Designers rate early arrivals on the SONA red carpet

Politicians have started trickling in for the #2017 SONA and apart from the big speech by President Jacob Zuma‚ the red carpet — and who is hot versus a hot mess — has become the second big talking point about the prestigious event.

Fashion designers Gert-Johan Coetzee of GJC‚ Ole Ledimo of House of Ole and Gugu Mlambo Msomi of Gugulam are weighing in on the various looks:

An early thumbs down went to Democratic Alliance MP Natasha Mazzoni. She arrived with her blonde locks curled and parted at the side in a red angel high-neck dress‚ and matching red lipstick.

“The colour red makes her look bigger. The dress looks like it was not made for her. Not a well-made dress in my opinion‚” said Ledimo.

Oops: Coetzee said that the piece is one from his Spree online retail range‚ although he did not dress her for the event.

DA MP Juanita Terblanche arrived in a vintage-inspired black‚ velvet dress‚ with pearls streaming down the mid-section of her back‚ chandelier style.

This won another reprimand from Ledimo‚ who said: “I’m definitely not in favour of the ‘Oscar’ look for the opening of Parliament. The pearls are definitely too heavy for that dress… I think we get dress codes so wrong”.

Again‚ Coetzee disagreed.

“I think it’s beautiful‚ a powerful look and nice on a red carpet‚” said Coetzee.

DA MP Juanita Terblanche Picture: Bianca CapazorioDA MP Juanita Terblanche Picture: Bianca Capazorio 


Party leader Mmusi Maimane and his wife Natalie were a matched pair in black.


Mmusi Maimane and his wife Natalie Picture: Bianca CapazorioMmusi Maimane and his wife Natalie Picture: Bianca Capazorio 


“I think Mmusi and his wife look absolutely stunning‚ the detail is perfect. They match completely and it’s really good‚ they both look well-taken care of‚” said Coetzee.

Ledimo was having none of that: “Mmusi’s wife‚ same Oscar vibe”.

 The designers did not comment on Mrs Maimane’s accessories‚ which included an armband made by their daughter. She tweeted a photo of it‚ saying: “Our Darling Girl’s addition to my ensemble‚ it matches and everything!”



They said it was going to be a hot 29 degrees Celsius today and Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille listened to the weather forecasters when choosing her outfit.

De Lille arrived in a loose flowing kaftan — unlike the pants suits she has worn in previous years — accompanied by her husband Edwin. Both were wearing beaming smiles‚ in line with the bright colours of red and magenta they chose to don.

DA's Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille. Picture Credit: Patricia De Lille 


Coetzee was taken aback: “Patricia De Lille is wearing a kaftan‚ I think it’s nice. I don’t think it is so appropriate for the occasion because it’s more of a day look‚ so that’s not a favourite of mine.”

“Was she going to the flea market?” Ledimo said of De Lille’s look‚ adding that her husband’s suit “fits ok‚ but this look is so tired. [It’s] boring and makes him look old”.

Fortunately for the mayor‚ her choice secured a rave review from our third designer: Mlambo Msomi.

“I love Patricia De Lille. I think she is just channelling 60s flower power‚ a very hippies slick couple.

“She’s like a ray of sunshine. I like the fact that he also brought in the colour and he tops it off with a pink shirt and the use of the tie against it. I think the two of them look like a happy lot. It’s a great-looking couple.“

African National Congress MP Tsapane Mampuru and her daughter arrived in traditional prints.

ANC MP Tsapane Mampuru and her daughter arrive for #SONA2017 Picture: Bianca CapazorioANC MP Tsapane Mampuru and her daughter arrive for #SONA2017 Picture: Bianca Capazorio 


“I really like when people dress in their traditional‚ cultural wear. I’m enjoying that – it’s great!”‚ said Coetzee.

“Bright colourful dress **thumbs up** but the dress can be improved‚” commented Ledimo.

“The daughter looks great in her bold‚ African print ensemble. Love the bright yellow – warm colour. The MP looks like a ray of happiness in a bright polka-dot pink dress‚ complements her daughter’s youthful‚ jovial spirit‚” said Mlambo Msomi.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald wore an everyday suit while his wife Hedwig came in a one-shouldered dress with embossed fabric and a metallic clutch.

FF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald and his wife Hedwig arrive for #SONA2017 Picture: Bianca CapazorioFF Plus leader Pieter Groenewald and his wife Hedwig arrive for #SONA2017 Picture: Bianca Capazorio 

“Mrs Groenewald has kept it quite simple and classic. I love the colour of her dress and the colours she has on. Nicely coordinated with her husband. The colour of his tie picks up on what she’s wearing and it’s a lovely simpler print‚” said Mlambo Msomi.

The MP united our dissenting design duo in dislike‚ however:

“They don’t look amazing‚ so it’s not really that great. It’s very plain‚ it’s not really that much of an effort. It looks like something that they got from their cupboard – which is fine‚ but I mean‚ it’s a very formal event so you should dress up a little bit more‚” said Coetzee.

“Suits! Everything about them is wrong‚” Ledimo said of Groenewald. His wife got a let-off from the designer‚ though: “Her dress is beautiful – right length.”