The Vodacom Durban July is Africa’s greatest horse race, and it’s arguably the biggest party weekend on the continent.
Everyone from A-list celebrities, politicians, businesspeople to ordinary citizens converge at the Greyville Racecourse for a day filled with all the emotions you can think of, coupled with a smattering of high fashion, entertainment, gourmet food and loads of money.
Fashion is a major part of the event, and this year’s theme is Stars of Africa seeks to finally celebrate the beauty and glamour of the continent.
We share some tips from two Durban based designers on how to dress appropriately and on theme, while still looking so elegantly chic that you would be right at home in the VIP suites at Royal Ascot.
As one of the invited designers, Durban’s Kathrin Kidger is all too familiar with what works at the Vodacom Durban July.
For this year’s theme, she has gone with an Afro-Futurism theme, which has been a trend since the premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther. The film became a celebration of African excellence.
Therefore, it makes sense for Kidger to continue celebrating Afro-Futurism.
“The concept of Afro-Futurism is my fixation. For me, the importance of physically manifesting our future with a strong “African-ism” is important to our future outlooks. It gives us a fresh start free of previous mindsets that is way more global and fore-thinking, and more importantly, lead by Africa. Textures have been used that reflect, glimmer and generate interest in every piece crafted,” she said.
Interestingly, in her lookbook for the Durban July, she has opted for turbans and headwraps rather than the fascinator hats horse races have become known for. They give an outfit that African edge, as was evident at her recent collection at the Durban Fashion Fair, where models wore bedazzled turbans.
While relatively a young brand, Prince Bespoke has become the go-to brand for gents (and ladies) who want beautiful tailored suits. The brand, which is owned by designer and stylist, Prince Thabz Mkhize, has built a discerning clientele who know exactly what they want.
For the Vodacom Durban July, Mkhize is hoping that people look beyond the usual. “This theme requires us to think out of the box. There’s so much that can be done with it - from a celebration of our mineral wealth, to our wildlife. The trick is to do it really well and modern.”
For those who haven’t found an outfit as yet, he suggests playing around with an African print or an animal print.
The key to getting race day style correct is knowing what time you will arrive, whether your outfit will transition well for the evening and also to dress for the season.
It’s winter, so you can have fun with your garments, while still looking event and season appropriate.
Angela Bassett in Black Panther. Picture: Supplied
Choose accessories that will make your garment theme appropriate, like with this sparkly dress paired with Xibelani-style earrings or the isicholo worn by Angela Bassett in Black Panther.