Durban - Glitz and glam were the order of the evening on Friday as the International Bank Vaults parking lot at Gateway was transformed for a spectacular cocktail event, honouring James Bond in the just-released movie Skyfall.
It is the 50th anniversary of the release of the first book in Ian Fleming’s best-selling series that introduced an unflappable hero who could rise to any occasion with his suit perfectly pressed and a martini (“shaken, not stirred”) held nonchalantly in one hand.
This time it is the suave Daniel Craig as James Bond who must defend M16 against attacks by the government and save the life of “M”, while England faces potential disaster.
The evening’s host, KZN businessman Vivian Reddy, arrived in an Aston Martin. Reddy’s car cost him a reported R14 million.
He used the occasion to punt President Jacob Zuma’s chances for re-election to a second term of office, but most of the assembled guests were only there to have a good time.
Among the guests were deputy finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, the US consul-general in Durban, Taylor Ruggles, the mayor of Newcastle, Afzul Rehman, city manager S’bu Sithole and council Speaker Logie Naidoo. NFP leader Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi was expected to be at the party, but did not arrive.
Sorisha Naidoo arrived late, but made a statement in a custom-designed Haroun Hansrot cocktail dress accessorised with gold, and Christian Louboutin for Rodarte spiked heels. The Scandal star let her hair down and posed with her husband, who wore a tailored Tom Ford tuxedo with suede Louis Vuitton dress shoes.
Former radio personality Alan Khan was a pleasant master of ceremonies and introduced Karen van Pletsen, who held her own in her rendition of Adele’s theme song for Skyfall.
This was followed by a fashion show showcasing some of Durban’s top designers, including Zama Mathe’s Zarth and Dax Martin swimwear.
The fashion show ended with a sexy underwear display of lingerie by Wonderbra and men’s underwear brand, Bear.
The skimpy, slinky smalls would tempt any wannabe James Bond or Bond babe.
Guests were entertained by the Quatro Femmes string quartet, playing James Bond theme songs.
Many took a break from the evening to pose for a photograph alongside the super-cars on display – some favoured the classic Bentley, others the classy Rolls-Royce and purists the Aston Martin.
The food was on the pedestrian side, and not quite what the guests might have expected of such a classy event.
Of sushi and caviar there was none, and even British specials Bond might have tucked into off-screen, were missing.
Curries and bunny chows didn’t quite cut the mustard.
A screening of Skyfall rounded off the evening, and many pronounced it the best of Bond by far.