The theme that governs the social and fashion elements of the 2017 Vodacom Durban July at Greyville Racecourse promises to mesmerise the events 121st edition, as it encourages racegoers to interpret “The Colour of Magic”.
Announced every year in the months before Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event, the theme is central to all the fashion competitions and is the basis for all the decor in the suites and marquees on course on the big day, and is the handiwork of Gold Circle’s Event Marketing Manager Ken Tweddell.
Tweddell said that the 2017 theme had been born during 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 ,” said Tweddell.
“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.
“It’s unexpected. It’s pure magic when it works, and that is where the idea of a magic-inspired theme started,” recalls Tweddell.
“It also ties in perfectly with the overall style of the event, because, even today, magicians perform in top hat and tails, accompanied by beautiful women elegantly dressed. That is a perfect fit with the ‘posh’ elegance that is synonymous with racedays,” said Tweddell.
He added that he was excited to see how the theme would add a special dimension to the hospitality décor, and the experiences of every racegoer on the day of the Vodacom Durban July.
The six paragraph theme teases fashionistas and socialites with ideas that could assist in it’s interpretation, but as always the fashion gurus warn against taking the theme too literally.
“It is essential that you understand that this is a fashion competition,” says Fashion Programme Director Tiffany Prior. “Stay away from anything that is too theatrical or Avant Garde and definitely nothing gimmicky.”
Prior highlighted the repeated references to the colour red in the theme, which aligns neatly with the events title sponsor, and 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,” explained Prior.
“Judges will be looking for garments that are on trend and beautifully executed, with an emphasis on being beautifully dressed for a day at the races,” she concluded.
The pre-raceday fashion programme will once again consist of three distinct competitions, all presented by the fashion programme partner, the Durban Fashion Fair.
The Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award kicks into top gear on Monday 29 May, when over 100 students and their models try to catch the judges’ eye at the first round of judging of the student’s completed outfits. The competition is limited to registered students from KwaZulu-Natal.
The national Vodacom Durban July Fashion Challenge is initially judged from storyboards, submitted by fashion fans ranging from enthusiastic amateur home designers to industry professionals. This preliminary judging at the new Ice Models HQ in Durban will take place on 11 May.
The third, and most prestigious element of the pre-raceday fashion programme is the Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase, which will premiere at the first of two Vodacom Durban July Fashion Experience shows at Greyville Racecourse on 13 June, featuring the interpretation of the fashion theme by eight luminary South African designers.
THE COLOUR OF MAGIC
The magician to be admired,
Must mystify and delight.
Conceptualize and be prepared,
To get the illusion just right.
The horseman to be honoured,
Must have a well-conceived plan.
The challengers to be conquered,
By being the fastest he can.
The designer to be cheered,
Must transform and surprise.
To reveal what is covered,
To see the wonder in their eyes.
Horsemen and designers,
Magicians of a kind.
Imagine, implement, put on show,
Blow the viewer’s mind.
Top hats and tails,
Or smart casual preferred.
It’s magic we’re after,
The Vodacom Durban July
Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event