How not to do a fashion event…
Last week I was able to hobnob with the crème de la crème of Johannesburg fashionistas. The event was the KLûK CGDT show at The Rand Club in the central banking district and it was a veritable melting pot of the who’s who of South African celebrity (and the odd individual or couple looking to become a who’s who)… Apart from being an absolute visual delight of all my favourite genres in fashion, the clientele of this famous designer duo are usually inspirational in their fashion-forward garb and effortlessly chic. But rather than dedicate an entire column to what the dos of the evening were, I fancied a top three don’ts list instead. And mark my words there were some unbelievably bad don’ts! I also truly believe that if you steer clear of these don’ts you’ll have a better chance of being on the Best Dressed list of any event be it a fashion week show, a day at the races the launch of a clothing label or simply a professional cocktail function…
1. Don’t do matching his and her suits and outfits!
If you happen to be part of a couple, please take note that there is never, under any circumstances, cause to dress yourself and your partner in matching his and hers suits of the same fabric! I repeat never. There are possibly two exception clauses to this rule that I can think of and they are exceptionally rare namely: a fancy dress party like the Mother City Queer Project OR an Alice in Wonderland party and you’re going as Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Oh and perhaps if you’re two years old and you’re part of an identical twin pair and your mother is dressing you. Barring those three isolated instances there really is no good reason to subject your partner to this sort of public humiliation. Trust me when I tell you the critics will not be kind. As evidence I site the case of an unidentified couple at the KLûK CGDT show who thought it a good idea to arrive in matching pewter, synthetic-leather-baggy-suits (cringing inwardly!), adorned with blingalicious belts and ridiculous head gear. I have no doubt their intention was to get the attention of everyone at the show and certainly they did, but it was all the wrong kind as there was absolutely nothing redeeming about their outfits! If you are looking to compliment your partner’s outfit rather pick colours that are complimentary in tone rather than shade. For example, if your man is wearing a slick, navy suit try to find a dress in a shade of deep plum or forest green. Beautiful. If your man has chosen a scarlet tie and pocket chief then find yourself a vibrant clutch or pair of heels in coral or some such bright. Sassy. If he’s gone for a subdued grey day suit and open-coloured shirt, consider a chiffon dress in a nude colour or muted shade such as khaki or taupe. Elegant. Always remember the intention is to compliment and flatter your partner not to match exactly and stand out like two ridiculous bright red thumbs!
2. Don’t do weird nail art!
Let me go on the record now and say I have never in my entire career and in the long history of fashion, heard of a single woman who has been remembered for her exceptionally stylish nails! Sorry ladies but those of you who have a penchant for weird and wonderful nail art and spend three hours at your beautician, meticulously planning and delighting in coming up with ever more weird and wonderful designs for your nails, are unlikely to win the love and adoration of style critics at these events. I cite another example from the KLûK CGDT fashion show of a well-known local celeb, who ruined a perfectly exquisite pair of Alexander McQueen Swarovski crystal sandals with multi-coloured toenails. Think of multi-coloured toenails as the style equivalent of toe socks; in other words they’re childish, ugly and weird and only the wearer sees the point of them! On the whole the rule for special events is that the simpler and more classic the better and personally I’d rather let my choice of accessories or graphic print do the talking than my nail art! By all means do team understated daytime cocktail frocks in pastel or nude shades or evening deeps with daring neon nails for a burst of colour that’s unexpected and edgy if that’s your thing, just be absolutely sure they’re all the same! Oh and one other word on nails regarding length not colour is that talons are cool for Macbeth hags, Halloween witches, subsets of humanity including Jersey and maybe some far-flung parts of Asia minor and Russia but for everyone else they’re not! Nothing takes the cool out of an outfit quicker than watching a lady with inch-long French-manicured gels fumbling her clutch clasp.
3. Don’t overdo it on the accessories.
I’m afraid to say that said celebrity made a second style boo-boo on the night and forgot the age-old mantra: less is more! Whilst events like these do allow for more dramatic use of accessory and colour, one still needs to consider balance and proportion. Our celebrity’s outfit consisted of: 1 show-stopping McQueen sandals + 1 mulit-coloured toenails + 1 eye-catching ruby red dress + 1 lots of rouged fabric + 1 large and over-the-top head-piece (odd choice for an evening fashion show and more appropriate for a day at the races) + 1 matching shiny costume earrings and pendant = 6 outfit overkills! Had our petite celebrity selected 2 or even 3 elements of the above outfit she would have looked amazing. My quick fixes would include for a start, ditching the multi-coloured nail colour altogether. She could have ditched the jewellery and the fabric rouging and kept the pretty shade of ruby red in a sleek and simple style and teamed it with the statement shoes and a smaller head-piece. Or she could have ditched the hat and the matching jewellery and kept the same frock and shade of red and shoes and chosen similar but not matching earrings and bracelet. As a rule I recommend picking either a statement pair of earrings or necklace but not both as it gets a bit busy round the neck area and definitely don’t match them! Or she could have kept the style of dress in a neutral colour and the same shoes and gone for a statement ring, but teamed with a clutch in ruby red. You get the general idea… What’s important to bear in mind is this: you are not a Christmas tree so don’t decorate yourself like one!
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