It’s that time of year when the masses flock to Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town, dressed to the nines for champers and a bit of horse racing. This year’s theme of A Rare Blend should be an interesting one. Who will appear on the social pages and who will get nothing but an eyebrow raise? Come Saturday, all will be revealed.
Designer extraordinaire and fashion guru Gert-Johan Coetzee has dressed more than a couple of famous people over the years for various events. His most famous however is radio personality, presenter and diva Bonang Matheba, and this year he will be dressing Jen Su. When it comes to dressing according to the theme, he suggests playing it down. “Never take the theme literally, play the theme down. It’s not a literal interpretation of the theme.”
“I am not a fan of the fascinator,” says Coetzee. “When it comes to the fascinator or any kind of head piece for the Met I think it’s all about compromise, it shouldn’t compete with the outfit.” Adds Nthato Mashishi, who is a makeup artist for major celebrities in South Africa: “I think the fascinator is so outdated. Think more along the lines of Dolce and Gabbana – go for jewels and flowers in the hair instead of that hat thing,” he laughs.
THE ULTIMATE FAUX-PAS
From showing too much skin, sticking to the theme too strictly and just generally seeing new things, the Met is always an interesting place when it comes to fashion. Both designer and make-up artist have seen some strange things at the horse-racing event. Coetzee says: “Don’t take your shoes off no matter how sore your feet may get”. The s i m p l e s t way to avoid this is to simply walk around in your shoes before you buy them to check for comfort and sizing. Adds Mashishi: “Don’t do those tightly wound curls. It doesn’t work for any event and is really outdated.” If you want to go for curls wear loose tresses or waves. He says: “Tight curls always come undone in the heat and you will end up with frizzy hair which isn’t flattering.”
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR DRESS/OUTFIT
Says the designer: “Stay away from DIY costumes, often this is where people go wrong. Often many will try and sew the theme into a dress and by doing this people can experience some major issues. Don’t show too much skin. I have noticed at horse-racing events people often show too much skin. It’s all about balance – showing too much skin can often end up looking tacky and nobody wants to land on the front page of a paper for all the wrong reasons. Your mother will not be impressed!” Mashishi agrees that it’s all about balance.
When it comes to big social events like the Met, your outfit needs to tell a story. He says: “You need to be committed to your story from your dress to your hair and make-up. When you look at the big winners at the Golden Globes such as Lady Gaga, she told a story from head to toe and you immediately looked at her and said she’s going for 1950s glam.” Colour is always a big thing when it comes to these kinds of events and because it’s a day-time gala people can often get it very wrong. Says Coetzee: “Keep your colour simple. If you don’t know fashion very well, my advice is that you stick to one beautiful colour. My fashion rule is to rather look nice than over the top.”
AND FOR THE MEN?
There have been a wide range of menswear designs that have launched over the last few years showcasing colour and patterns but, says Coetzee: “Don’t wear black. If in doubt wear some suspenders, a bow tie and nice coloured shirt and you’ll look cute no matter what.”
HAIR AND MAKE-UP
- This is a tough one but nobody wants to wear make-up that matches the dress – rather go for simple, natural and sunkissed. Here are Mashishi’s top tips:
- Keep eyes clean, don’t go for a lot of colour. A hint of colour is just fine.
- Keep eyebrows thick and defined – think Frieda Kahlo. Not thick and weird like you find on Instagram, but rather defined and bold. No unibrows please!
- Think of your skin and its exposure to the sun. You will be in the sun all day so make sure you apply sun screen, and keep a good facewipe pack with you to blot any excess oil on the skin during the day.
- Keep make-up clean and glamourous. You want to look like you’ve been kissed by the sun. Cheeks need to be dewy.
- Go for liquid foundation instead of powder, because it’s just so old-school.
- For lips go with corals and peachy tones. Matte colours work well too. Just give the pinks and the reds a rest, they have been overdone!
- Make sure you apply at least three coats of mascara so you are camera-ready.