My best red-carpet ensemble
You’ve seen them on many a red carpet, but what goes into creating the stunning outfits rocked by A-listers and trendsetters? We asked celebs to share their favourite looks.
Actress and TV presenter
“Kim Kardashian West is my red-carpet inspiration, and I had her in mind when planning my outfit for this year’s YOU Spectacular Awards. I wanted something that would make me feel beautiful, confident and powerful, and the result was this incredible dress by Quiteria & George, the couturiers who design the majority of my red-carpet looks. After sitting for two hours at Lajawi Beaute Café in Melrose getting my hair styled, I went home to do my own makeup, which took an hour and a half. I like getting ready at home because it’s peaceful (although I do blast a few Beyoncé songs!), but I have to avoid eating or drinking anything so I can tape myself before slipping into the gown. The finishing touches were black patent Christian Louboutin heels and a Mimco clutch, and after five hours of getting ready, I stepped out feeling like royalty. I love how putting on a gorgeous ensemble boosts my confidence and makes me feel my best.”
“I wore this gold creation from the KLÛK CGDT spring/summer 2016 collection to the label’s charity event for The Sunflower Fund last September. I’m close to the designers Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan du Toit, and they know my style well. We went through a few options, but when we got to this gown, I was totally sold. It’s elegant, but also dramatic and daring with an element of magic, and I love how the sheer panels modernise its 1930s Hollywood glamour. Since the dress is very bold, I chose natural makeup and hair, no jewellery and just added heels by & Other Stories and gold, black matte nails. I arrived at the event feeling fierce and loving how the dress showed off my curves. I’m glad I got to try out a new look – fashion shouldn’t be taken so seriously, you need to have fun with it.” “One of the amazing things about working with designer Anel Botha is that she asks you how you want to feel when you wear her looks. My answer is always classy, sexy and fashion forward, and I was intrigued when she suggested adding a feathered bolero to my outfit for this year’s YOU Spectacular Awards to give it a twist – plus, it was perfect for winter. My stylist, Lethabo Motlatle, has lots of young, fresh ideas, and he suggested the gold body chain and statement earrings, and I wore heels from my Footwork X Amanda du-pont line. Saadique Ryklief did my hair and my sister, Kim, did my makeup, which took about an hour altogether. Anel had designed three dresses for me to wear that evening in case my mood changed, but I loved this one so much that I stuck with it. Why not wear something that makes you feel phenomenal?” “When it was time for the 2015 SA Style Awards I was travelling for work, so I called Gert-johan Coetzee, whose designs I’ve always admired. He whipped out a bolt of fabric and began twisting and draping – and 45 minutes later, I was in this showstopper with striking metallic details. The deep topaz reminds me of the Aegean Islands in Greece, where my family’s from.”
“My inspiration for last year’s German Film Awards in Berlin was old Hollywood glamour, and since my favourite colour is black, this vintage-feel lace dress by SA designer Atelier Dajee was perfect – plus the style has a great sense of history. Once I knew what I was wearing, it took only 30 minutes to get ready, with my friend Sarah Lichenstein doing my makeup and me styling my hair. I accessorised with a Kenneth Cole clutch and a ‘Black Lives Matter’ pin I had made, because I think that the red carpet is an ideal opportunity to put social issues into the spotlight.” “I’ve always been a quirky dresser – experimenting with fashion is in my blood – so when I needed an outfit for the Beach Cult show at Mercedes-benz Fashion Week Joburg in August, I went for something powerful instead of the usual flirty dresses. The fact that it’s an heirloom piece added to the allure. My father was a leather designer and stylist in the ’80s, and he made this leather suit for my mother 30 years ago. Tart made the fringed top, and I accessorised with a Versace sunglasses case used as a clutch and blue Dolce Vita heels. My hair matched the suit and I styled it into a low bun, while Alila Professional Makeup did my makeup. It took two and a half hours to put everything together.” “The theme for this year’s Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo was ‘Polo chic in bright and bold’, so I sought the help of my friend and stylist Cyril Naicker. We were lucky to have first choice at Gavin Rajah’s atelier, and I liked this fine metallic dress with its colourful flowers. The exquisite jewellery by Ida Elsje complemented the look, and it all came together beautifully on the day with tan Azzedine Alaïa peeptoe heels. The statement earrings inspired the side-parted curls and we mimicked the dress’ pops of colour through peach makeup. I got dressed at home, as my bathroom has the best lighting, while listening to old-school pop and rock.”
Aslim wrist gripping an iced coffee. A tousle-haired beauty smiling over a veggie platter topped with organic fixings that subtly pick up the hues of her designer silk Erika Cavallini top. Matcha lattes in Crayola green. Rustic avocado toast with a side of Céline sunglasses. Perfect manicures curled around cones of honey-lavender gelato. Salads of glistening citrus and microgreens.
This is the food of Instagram. You’ve seen these images sprinkled across the accounts of those whom people in corporate marketing call ‘influencers’. I’m not talking about accounts devoted specifically to food, but about those that combine fashion and travel and cute dogs into a lifestyle. I’m talking about food as a prop – food that serves the same purpose as a potted fiddle leaf fig tree, a Miu Miu bag or a Cartier bracelet. Food that communicates something about how the Instagrammer lives: beautifully, expensively and effortlessly.
I’m fascinated by Instagram food precisely because it bears no relation to the eating habits of any actual person on planet Earth. Sure, we occasionally nibble on photogenic items – artisanal pickles, meticulously crafted salads, Japanese sweets – but mostly, we survive on handfuls of popcorn, baby carrots, muesli and brownies. We eat these things at our desks, standing over the sink or in the glow of a laptop watching The Good Wife. But who are these Instagram women who subsist on pale green smoothies, pink macarons, açai bowls and multicoloured grains?
How do they do it? And can I become one of them?
To find out, I conspired on a challenge. For one week, I’d follow the ‘Instagram Diet’. There would be three rules: I must photograph all of my food. I can eat only foods that warrant an Instagram post. And I’m not allowed to eat unattractive foods.
The first thing I learn is that eating this photogenically doesn’t come cheap. A single macaron may cost R12, and you can’t photograph a single macaron – that would be like photographing a lone painted finger nail instead of the full manicure.
On the very first morning of my diet, I buy six macarons and spend 23 minutes at work rearranging them on my desk with pincer-like delicacy. My boss registers my activity, possibly with disapproval, but says nothing. The office’s high-ceilinged windows offer a panoramic view of the city, but all I can think is, ‘This light is made for macaron photography.’ Mid-morning, someone offers me a biscuit and I bite into it, suddenly remember that I’m supposed to take a picture, relocate to a light-filled nook, place the bitten biscuit on a sheet of coloured paper, take some photos and then finish eating. To make up for the wasted morning, I work through lunch.
By supper, I’m cranky with hunger. Normally I’d eat an apple to tide myself over, but nobody wants to see a picture of my normcore apple. So I walk to a low-key vegan takeaway café and spend R70 on a wrap. I dutifully take a photo. I look at it and see that a fleshy blur of my finger is visible in one corner of the photo. Delete and try again. This time, I notice a crumb on the table and my hand is casting a shadow. Does that water glass need to be in the frame? It doesn’t add anything. And is that the roasted aubergine’s best angle? Delete, delete, delete. Meanwhile, all the café’s seats are taken and a couple is waiting