Speaking to some of the country’s most popular matric dance dress designers, we found out what colours, styles and silhouettes will be popular this year. Picture: Pixabay
Speaking to some of the country’s most popular matric dance dress designers, we found out what colours, styles and silhouettes will be popular this year. Picture: Pixabay

Belle of the ball: Matric dance gown trends for 2020

By Sacha van Niekerk Time of article published Mar 12, 2020

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Magazines, Instagram accounts and red carpet looks - as matric dance season begins, teens are starting to look to influencers in fashion for outfit inspiration. 

Speaking to some of the country’s most popular matric dance dress designers, we found out what colours, styles and silhouettes will be popular this year. 

Durban based fashion designer, Bianca Warren custom made over 200 dresses in 2018, and by January 31 of 2019, she’d already met with 104 girls hoping to get the custom-made dress of their dreams. “We start taking our bookings from November. Every year we grow in numbers,” she said.

What are the top MD dress trends girls have been asking for in 2020?

Durban designer, Bianca Warren on a shoot showcasing one of her gown, perfect for matric dance season. 

Trends come and go but for Warren, clean lines and good fit is always a must. “We’re loving plunging necklines, and are also encouraging girls to work with textures by bringing in braid work applique. Feathers are also one of my favourite trends to work with.” As for colour, Warren said that she has been really enjoying all the vibrant shades girls are picking out. 

How long does a custom-made dress take to make?

Warren said, “It all depends on the level of difficulty and intricacy.” If the garment is boned, beaded, corseted or constructed, it can be a more lengthy process. “Some hand work can take up to 100 hours on a dress,” she said. Warren’s store also has an in store semi finished collection that has been a huge success in eliminating the process by half the time for her team’s clients. 

However, if you’re on the hunt for something more exclusive, or have the dress of your dreams trapped inside your imagination, a custom made gown can be made by appointment only, and will require fabric shopping and quote exclusive of the fabric. 

René Heydonof of Rene H Couture based in Cape Town designs wedding gowns, but said she also thoroughly enjoys creating all kinds of awesome dresses. “I take between 10 and 20 matric dance dresses per year due to my booked out schedule.”

Tumi in Rene H Couture beaded gown with beaded lace details, beautifully captured by SJ Van Zyl at Big Bay.

This year, she’s seen a definite shift in favour of simpler gowns of a good quality duchess satin or crispy crepe. “People are opting for dresses that accentuate the bodice and waistlines with full skirts with slits or very fitted trumpet or mermaid style skirts. The popular colors are deep green, teale, burgundy, red, navy, royal blue, white on nude, gold and silver.” 

“They can take anywhere from 9 to 90 hours depending on the details the client wants on their dress. From lace that is cutout by hand, placed on the dress and then carefully sewn down by hand to adding Swarovski crystals delicately placed on specific areas. It's hand work, but it’s a labour of love.”

The higher end dresses will cost a pretty penny, according to Heydonof. “For more elaborate looks with lace, crystallization and expensive fabrics and draping, it can be anywhere from R8500 to R20 000.” 

South African influencer, Kefilwe Mabote looks absolutely regal in this velvety green dress by Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue. Picture: Instagram.

If a dress that looks like it just waltzed off a runway is what you have in mind for your matric dance, the style inspiration you’re after can be found on the Instagram page of Orapeleng Modutle. Bead encrusted gowns, intricate folds and pleats and exquisite materials define Modutle’ aesthetic. 

The Pretoria based designer is fast becoming one of South Africa’s most recognisable creators, having even made it onto the 2018 Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 Young Creatives list. 

He’s also designed for K Naomi Noinyane, Katleho Sinivasan and Thando Thabethe, but has also shared a good few pictures of his matric dance creations online. So, if you’re hoping to have a gown custom made by him, it can be done by appointment only. 

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