her plate – she’s a business owner, a postgraduate student at Henley Business School and a mother of two.
But, despite the busy schedule, she still takes some time out for herself.
“The only thing I have is time for me. I have time to shop, do my hair and nails no matter how busy I am. I don’t want to forget myself; I don’t want myself to come last,” she said.
She also tries to make time to do community work, especially work that benefits women.
Tomorrow, she will join eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to hand out sanitary towels to schoolgirls. Another project close to her heart is building shaded areas where children can find shelter from the heat at schools. The Noma Gigaba Foundation is also compiling and publishing study guides for pupils who cannot afford to buy textbooks.
“I just love changing people’s lives,” she said.