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.

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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

Looks like heaven, tastes like hell. Don’t be fooled, chia pud­ding re­sem­bles paste.

I didn’t eat them all. I prom­ise. A toasted bagel on a retro polka-dot plate.

Threw out the first four pan­cakes be­cause they looked ugly. Pos­ing with a sponge cake – as you do.

The baked chips made for a very pretty im­age. It took five tries to blow this bub­ble.

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