A red-carpet day for fashion at Parliament

By Chelsea Geach & Zodidi Dano Time of article published Feb 14, 2014

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Cape Town - The red carpet glittered on Thursday night at Parliament as politicians were grilled on their choice of designer wear rather than their policies.

Mayor Patricia de Lille, infamously oddly dressed at State of the Nation addresses (SONA), stepped out of the minstrel carnival suit of years gone by into a slick white ensemble. Her suit was made by menswear design label CSquared at House of Monatic, which she matched with a colourful blouse.

Another woman of politics whose fashion choices have previously attracted less-than-flattering comments is DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko.

On Thursday night she stunned in a jaw-dropping, silver-white raw silk gown with a train, by Cape Town designer Kat van Duinen.

“It doesn’t look comfortable, but it is,” she said. “I feel like a princess.”

She narrowly avoided a fashion disaster when another guest sank a stiletto into her gown, but finished firmly among the fashion-forward at the event.

Also topping the best-dressed list was Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who looked as golden and statuesque as an Oscar trophy.

She cut a shimmering silhouette in a tight-fitting gold gown by young designer King. “I feel light and playful,” she said.

Well dressed as always was Premier Helen Zille, who attended with her husband, Johann Maree.

Zille wore a muted lime dress by Louis Designs, with beading by Thobeka Mdiza from To Bead Africa.

“I love beading, and apparently green is the in colour this year,” Zille said.

She paired the dress with dark blue heels and a clutch, while her husband wore a matching green tie.

The men of South African politics did their best to steal the women’s spotlight in statement get-ups that ventured far from the predictable suit and tie.

Mandla Mandela walked the red carpet barefoot, dressed to match his wife, Nodiyala. The two wore beaded garments in white and blue, and Mandla carried a shield.

Another stunning couple were TV host Dali Tambo and his wife, Rachel, who kissed for the cameras.

Rachel wore a dress by Sun Goddess, made in shweshwe fabric, while Dali wore a black suit with open-necked shirt. He said: “She’s the flower and I’m the stem.”

Flying solo was Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba, who cruised past the cameras in an SAA pilot’s suit.

“I am demonstrating my support for the pilots, cabin crew and ground staff that keep our engines hot and burning,” he said.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela crossed the carpet with her eyes downcast, dressed head to toe in the black of mourning for her late ex-husband, Nelson Mandela.

While Gigaba was alone, President Jacob Zuma had the support of all four of his wives on the last State of the Nation address before the national elections.

Nompumelelo Zuma, known as MaNtuli, donned a gold ensemble with embroidery, while Thobeka Madiba looked exquisite in a red number. Bongi Ngema wore an animal print dress and MaKhumalo, who walked the carpet with Zuma, wore black and gold.

They were the last dignitaries to disappear inside Parliament before the frivolity was over and the speeches began.

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