Humour

LOL! What Zille, Malema and others should wear on the Sona red carpet

The state of the nation address is THE most fashion-centric political event of the year. Here are some tongue-in-chic wardrobe suggestions for prominent politicians

13 February 2020 - 11:29 By Paula Stephanie Andropoulos
We'd be thrilled to see some of these high-fashion looks on the 2020 Sona red carpet.
We'd be thrilled to see some of these high-fashion looks on the 2020 Sona red carpet.
Image: Getty Images, staff photographers and Siphu Gqwetha

It’s a tradition: every year, we pick through the photographs of the state of the nation address (Sona) and, one by one, lambaste the performances of our local politicians — and not, as you might imagine, because they have yet again failed to deliver on the promises they made the year before.

No, our quarrel is with their gaudy gowns, shiny nylon suits and other pitiful garments our best and brightest elect to wear to the most fashion-centric political event on the calendar.

South Africa is a democracy, however, and this year it occurred to us that the power is in our hands: why not nudge our contentious leadership in the right direction? Here are some of the high-fashion runway looks we think a few prominent figures should wear to Sona.

To help you imagine the end result should they indulge our styling suggestions, we've mashed-up their photos with those of runway models.

Helen Zille would look fierce in this chain-mail-like number from Louis Vuitton.
Helen Zille would look fierce in this chain-mail-like number from Louis Vuitton.
Image: Outfit: George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images; portrait: Alon Skuy/Sunday Times; graphic: Siphu Gqwetha

HELEN ZILLE

Helen Zille tasted retirement and found it very bland indeed. So she's re-entered the political arena as the federal council chairperson of the DA.

Over the past year or so, Zille has undergone something of a personal renovation, presumably for the benefit of her renewed political aspirations. She’s hired a stylist, modernised her aesthetic and traded in her ’90s bouffant for a sleek bob that screams: “No I will not just take up bridge and call it a day!”

In the spirit of her return to the battlefield, we would be delighted to see Zille don this metallic Louis Vuitton number, which evokes chain mail and exudes the kind of gladiatorial energy we suspect she’s going to need. It’s a bit short for a red-carpet event, but then she seems to relish a little bit of risk.

This sky-inspired suit is a fitting choice for the leader of the rainbow nation.
This sky-inspired suit is a fitting choice for the leader of the rainbow nation.
Image: Outfit: Peter White/Getty Images; portrait: Moeletsi Mabe/Sunday Times; graphic: Siphu Gqwetha

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

It would be a nice gesture of conciliation for the president to wear the same designer label as rival Zille.

We also think that the distinctive print on this Louis Vuitton suit will set our commander in chief apart from the rest, while simultaneously transmitting a kind of non-verbal, symbolic promise to his constituents: blue skies are on the horizon.

If that doesn’t work, it can, at the very least, be relied upon to divert a bit of media attention away from his address.

Should there be a power cut, former minister of energy Jeff Radebe could light up parliament in this neon Versace suit.
Should there be a power cut, former minister of energy Jeff Radebe could light up parliament in this neon Versace suit.
Image: : Getty Images; portrait: Moeletsi Mabe/Sunday Times; graphic: Siphu Gqwetha

JEFF RADEBE

This highlighter-green neon Versace suit is an entirely appropriate selection for our former minister of energy in the midst of a seemingly endless spate of load-shedding. It’s defiant, it’s forward-thinking, it’s fresh off the spring runway ... and it glows in the dark.

Perhaps Julius Malema should swap his red beret for a contemporary cowboy hat.
Perhaps Julius Malema should swap his red beret for a contemporary cowboy hat.
Image: Outfit: Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images; portrait: Thapelo Morebudi/The Sunday Times; graphic: Siphu Gqwetha

JULIUS MALEMA

In the ordinary course of things, we would never suggest that EFF frontman and seasoned Sona firebrand Julius Malema wear anything other than his modestly priced red overalls — no doubt spending money on luxurious personal items like designer clothes would go against his egalitarian ethos.

But there is something so utterly perfect about this modern take on the western outlaw that we would urge him to make an exception, just this once — if only because we think that this ensemble has the potential to strike fear into the hearts of his many, many, many naysayers.

If anyone can pull off this avant-garde Tomo Koizumi creation it's Pemmy Majodina.
If anyone can pull off this avant-garde Tomo Koizumi creation it's Pemmy Majodina.
Image: Outfit: JP Yim/Getty Images for Tomo Koizumi; portrait: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times; graphic: Siphu Gqwetha.

PEMMY MAJODINA

Pemmy Majodina’s reputation as a fashion renegade exceeds even her political renown — she annually delights crowds at Sona with her bizarre, theatrical regalia and her peculiar accessories (Google “Pemmy Majodina pink fan”).

This year, we would like to encourage the ANC chief whip to take her self-expression to new heights. We recommend that she envelop her whole body — neck to toes — in an avant-garde creation from eccentric Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi’s latest collection.

The garment looks cumbersome, heavy and hot, but experience tells us that Majodina knows how to accessorise accordingly.