Sunday Times

STYLE COUN­SEL

Why celebs need a lit­tle help

- By LEONIE WAG­NER

● Joan Rivers may be long gone but the celebrity fash­ion po­lice in SA are on the beat and trolling hard. And it seems South African Mu­sic Award-win­ning singer Lady Za­mar is firmly in their crosshairs.

First it was the peach jump­suit with lace de­tails that she wore to the live Miss SA fi­nale, fol­lowed by the lacy blue jump­suit she donned when she re­turned to Idols SA.

But when she teamed blue metal­lic heels with red knee-length socks over span­dex­like tights and a track­suit top, her crit­ics were out­raged, com­par­ing her to a home­less per­son and call­ing for her stylist to be axed.

The Char­lotte hit­maker, how­ever, was hav­ing none of it. A defiant Lady Za­mar, who styles her­self, said she would con­tinue to dress the way she wanted to and re­fused to com­pro­mise com­fort for style.

But what sep­a­rates a well-styled celeb from a style delin­quent?

Stylist Kwanele Khon­jel­wayo, 31, who has worked on both sea­sons of The Voice SA, sev­eral of DStv’s award shows and is now styling fash­ion­ista TV host Lalla Hi­rayama for her show, Lalla Land, said not ev­ery­one saw value in pay­ing a stylist.

“It’s very im­por­tant to have a stylist; they are your link to the fash­ion in­dus­try. Many celebs don’t un­der­stand that it’s all in the finer de­tails; it’s in the al­ter­ations that an out­fit is a hit or a miss.

“Sadly, a lot of celebs don’t want to pay for a stylist, they ex­pect it to be free. They say ‘I’ll tag you’, as if that pays the bills,” Khon­jel­wayo said.

Au­then­tic­ity and un­der­stand­ing your body are es­sen­tial, but self-ex­pres­sion doesn’t al­ways work, she said. It only works for pub­lic fig­ures such as ra­dio and TV per­son­al­ity Somizi Mh­longo, who ex­presses his per­son­al­ity through his out­fits.

Khon­jel­wayo said no mat­ter how “crazy” Somizi’s cloth­ing, it would al­ways make sense be­cause his larger-than-life per­son­al­ity meant he could get away with any­thing.

“As South Africans, we’re very judg­men­tal; if some­thing is dif­fer­ent and we don’t see other peo­ple do­ing it then we don’t like it. At red-car­pet events, ev­ery­one is in the same [type of] dress but in­ter­na­tion­ally they try dif­fer­ent things. South Africans don’t un­der­stand fash­ion,” Khon­jel­wayo said.

An­other stylist, Lesego Kgosi­mo­lao, who has worked with Bo­nang Matheba, Lorna Maseko and Pearl Thusi, be­lieves that in the age of so­cial me­dia, hav­ing a stylist cu­rate a celebrity's brand and look is cru­cial.

“If you’re a singer or an ac­tor, an out­fit is the last thing you need to worry about … some of our celebs take their fash­ion very se­ri­ously, oth­ers are not con­cerned and only care about their tal­ent — and that’s where their man­agers need to step in and han­dle that side of their brand,” Kgosi­mo­lao said.

Ac­tress Nomzamo Mbatha told the Sun­day Times she of­ten re­lies on celebrity stylist Fran­cois Louw for lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional events. She loves shop­ping on­line, Mbatha said, and found that phys­i­cally go­ing to a mall was a night­mare.

She be­lieves hav­ing a stylist opened up a “wardrobe of pos­si­bil­i­ties” be­cause it wasn’t prac­ti­cal for her to have a re­la­tion­ship with every de­signer — but a stylist could.

Mbatha is open to faux fur, feath­ers, lace and prints and said her only pro­viso is that she doesn’t want to look older than she is.

“The out­fit is in the at­ti­tude, it’s about the feel­ing. If I own it I could be in a pa­per bag but, with the right at­ti­tude, it will work. I never want to look older than I am,” Mbatha said.

While Mbatha is happy to have fun with fash­ion, Um­lazi-born singer Babes Wo­dumo wants to be a trend­set­ter.

The gqom singer has a stylist but puts most of her looks to­gether her­self.

“It’s im­por­tant be­cause the stylist gets to get you out of your com­fort zone. He or she doesn't change you, but makes you look even more great so peo­ple can be able to see you in dif­fer­ent styles and colours that em­brace your per­son­al­ity,” said Wo­dumo.

When com­ing up with a look, she usu­ally thought of what she hadn’t worn be­fore and de­scribed what she en­vi­sioned dur­ing brain­storm­ing ses­sions with her stylist, she said.

Never with­out a colour­ful weave and a brightly coloured lip, Wo­dumo is in­spired by any­one she likes, never fol­lows trends, sees her­self as a trend­set­ter and has never felt she com­mit­ted a fash­ion faux pas.

“As you’ve no­ticed, I love colours — which is why I have dif­fer­ent kinds of coloured weaves ... and I have no­ticed now that women ain’t scared to ex­press them­selves with colours, which makes me happy. So, yes, I see my­self as a woman who is set­ting the trend,” Wo­dumo said.

An­other singer who is unapolo­getic about her style is Shekhi­nah, who said she used many dif­fer­ent stylists for events be­cause she was con­scious about her over­all pack­age and unique brand.

“I’m still a work in progress, I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out what works. But I don’t fo­cus on my fash­ion, I fo­cus on be­ing clothed. I don’t mind that peo­ple com­ment that I’m al­ways wear­ing stock­ings. When I’m ready I’ll let it go. I’m not op­posed to neg­a­tive feed­back,” Shekhi­nah said.

It’s very im­por­tant to have a stylist; they are your link to the fash­ion in­dus­try

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 ??  ?? Lady Za­mar’s peach jump­suit didn’t get the nod, left, while Bo­nang Matheba, right, has had ad­vice from an ex­pert.
Lady Za­mar’s peach jump­suit didn’t get the nod, left, while Bo­nang Matheba, right, has had ad­vice from an ex­pert.
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