Monday, November 16, 2009

Hallo, Most Stylish Kitty

IT girl Lady Kitty Spencer is now the Most Stylish Person in South Africa

Lady Kitty goes up to claim her prize

It might have been the sheer glamour of her lineage but the judges for the 13th South African Style Awards were also bewitched by 18-year-old Kitty Spencer's friendliness and peaches-and-cream complexion last Saturday when winners and judges alike met for tea at the Hyatt Regency. We liked her gladiator stilettos and her open-book manners. None of the "hubris of the high born", as a British newspaper put it. Because she is Princess Di's eldest niece, and first cousin to the young Princes Harry and William, Kitty is actually a countess and her father likes her to be known as "Lady Kitty Spencer". Apparently the Spencers are far higher on the food chain than the reigning monarchy and always have been. A magazine editor told me though that Kitty was "minor royalty" and unless she invented something like Velcro or did something spectacular the mag wasn't interested in an interview. Maybe I should try again? It's hard for South Africans to address a friendly teenager as "Lady Whatever", so we called her Kitty instead, which she did not seem to mind.

Strike a pose ... Photographer Xander Ferreira knows how to grab attention in his gold takkies while an amused Yair Shimanky from Shimansky Jewellers looks on

Who were the winners and the judges? Former Miss Universe Michele McLean won Style Icon, The Smarteez Most Innovative Style, Most Stylish Performing Artist was Xander Ferreira whose photo shoot took place in the window of the Gucci store in Sandton, Most Stylish Media Personality was Glamour editor Pnina Fenster, Metro Fm's Unathi Nkayi and Thomas Msengana were Most Stylish Couple.

Unathi with her prize from Shimansky Jewellers, one of the sponsors

Most Stylish Designer was Gavin Rajah (this caused some controversy which I refused to be drawn into).

Actress Nina Milner looking all 20s. You know her from the Appletiser ad!

Actress Nina Milner walked off with Most Stylish Performing Artist in Film, and Bafana Bafana's popular Matthew Booth was Most Stylish Business Personality.

Protective custody ... Matthew Booth

Unshakeable confidence .... Michele McLean in a plunging red Malcolm Kluk gown with Henri Slier who presents the naughty Sex in the City style programme, 'Man'

Doing her push ups ... Actress Lee-Anne Summers in red Louboutins

The red carpet champagne reception itself was ultra-pretentious and not for those who fear Ellis Park-like stampedes. Those bravehearts in the centre were squashed like sardines and yelled at each other over the general hubbub. There was so much airkissing going on and chameleon-like eyeings over shoulders that frankly a lot of people came across as insecure and unstylish. An unshakeable confidence is one of the most stylish attributes to possess, no matter what the outfit. Something we South Africans have yet to learn.

The Hamilton-Russell wines were as stylish as Anthony's dinner jacket

Winemaker Anthony Hamilton-Russell was one of the self-confident few. He was beaming because he could still fit into his dinner jacket which he had made when he was at Oxford.

Wild style ... the Smarteez burnt up the stage

The Smarteez, our own Soweto-inspired fashion invention, were also divinely confident. One Smartee even got onto the drums with the band and rocked to his own rhythms with his eyes closed. He had his hair made into the shape of Africa with coloured beads. I liked the men who arrived in dinner jackets, so rare these days.

Pushing up daisies ... the rather pretty floral arrangements!

Make me famous ... Lutho Somdyala, the presenter from's The Style Report

It was a tough call to find a winner this year in among the other strong contenders (such as former Miss Universe, the omni-elegant Michele McLean and the Smarteez), but it was a democratic vote taken round a table in the Ndau Lounge. All the judges (Thoko Qoboza from Sun International, Jill Grogor, Alan Ford, Rosie Motene, Viwe, myself, David Gilson from Carlton Hair, Louw Kotze, last year's winner Mandla Sibeko, Annaleigh Vallie from Wanted magazine, and Leanne Liebenberg) all wrote a name on a piece of paper and submitted it to the "chief judge", Alan Ford. Can't say I have ever come across a chief judge before, maybe a chief justice. I can't reveal much more about the judging process as I was one of the judges (cool!) and was interviewed by Glitterati.

As for young Kitty, she's a Cape Town girl born and bred, so I say hands off to the British press. She's OURS. I remember earlier this year, when I was invited to join the Lady Kitty and her sister Amelia (very Jane Austen names!) as well as a few other stylish folk on an ABSOLUT Vodka yacht trip around Cape Town harbour. The pictures landed up on the front page of the Daily News, obviously sold to the paper by a local photographer for cash. The press have been interested in the story of her mother's latest divorce, and young Kitty is no stranger to her family hitting the headlines on a regular basis (though she did tell me that her mother had gone off for the weekend with her boyfriend, obviously a new boyfriend). Her father completely loathes the press and who can forget his famous remark about the press being at the opposite end of the moral spectrum to Princess Diana? Who was, ironically, an arch manipulator of the fourth estate. Something she should have passed on to her niece.

One can't help feeling that she has been sheltered and does not know what lies ahead. "She's very young, what has she done so far?" was one of the concerns brought up by the judges. Well, now she's won this award it means a story in Hello magazine and much more publicity and public appearances locally, as that is one of the functions of a SA Style Award winner. She's a huge IT girl in Britain and recently attended a debutantes ball in Paris with all the other beautiful children of the beautiful people. Red carpets seem to be her second home these days. It might be a good idea, for her to get a little more media-savvy, and maybe have a press person around her who knows how to fend off the press who are showing an ever-growing interest in her after a Tatler cover story and an Italian Vanity Fair interview this year. Kitty greeted me with a kiss on each cheek at the Hyatt tea, but she needs to be aware that the press are not always her friend. She's the story and they've got a job to do.

But on to more arcane matters. What was she wearing? She seems to like minis a great deal (short dresses were a key theme this year, no more long) and told me that she picked up her short white dress about a hour before the awards. This despite my being told that Donatella Versace had phoned her to offer an outfit.

More about the SA Style Awards with lots more pictures in this Saturday's pages of the Citizen


Imagine Nation said...

Interesting .... Were you, um, satisfied with the, um, integrity of the judging process? Um, Um, this time ..

sarah cangley said...

Hi Imagine Nation,

It was a democratic process, as I said. I cant divulge how many votes there were in favour but it was a majority vote.

I wouldn't agree to partake in anything else!