How to style the top fashion trends seen at Durban July 2023
Durban July 2023: How to wear the most stylish trends
By Ranji Mangcu
As per tradition, the first weekend of July sees Durban play host to the most widely attended horse-racing event in Africa: The Hollywoodbets Durban July.
For many of the July’s attendees, the opportunity to play dress-up is as much a part of its DNA as the betting and horse racing. So much so, that its organisers have incorporated the fashion element into the programme through the Durban July Race-Day Fashion Awards.
Presented with a glamorous occasion to gather on the always summery East Coast of South Africa, you can always expect South Africans to rise to a glamorous occasion.
Durban’s tropical climate proves itself oblivious to the seasons, which puts it in perfect alignment with the outdoor festivities of the Durban July. As puffer-jackets and fleece blankets are being pulled out of retirement in the rest of the country, Durban July attendees promenaded around the crowded fields of the Greyville Racecourse in everything from strapless, chest-and-shoulder-bearing sweetheart necklines to leg-bearing skirts and dresses.
This year’s theme, “Out of this World”, challenged attendees to think beyond the immediate and the terrestrial; explore their originality through energetic, otherworldly hair, make-up, and silhouettes.
With that, these are the three fashion trends that you need to know from the Durban July 2023.
Interstellar Colour Schemes
Exploring colour under the theme “Out of this World” could have led to a multitude of questionable decisions. The theme was widely taken quite literally, with many referring to the blues, blacks and purples that are synonymous with the galaxy as we know it. However, there is something to be said for playing it safe – speaking to the theme directly, rather than winding one’s way around it and serving a whole lot of nothing.
While many gravitated to the exuberant golds, silvers, celestial lilacs, and vibrant yellows, many chose to incorporate the in-between in their use of colour. Deep, dark shades of midnight-blue and violet were used by many as a base in their ensembles, offsetting the starry, glittery, and bejewelled details.
House of Nala by AFI’s own in-house designer, Thulani Mlambo, emerged as a finalist in the Race-Day Fashion Awards, with a navy-and-gold two-piece suit that featured gold-mirrored plate details on the shoulder.
Silhouettes were crucial to keeping the balance between costume and couture. How people chose to play with volume and proportion in their ensembles was the difference between tacky and tasteful.
As previously mentioned, attendees were quite direct in their interpretation of the theme. For many, the most accessible way to reference the intergalactic was to elevate the body – using sharp, exaggerated shoulders and small, cinched waists to create otherworldly, alien-like silhouettes.
This was contrasted by the on-trend appearance of massive ruffles and undulating skirts. Intricate hairdos crossed the boundaries of what was previously thought possible with natural hair – a whole separate conversation that we are excited to present.