Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blue Blood, hanky panky and polka dots

Tag Heuer watches were one of the sponsors

Gurrh-urrghh, urrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Is that MY head that I can't raise off the pillow? It must be the result of the Chivas and apple juice so copiously consumed at the GQ Best Dressed Man Awards the night before. Not a bad tipple, but when you mix it with champagne and a glass or two of white wine, maybe it was not such a good idea. I love GQ, I confess, especially the writing (love the interesting, techo-savvy articles in the new edition, all about fembots, Herschelle Gibbs and gossipy titbits about Soweto band Blk Jks, who are the "talk of the town in New York").

The trouble was that the party only began after the announcement of the winner, Jon-Paul Bolus from very funky Cape Town clothing store Loading Bay which has aligned with Dutch luxury denim and fashion house Blue Blood which has its standalone store in an old Dutch Reformed church in CT. Jon-Paul wore the GQ must-have item for the summer, a polka-dot scarf twisted around his neck - verrrry Cary Grant!).

Tamo van Armim, Jon-Paul Bolus, Jill Grogor (Zebra Square, who organises the SAStyle Awards), Henri Du Blaise, Alan Ford

Last year there was no food and everyone's feet ached like hell because we all stood for hours in a soupy-hot ballroom at The Westcliff. This year we were greeted by a cool breeze and the ubiquitous Lindt hostesses who were handing out the healthy 70 percent variety by the handbag-full (the red ones were saved for later) and the food flowed with a vigour previously unknown. Rather appealingly there was less pretension this year, too, maybe because there were fewer guests, and the men (little peacocks that they are) had raised the style bar.

The peacocks were flaunting their feathers!

When I wasn't introducing people to their dates ("Hallo Brenda Khambule, this is Khaya Dludla from DRAFTFCB House." "Yes, I know," she said, "I came with him." Aaaagh, too much Chivas and apple juice!) I kept asking people like Jomo Cosmos footballer Larry Cohen (looking cute with his granny's ring set in diamonds on his pinky finger) or arch networker Simphiwe Majola (in a sharp dark blue Carducci suit, with shiny winklepickers) if they were finalists.

Jen Su, Simphiwe Majola and Uyanda Mbuli in front of a gleaming Audi

Only to be told "no". Why on earth not? Paul Diamond (back together again with model/actress/temptress redhead Jena Dover, although she was LYING to everyone about it!), Felipe Mazubuko, Matthew Booth (one of the SA Style Awards winners this year) and Thulane Hadebe were all among the list of South African men who had raised the bar in personal style, so why not Larry or Simphiwe?

And who were the lucky top ten besides Jon-Paul (whose mum told me he loves the whole 50s era, especially the music? Sandile Msimango from MTN's mergers and acquisitions section was one of them, and simply oozed smooth with his little coloured breast "hanky-panky" (another GQ-approved item). He was joined by Ole Ledimo from the House of Ole; Yfm DJ Sizwe Dhlomo; funky streetwear lover Mark de Mendez, the drummer for The Dirty Skirts; Thabang Skwambane from HIV consultancy Kaelo Consulting; Tshepo Molale from SoftAudit; the co-owner of Paul Smith store in Parkhurst Anthony Keyworth (whose girlfriend Sera Passaportis is Greek); last year's SA Style Awards winner Mandla Sibeko (who wore the hanky-panky long before the other GQ boys even thought of it); and Devon Brough from Curious Pictures, who has that typical South African oke physique which is hard to dress.

Editor of GQ Craig Tyson with the winners

The girls deserved a little acknowledgment I thought. Local designer Sanche Frolich (back from New York) and Katja Kellhofer from must-visit Gloss florists who wore gorgeous long black lace, were looking too elegant for words ("we dont do cheap", they said, with a meaningful look at the hostesses in their ultra short lycra dresses. Even if it does mean you don't even get a nibble or a phone number at Taboo).

Sanche Frolich ... doesn't do cheap.

Leanne Liebenberg was a trifle sad, I thought, after "nog 'n break-up", but she brought along friends Alan Ford and the ever-delightful and beautiful Henri de Blaise who was playful in a red shirt and braces.

I was so glad there were NO shorts this year, nothing more stupid that a grown man with knobbly knees wearing a pair of shorts that look like they desperately need a belt. The guys wore everything from dress shirts to leathers to suits to streetwear. Only David Tlale spoilt it all for me. Can GQ please do a story on people who wear sunglasses to evening events? Only acceptable if you also possess a guide-dog.

Coffin chic? David Tlale

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