Liam Joyce and Amanda Koza

Judging by the sophisticated and stylish decor on show in tent town at this year’s Vodocom Durban July, events organisers went all out to reflect the fashion theme of The Big Screen. Décor ranged from old Hollywood glam and contemporary action movies to Sophiatown meets The Great Gatsby.

 The Chaise Lounge marquee was inspired by a classic Hollywood theme. Glam, easygoing and not too cluttered is what we were going for, said the marquee manager Monde Africa.

“We have a mixture of black and white elegance but it’s not too serious. Guests can relax.” The marquee’s 200 guests sat in air-conditioned comfort in a day characterised by hot berg winds.

Event World Paddock opted for a cinema house inspired theme with vases filled with popcorn as well as a popcorn machine and a DJ booth.

Sibaya Casino’s marquee had 300 guests which included a VIP area that accommodated 100 people. Draped in soft pink and light orange, and dotted with chandeliers, the marquee was Bollywood inspired. The menu was Indian cuisine and included lamb vindoloo, traditional Indian Durban curry and prawn curry.

In the Global Events marquee, sponsored by Moet & Chandon champagne, a black runway was the focal point. Red dominated the colour scheme with touches of gold and black. Gold champagne glasses were stacked as pyramids and small vases with fresh red roses were used as centrepieces. Red leather couches were scattered around the transparent marquee.

On a lighter note, guests at the Nampak marquee enjoyed a Marvel comic theme. Organisers used elements from movies like The Hulk and Iron Man as decorative tools. White couches with cushions decorated with comic characters added a touch of fun. Vintage cameras were used as centrepieces.

The Nedbank Corporate marquee was inspired by 1950s Hollwood, with a monochrome theme lifted with touches of gold.

Oasis and Durban Pavillion hosted the highest number of guests of all the marquees. Seven hundred guests enjoyed the Sophiatown meets the Great Gatsby theme. Organiser Sim Tshabalala said the décor was inspired by a local version of Hollywood. Centrepieces in the dining area included Marylin Monroe records as table pieces. Black and white were the dominant decor colours.

There was a separate chill area where guests could listen to live performances; a Fashion TV Lounge with photobooth, photographs from which were immediately posted on the Durban Tourism website. On site were Edgars and Keihls stores from the Pavilion Shopping Centre where ladies had their make-up done and nails painted. Stiletto heels were used as vases for fresh flowers.

The Gold Circle’s exclusive Stuart Classic Room played host to VIPs. About 200 guests enjoyed a menu which included crayfish and sushi while French champagne flowed. The softly lit room was decorated in black and white and fresh red roses were used as centrepieces.

Probably the most sumptuous marquee was the one hosted by JDS Events, owned by veteran hostess Rosa de Swardt.

Decorated in imperial purple, with black and silver accents, the tented entertainment salon was decorated with larger-than-life Oscar statues, and posters of glamorous stars of yesteryear. Table centrepieces incorporated ostrich feather plumes.

De Swardt has been hosting guests at the July for 15 years, and says her family-run business “would not be what it has become without the incredible support of the racing fraternity”.

There was a Godfather themed lounge with posters of the Godfather movies and a Bikers Paradise marquee, which showcased two sexy Harley Davidson motorbikes at its engrance alongside the red carpet for their VIP guests. The decor was a mix of bold colours.

Noxolo Mbambo, from Newcastle sat on one of the Harley’s and enthused, “We travelled quite far to attend the Durban July and it has been worth it. I love it, it is amazing.”

Premier Senzo Mchunu and Mayor James Nxumalo were spotted at the Airports Company South Africa marquee which boasted an elegant theme with fairy lights and a dark toned interior.

Additional reporting – Charmel Payet and Vivian Attwood