The first Metropolitan Mile (Met) was run back in 1883, but 2017 marked another important first for the event. Hotel group Sun International took over the Met reins last year – and all eyes were on the inaugural meeting at the weekend to deliver a fresh take on the esteemed horse race.
As it turns out, a fresh lick of paint seems to have revived the race. Near-perfect execution ensured unrivalled glamour, high stakes and the best parties as Cape Town rolled out the red carpet for celebs, horse racing enthusiasts, fashionistas and revellers on Saturday.
A cornerstone of any Met event is promoting and providing a platform for emerging local designers.
This year, except for wearing haute couture, the day also presented a platform for the best dressed couples to show off unique designs. This year’s bestdressed couple was Abongwe Qokela in a layered Merwe Mode dress and a feathered hat by Crystal Birch. Deeva van der Merwe from Merwe Mode has been leaving an impressive stamp on the fashion world. The street fashion label from Cape Town has been providing unrivalled fashion looks for men and women.
A number of fashion and beauty bloggers, as well as influencers, were also on the prowl on the day, promoting fresh brands.
It wouldn’t be the Met without the best and worst celebrity looks.
This year the theme was Decades of Glamour, which provided ample wiggle room to throw together looks from different eras. Here are some of the best and worst looks from the day. Amanda du Pont looked radiant in a floral Anel Botha Couture sweetheart neckline dress, paired with a behemoth sun hat.
It was a simple elegant look, perfect for a day under the bright sun. Inspired by the theme, Thando Thabete channelled her inner disco diva in a green sequin suit and jacket by Quitera George.
The look not only reminded you of a glam night out in the ’70s, but showed off “Thabooty’s” best assets. Poor Liezl van der Westhuisen had a miss with a disastrous ’60sinspired purple outfit with unflattering fur shoulders and cuffs. She also added the fur to her sneakers.
The look was created by Fedisa Cape Town, a fashion design learning institution. Perhaps go off the rack next time Liezl? Basetsana Khumalo served up an equally disastrous look with a salmon-lace baby doll dress, paired with a terribly topheavy floral design sun hat.
The unflattering combo did nothing for the media mogul, who usually looks undeniably chic. Mom and fashion queen LeeAnn Liebenberg broke all the rules with a gold dress by Warrick Gautier.
The dress features a milelong train with thigh-high slits on the side, a glamorously sexy look for the inaugural Sun Met. Former Miss South Africa Cindy Nell opted for a sophisticated red Gabriel Fraser design.
Paired with a red hat, the flawless look again proved that sultry red steals the show every time. Olympian Chad le Clos was there in a sleek navy blue suit, paired with a skinny tie. It’s a simple, understated look that helped the golden boy look incredibly sauve. Speaking about suave, style icon Maps Maponyane delivered two looks on the day, but it was his Prada look with natural tones such as grey, beige, brown and camel that really set the bar high.
He also opted to pull off the look without a belt. Casper Bosman was one of the featured designers on the day and dressed a number of guests inspired by fashions through the decades. Bosman has become a favourite in South Africa and around the world since dressing Rolene Strauss for the 2014 Miss World pageant.
He is again taking on the global stage this year, having dressed Miss Namibia Lizelle Esterhuizen for the Miss Universe pageant.
The Met is not only a place for racing and fashion, many businessmen and women take the opportunity to connect with likeminded individuals.
Here are just some who attended the Sun Met: Johannesburg executive mayor Herman Mashaba; Radio host and Data Must Fall provocateur Tbo Touch; Gerry Elsdon; and Shashi Naidoo.
All dolled up with nowhere to go? Not at the Sun Met. After the races, and as the sun started to set, revellers made their way to the official Sun Met after-party, presented by Guess.
Performers included Kyle Deutsch and Shekhinah, Goodluck, Euphonik, Mi Casa and Sketchy Bongo. Met facts There’s a lot more to the Met than celebrity fashion and horse racing.
Here are some Met facts you might not have known.
- The first Met took place in 1883.
- Sun International took over the Met in 2016, and it’s now known as Sun Met.
- This year is the first ever Sun Met.
- The Met in SunMet stands for Metropolitan Mile.
- Pocket Power won back-toback races in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
- Pocket Power also won the Durban July in 2008.
- The event has been postponed twice, in 1986 and 2004, due to equine flu and African Horse Sickness.
- The Grade 1, 2000m race carries a total stake of R5 million for the first time in the Met’s history.
- The Met reached full capacity in 2002, when 50 000 people attended race day.
- As of 2017, the Sun Met is now the richest race open to all horses on the continent.
- Since 2000, only four horses from Gauteng have won the Met. All the other winners have been trained in the Western Cape.
- Trainer Mike Bass has seen five of his horses claim the title since 2007.
- There have only been four horses to land the Met after winning the previous Durban July.