‘Uzalo’s’ stylist takes us behind the scenes of their royal African fashion show

13 May 2021 - 11:09
By Thango Ntwasa
It's all about beads in this behind the scenes shot of Nelisa Mchunu's vibrant outfit.
Image: Supplied/Uzalo It's all about beads in this behind the scenes shot of Nelisa Mchunu's vibrant outfit.

With its fair share of wedding crashers and double weddings, Uzalo has kept fans glued to the screen to see what’s next for the scandalous lives of the people of KwaMashu.

But this week, the fashion moments took to the runway as GC (Khaya Dladla) and Thobile (Nokuthula Mabika) faced off against their friends Fikile (Nelisa Mchunu), Nonkayiso (Thuthuka Mthembu) and Hleziphi (Sibongiseni Shezi) in a war on the runway.

According to wardrobe head of department Nokubonga Ngobeni, the episode was aimed at telling a story about women finding beauty in themselves by being authentic. And there couldn’t be any better way to tackle a celebration of beauty than with the characters who all work at the same salon on the soapie.

One of the beaded ensembles from the proudly Zulu showcase.
Image: Supplied/Uzalo One of the beaded ensembles from the proudly Zulu showcase.

How did you approach GC and Thobile’s fashion show?

It was a combination of Wakanda (Black Panther) and Coming to America. GC and Thobile always go all out. They are people who think out of the box, even in terms of their own looks. So I looked for something that would give me an out-of-the-box look.

And what went into creating the looks from Fikile, Nonkanyiso and Hleziphi’s show?

They were keeping it strictly Zulu, so I thought I would have to put them in beads. That’s what the Zulu culture is all about – it’s colourful and vibrant. Fikile had quite a showstopper.

How did you put her look together?

It was a combination of different colours. The item on her head is actually a neckpiece, but we turned it into a headpiece. She is also wearing a beaded waistcoat with a tasselled bra – beaded as well. It’s quite amazing how that look came together as I initially thought she would be in one big colour scheme, but adding the different elements that were not matching colours made the outfit altogether.

How were the clothes sourced?

Two looks from GC and Thobile's 'Coming to America'
meets 'Black Panther' theme.
Image: Supplied/Uzalo Two looks from GC and Thobile's 'Coming to America' meets 'Black Panther' theme.

I hired out from local costume shops. There is also a place in Durban that is like a marketplace where I got the beads. Some of the items we had to do ourselves. There’s a cape that we designed, and we added a pillow to create volume behind the girl’s neck.

One of the ladies is in what I call the lettuce dress because it is so layered and so busy, she is actually wearing tube skirts, and we just turned them upside down to make them look like a layered top.

What was your approach to the beauty looks seen on the show?

We wanted to show that it is OK to have natural hair. You don’t have to be in heavy glamorous makeup to feel beautiful.

How can viewers embrace culture through their fashion?

Culture and what we wear actually says a lot about us, so it is quite important to embrace yourself. Whoever you are you must know your culture, because at the end of the day we all have to know our roots and where we come from, and clothes do have an important part in that.

Two looks from GC and Thobile's 'Coming to America' meets 'Black Panther' theme.
Image: Supplied/Uzalo Two looks from GC and Thobile's 'Coming to America' meets 'Black Panther' theme.