Styles from sublime to ridiculous

FAUX fur and a dash of fashion faux pas sashayed down the red carpet for the state of the nation address at parliament in Cape Town yesterday.

Many guests ditched hats in favour of something warmer to protect against the Cape of Storms' cold for the second red carpet this year.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele could easily change portfolios to run a ministry of fashion. The former police boss and his wife, Thembeka, stole the show, opting for old Hollywood style.

Thembeka chose a sequined cream dress, elegant black clutch, two-toned heels and a sophisticated up-do (hair-do). Hubby dearest looked dapper in one of his signature hats, a well tailored suit and salmon-coloured shirt.

Another woman who won over the photographers was Ouma Anna Beukes. At 100, she was the oldest in attendance, as a special guest and a member of the Witbooi Namastam clan.

"I picked out my own outfit – me and the people at the shop at the Promenade Mall in Mitchells Plain," Ouma Anna said.

Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams was in the league of the well-heeled. She took to the red carpet like Naomi to the runway in a lace and ivory gown. It was inspired by Africa, although the reference was so subtle she had to point that out in the blue embroidery on her sheer bodice.

But there were those who might have induced migraines. One such was former DA member Bev Abrahams, who has joined the ANC. As if her hairstyle – which matched the neon yellow and green flowers on her dress – was not enough, she had a black and silver scarf and wrap.

Her allegiance was clear. "I needed something to lighten up the day. And it is in my party's colours," Abrahams said.

Luckily ANC MP Vatiswa Bam-Mugwanya decided not to go "way out", in a shiny pillar of gold on her head.

She said she dressed mainly for the cold. That was true. Her gold jacket looked like armour.

Statistician-general Pali Lehohla, who admits he is better with numbers than fashion, traded in his yellow census suit and channelled his inner Sherlock Holmes in matching tweed cap, jacket, waistcoat and tie.

DA MPs Dianne Kohler Barnard and Glynis Breytenbach made for an odd pair when they arrived together. Breytenbach looked drab when she made her red carpet debut in a practical black pantsuit with faux fur trim alongside Kohler Barnard who wore a sunshine yellow dress with diamante in her hair.

Their leader did not opt for her usual belle-of-the-ball look.

Police and their dogs conducted final security sweeps as DA leader Helen Zille made a very understated arrival in an understated black and gold outfit.

"This is from a lovely secondhand shop called Old Harbour Vintage in Hermanus."

She chose the ensemble instead of her initial choice of a purple boob tube and "fluffy" top and even borrowed the black skirt from DA member and stylist Janine Schouw. It turned out Schouw preferred the boob tube.

EFF MP Floyd Shivambu wore the red workman's overalls for which the party has become famous.

He did, however, pair the overalls with leather pointed shoes, and the hem of the black formal trousers he was wearing underneath peaked out at his ankles.

Party leader Julius Malema – also in red overalls and hard hat – did not dally on the red carpet.

He made a dash for the entrance.

President Jacob Zuma did not walk the entire red carpet, as is customary. He whizzed by in a white van.

At his side, in glitzy purple, was one of his four wives, Nompumelelo. - Nashira Davids and Bianca Capazorio