JOHANNESBURG. — When the red carpet is rolled out at the South African Music Awards (Samas) it won’t only be the biggest night for music — it will be one of the biggest nights on the fashion calendar. For industry insiders there is nothing quite like the event. Most celebrities will want to style their way into the headlines. For celebrity designers it is a major night. Since the
announcement of the date designers have been battling it out to dress the biggest names in South African celebrity circles.
According to Alexis Tshangana, a fashion writer and expert, for most celebrities nailing the balance between fashion-forward and elegant sophistication could make or break a career.
She said designers also tried to cash in on events like the Samas, which will be held at Sun City.
“For the designers, having a starlet wear your frock on the red carpet and spouting your name to every news outlet that asks ‘who are you wearing?’ is major.
“The publicity that a designer gets from such high wattage stars wearing their creations is priceless,” said Tshangana, adding that there are only a handful of red carpet stayers.
“That is why some designers will do anything to have certain celebrities in their clothes. Some go to the extent of making outfits for them free of charge.”
Most celebs would not be seen dead in the same dress.
So what do they do with the dresses after they have worn them?
“Often a celebrity borrows a dress from a designer so they will be able to wear it for the night and make sure to say who they are wearing lots of times — and then the dress goes back to the designer,” Tshangana said.
“Or the celebrity keeps the dress, but just never wears it again because they have so many clothes and, God forbid, they are caught wearing the same thing twice.”
But not all designers like the idea of dishing out free clothes to celebrities.
Fashion heavyweight Thula Sindi, whose clothes have been worn by celebrities like Dr Precious Motsepe, Penny Lebyane and Noni Gasa, among others, said he no longer dressed people for free.
“I believe a dress can make the celebrity, but the celebrity cannot make the dress. This is why I stopped giving my clothes to celebrities for free. It did not make business sense at all.
“Why give clothes to people who can afford them? I’m in business. I sell them or hire them out.”
But menswear fashion designer Thabo Maserumule, of Thunderstorm, who has dressed a multitude of celebs, said he did not mind dressing celebrities for free.
“Celebs are bigger mannequins than models. Any red carpet season holds huge opportunities for designers to get huge coverage and press. It is a chance to build your brand.”
And who is wearing what? Most celebrities would kill to be seen in a David Tlale number. But according to Tlale’s publicist, Vista Kalipa, the fashion king will only be dressing reigning Miss SA Melinda Bam.
Former Miss SA Bokang Montjane will wear a Rubicon Clothing dress, another sought-after label.
“What I like about Rubicon dresses is that they are timeless classics,” she said.
Singing sensation Zahara, who was widely criticised for her dress choice at the Metro awards, said she will come in her stable-mate’s Nhlanhla Nciza’s NN Vintage Wear again.
Though she did not want to reveal much about her dress, she said it was going to be exciting.
Another woman keeping her cards close to her chest is TV presenter Bonang Matheba, who is known for being flawless.
Matheba, who is going to be dressed by Gert-Johan Coetzee, said she has a very big surprise for her fans.
Matheba’s ex, Slikour, will be dressed by Paledi Segapo’s Palse Homme.
Metro FM DJ Thabo Molefe, also known as T-Bo Touch, said he could not wait for the event and would be wearing Naked Ape.
“I will come in a French cut fitted navy-blue suit. French cut suits are what every fashionista worth his salt wants to be seen in.”
Radio jock Anele Mdoda, who will be one of the presenters at the event, will wear a Loin Cloth and Ashes number.
“I have opted for a black lacy dress. It is very feminine and elegant at the same time,” she said. — Sowetan.