Think long wavy hair, sophisticated high buns, extravagant jewellery and bright red lipstick. The flamboyance of Bollywood meets the sultriness of old Hollywood and the snazziness of Nollywood.
South African fashion gurus have different interpretations of this year’s theme “The Big Screen”, but one thing they all agree on is that it requires creations that are larger than life.
“The Durban July is not the event for you to play it safe,” says designer Gert Johan Coetzee.
“Embrace the theme and let your inner star come out to play.”
Coetzee has been creating garments for many celebrities who will be attending the event this year and has decided to draw inspiration from old-school Hollywood glamour, such as that showcased by stars such as Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor.
“I love how this theme can be interpreted in so many ways – from full-on glamour to Disney to everything in between. Everybody can find a look which resonates with this theme,” Coetzee says.
“Even though this theme allows for over-the-top fashion, it’s important to avoid looking like you are wearing a costume,” advises celebrity stylist Nthato Mashishi.
“As much as what we are referencing the forties and fifties, it’s important for your look to be fashion-forward and not look dated. A Durban July outfit must have drama. But you should be careful. Wearing an over-the-top dress and a big hat or hairstyle is the simplest way to make your outfit look ridiculous. If the outfit is busy, the hair should be simple.”
Fashion designer Asanda Madyibi agrees.
“This theme is minimalist but loud at the same time,” she says.
“For me the perfect dress for a woman on this occasion is long and elegant. A simple dress can also give drama without being too over the top.”
For Madyibi, accessories can make or break an outfit.
“If you’re wearing a simple dress, you need to get some kind of gimmick. This can be an interesting neck-piece or a hair accessory. Give people something to look at.”
For those who want to look expensive with a very tight budget, there is help. “The glamorous look doesn’t have to be expensive,” says Mashishi.
“Chinatown has a wide variety of jewellery and hats – look around for a few items to spice up your look.”
No outfit is complete without the right make-up.
“Add a bit of drama to your eyes by using liquid eyeliner to create the winged looked on your eyelid,” says Mashishi.
“Other than defined eyes, the make-up shouldn’t look too exaggerated. Avoid glossy lipstick as it could smudge. Rather opt for the matte alternative. The trick is to have a fresh look during the day that won’t look tired in the evening.
“When it comes to the hair, look for the classic old Hollywood hairstyle online and ask your hairstylist to achieve the look for you. You can’t go wrong with a big bun and a side path.”