The Durban July is by far Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event and I was honored to be invited to the stylish fashion preview held at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping last weekend. Its no secret that I am a tea lover and I really appreciated the beautiful Lipton Tea Station at this event. It was very tastefully styled and offered us such a variety from the Lipton Brand.
The Champagne was flowing and it wasn’t long before I took a seat on the glamourous carousel that was set up at the event and fired up my selfie stick. My eyes never left the carousel that evening – It is such a gorgeous prop and definitely made a fashion statement.
Leading up to this event, an immersive installation – The Style Stable – was set up at Gateway. The Style Stable was open to patrons from 15 – 30 June to promote Gateway Theatre of Shopping as the ultimate fashion destination in Kwazulu-Natal. It is one of the largest malls in the Southern hemisphere and undeniably, anybody would be spoilt for choice at this vast theatre of shopping.
“Years of planning, months of preparation, weeks of sharpening, days of fine tuning, hours of tension, minutes of anguish, seconds of panic;” the Vodacom Durban July 2018 theme has been identified as “It Is Time,” with every element of the race day having the aspect of time attached to it. Similarly, from conception to construction, time is also a concept that is integral to the art of fashion design; be it making patterns, cutting fabric, constructing garments and fitting the final pieces. “I love this theme because time is so important for designers,” said Fashion Programme Director Tiffany Prior, who has been associated with Gold Circle for the last fifteen years, and has been producing the Gateway Fashion Preview and Concert since its’ inception ten years ago.
Fashion and horse racing go hand in hand, and Gold Circle has afforded designers a voice in the realm of horse racing.
Celebrating its’ tenth anniversary, the Gateway Fashion Preview and Concert welcomed key sponsors Vodacom Red and Vodacom Nxt Lvl on board for 2018, as well as associated sponsors Kryolan and Gerald Wells Hair Salon.
Transforming the tradition of the Cavendish Court Space outside Truworths, The Style Stable was a beautiful interpretation of the rich heritage of the horse racing event, currently in its’ 122nd running; and I thought that this appropriately captured the overall essence of what the Gateway Fashion Preview and Concert is all about, using an array of retro photographs over the years.
This proved to be an incredible platform for stalwarts in South African Design, as well as fresh, young talent. The fashion show opened with the Durban July Timeless Collection featuring pieces by Brenda Quin, Hanrie Lues, Katekani Moreku, Leona Magdelene Pillay, Madelain Clark, Martin Steenkamp, Racine Lyle Meredith Denny, Sadie Bosworth Smith, Sibusiswe Msimang and Skye Pengelly.
I loved the flowing, floral pieces by Katrin Kidger – the feminine, classic dresses were indeed a true reflection of timeless elegance at the races. Casey Jeanne designs left me breathless! Her design skill is remarkable and the garments are brought to life by her extraordinary vision. By the end of the night, what I knew all along had been confirmed by what I witnessed on the ramp – Durban has such profound talent!
With Gateway Theatre of Shopping as the ultimate destination from which to draw style inspiration and looks for race day; a host of retailers showcased at the Preview, including Woolworths, Fabiani and C Squared among others. The Style Stable housed an incredible “Style your Look” activation with renowned hairstylist Gerald Wells and Kryolan- this ran for a few days leading up to the races and made it easy for us to get inspiration for race day.
The after-party was hosted at The WavePark and featured local Performing Artists Kwesta, DJ Funky B, Locnville, DJ Carly O, Okmalumkoolkat and East Coast Radio’s Deon G.
A very special “thank you” goes out to Gateway Theatre of Shopping for hosting such a glamorous Fashion Preview. Every year, It gets so much better!