Every person, no matter what age, appreciates some magic in life – something to jolt us out of monotonous routine, promising possibilities that are beyond the imaginable realm. And, at the 121st edition of the Vodacom Durban July on Saturday 1 July, owners, jockeys, pundits and racegoers are going to experience the real ‘Colour of Magic’ weaving its way throughout one of the country’s most glamorous horseracing spectacles.
Announced in artful elegance that will be mirrored in the fashion parades on the day, the 2017 Vodacom Durban July theme of the ‘Colour of Magic’ is poetically outlined below:
As with most major horseracing events, the fashion makes up a large part of the day with upcoming designers, established designers and independent fashionistas embracing the annual theme and translating it into extravagant garments. There is further encouragement of the local fashion industry through a number of competitions run prior to, and on, race day.
Read more: 5 Horses to Bet on at the Durban July
Visitors can expect to witness extraordinary creations from the pre-race day competitions and shows including The Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award; The Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge and The Vodacom Durban July Fashion Experience as well as the race day fashion competitions and Invited Designer Showcase taking place on the day.
It’s important to follow the trends propelled onto the catwalks as the style and tone for the event will trickle down from here.
1. Invited Designer Showcase
The most glamorous element of the fashion programme, the Invited Designer Showcase sees eight leading national designers selected according to aspects such as their position within the international market, media profile and experience in the world of fashion. Each designer will interpret the theme in a range of outfits including a showstopper and race day ensemble for a couple. This year’s invited designers include Terrence Bray; Dale McCarthy and Jane Wolff; Mxolisi Mkhize; Sadie Bosworth Smith; Sibu Msimang; Thula Sindi; Hangwani Nengovhela as well as Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel du Toit – all of whom will set this year’s themed trend.
2. Young Designer Award
Another influential element on the fashion calendar is this award which engages young talent to create an outfit connected to the theme with the winning candidate receiving a cash prize as well as a helpful boost in the fashion world.
3. Vodacom Durban July Race Day Fashion presented by DURBAN FASHION FAIR
Come Saturday, 1 July, any aspiring fashion designers will get the chance to showcase their creative talent to some 55 000 people at the on-day competition. Judges will be looking for on-trend designs which are elegant, chic and stylish using a subtle integration of the theme while embracing the spirit of Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event.
Style Guidelines for the Vodacom Durban July
Fashion Programme Director, Tiffany Prior, warned to stay away from anything too ‘theatrical or Avante Garde and definitely nothing gimmicky’.
Prior noted the repeated references to the colour red in the theme but cautioned not to get too carried away with this. “This brief is not necessarily about the colour red, it is about ‘magical’ fashion and design work,” she said.
Gold Circle’s Event Marketing Manager, Ken Tweddell, said the theme idea emanated from one of last year’s pre-race day fashion shows.“One of the models on the catwalk stopped and then unzipped the side of her short skirt to reveal a beautiful elegant long skirt. That was totally unexpected, and the crowd let out a collective gasp of amazement. That is what creative and clever ideas can bring to a special event like the Vodacom Durban July,” he said.
Tweddel said the elegant top hat and tails worn by magicians, and their elegantly dressed assistants, also tie in well with the fashion day theme.
Read more: Vodacom Durban July Final Field
What to wear on the day – for her
1. Fun, formal day wear
It’s important to remember that a race day event is not the same as an evening function, so while elegant, stylish garments are called for, this does not necessarily mean long, evening gowns and gloves.
2. Head gear
Race days are synonymous with extravagant yet elegant head adornments ranging from the wide-brimmed hat to a delicate fascinator. The incorporation of the magic or red from the event theme into your headpiece is a nice touch.
3. Keep it classy
While the ‘less is more’ approach may be a good one to take with accessorising, don’t incorporate this mantra into your entire outfit. Race days are about elegance so don’t reveal too much skin. Well-cut dresses falling to the knee are always a good choice.
4. Stylish but practical footwear
While heels have their place, don’t opt for ridiculously high heels as you will be wearing them for an exceptionally long time over grass. A wider heel would be a wiser option
5. Keep warm
Although the Vodacom Durban July is hosted in one of the country’s warmest cities – and you will most likely be warm enough in the sun – remember to bring a stylish coat, pashmina or cape (keeping it magic) to keep away the chill when the sun sets. Durban has been known to have a cold day or two in summer, so it’s worth planning ahead.
6. Lightly with the make-up
Another way to incorporate the event theme is with subtle make-up hues and designs but just remember that you need to apply ‘daytime’ make-up as the direct sunlight will show up any heavy-handedness.
7. Be wise when you accessorise
A small handbag or clutch works well on the day and one or two select items of jewellery but don’t overdo it on accessories. This will detract from the overall outfit and too much jewellery is overwhelming at daytime events.
What to wear on the day – for him
Many of the style directives ‘for her’ will be applicable ‘for him’ as well but there are a few other elements to consider.
Think about incorporating patterns into your suit, shirt or tie to jazz up the ensemble. Coattails will most certainly be the order of the day for this year’s theme.
2. Match accessories
Make sure the colour and style of your accessories don’t clash, rather opt for matching cufflinks, belts, watches, ties and tie clips. Bringing in playing cards, a rabbit or any other magic-related item is a great way to incorporate this year’s theme. Bows, typically warn by magicians, will also be seen to replace traditional ties.
It’s so rare that men get the opportunity to wear formal hats so it’s really worth taking the chance on race day. The top hat will most likely dominate this year’s event and can also provide some much-needed sun protection!
4. Button-hole touch
A flower in the button-hole can be a nice touch, possibly something red such as a rose or carnation to tie into the theme.
5. A shoe-in
Pointed boots or stylish lace-ups work nicely but just make sure the colour and style don’t clash with your overall look.
6. Walking stick
A stylish walking stick would really work at the 2017 edition, bringing in a touch of old-world class while hinting at the magician’s wand.
The great thing about this theme is that it can be interpreted quite literally or more taken in a more ethereal manner. Literally items such as the magician’s cape, top hat, bow tie, coattails, waistcoats, playing cards, rabbits, doves, wands or witch’s hats, brooms, boots and flowing garbs can be the order of the day. Alternatively, the individual can interpret ‘magic’ whichever way they see fit. A subtle makeup illusion, red lining in a coat or a complete outfit change, the fun is discovering how everyone has interpreted the theme on the day.
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