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January 17, 2013

J&B Met 2013 fashion: tips from designers

Made to Fly the J&B Met way. Photo courtesy Brandhouse Media

Let your imagination run wild for this year's J&B Met, taking place at the Kenilworth Racecourse on February 3. With Made to Fly as the theme, there are high expectations for amazing outfits, made from soft fabrics in dazzling colours.

This year's theme is a wide-ranging one, and with fashion being fickle we called in the experts to help you choose the perfect ensemble.

Fashion gurus say bold, bright colours, made with flowing fabric like georgette, are the way to go. Forget the cheap fairy wings – think beyond airline crew, if you want to stand out.

Be bold in your choice of colour, says Dennis Hamer of Hip Hop fashions. Proudly South African design house Hip Hop traditionally develops a range of outfits for the J&B Met, and this year is no exception. They've gone all out, using the entire yellow spectrum, and dipped into orange, as their main colour for their range.

Hamer says choosing fabric is key when deciding on an outfit. February is traditionally one of the hottest months in Cape Town, so it is advisable to wear free-flowing fabrics that will not only keep you cool, but will also create the illusion of flight.

The Hip Hop range is about anything that can fly, Hamer says. They have used feathers, butterflies and dragonflies in their designs, and are punting wearing orange with black.

Yellow, in all its sunshine glory, is going to be popular at the J&B Met this year. Photo courtesy MauritsV

Mahlatse James is one of Johannesburg’s top fashion journalists and says: “I do love everything about this year's theme, and would be interested to witness how most people will interpret it.”

James, who has been in fashion journalism for over a decade, feels the best way to achieve optimum styling is not to go the literal route.

Most people will probably try to inject humour in their clothing, and I foresee most dressed in airplane cabin crew-esque uniforms. It could be fun,” he says, but warns people to avoid looking like they’re at a “random costume party". 

And wings?

“Yes. Sadly, we are bound to see wings, too. Not Victoria's Secret’s angel wings, but a few of the cheap fairy kind.”

You guessed it: wings must be avoided at all costs.

James advises attendees to opt for flowing garments and subtly layered fabrics, and to play with lengths to make it fun and appropriate for the event. 

And one thing you should never fail to consider for the J&B Met, is plenty of shoe options.

“Shoes can always breathe excitement into an outfit. Sky-high heels are fabulous but not very practical for a day event outside. I’m not a fan of flats at all, so kitten heels and wedges are my absolute go-to shoes,” he adds. 



The fashion journo says he can’t wait to see Bonang Matheba, since she always has a way of making any and every outfit work, “She is every fashionista's dream BFF. I simply cannot wait for her.”


James says he’d love to dress twins Hlelo and Ntando Masina of Yfm.

“They are such amazing girls, with even more beautiful bodies. I’d love to reel them out of their royal 'twin-set branding' and put them in clothing that will bring out their individual personalities. Hlelo in tailored perfection, and Ntando in a multi-textural garment,” concludes James.

But while James feels the Met is no place for cabin-crew outfits, young up-and-coming fashion designer Melissa Somerset, of SomersetJane, disagrees.

“Two trends that I love, and never really go out of style, are 60s retro and military.”

She says shows like Pan Am have brought retro style to life in a big way. A scarf at the neck, bold colour blocking or a gown topped off with a Pan Am-inspired stewardess hat, perhaps?

Somerset  also loves a good mix of masculine and feminine – teaming an air force-inspired collared shirt, offset by a chiffon ball-gown skirt and finished with an army beret, is something she'd love to see. “Keeping the execution of the theme abstract, as apposed to too literal, would be the key,” she also warns.

“I’m expecting to see a lot of feathers, bird-inspired hats and fascinators. And yes, perhaps some wings.”

“I'd like to see the feather trend stretched into the tropical print trend we've seen throughout this summer, or even taken darker into feathered gowns in blacks and purples, à la Beyoncé in Givenchy at the Met Gala last year.”

Black and white is a huge trend in gowns right now, and “solid white and black, fully feathered gowns would definitely make a statement", she continues.

A super shade of lipstick should accompany every girl – or guy – to the Met, she adds: “As the day is long, a fresh lick of lippy throughout the day is something you can't do without.”

Somerset would also love to see Bonang Matheba as well as Miss SA Marilyn Ramos, who she thinks will keep it conservative – or could bring it right out the box.

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