Bonang Matheba, Rachel Kolisi: the best and worst dressed celebs of 2020

Ricci-Lee Kalish reports on the fashion crimes committed by A-listers and rounds up her most lust-worthy celebrity looks of the year

31 December 2020 - 06:30 By Ricci-Lee Kalish
Rachel Kolisi, the leading lady of SA rugby, failed to impress with the dress she wore to the 2020 SA Style Awards.
Rachel Kolisi, the leading lady of SA rugby, failed to impress with the dress she wore to the 2020 SA Style Awards.
Image: Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images

2020 will be a year we will never forget (no matter how hard we try). The start of the new decade was filled with endless possibilities and fresh beginnings. Then along came Covid-19 which put a halt to, well, just about everything.

But it was not all doom and gloom. Many have taken this time to focus on what matters in life, while others have beefed up their support of local industries to help the businesses hard hit by lockdowns and the like. The idea of ‘buying local and thinking global’ has taken off and wearing local designers has become all the rage.

Speaking of which, our talented fashion designers have slowly been taking over the world with Thebe Magugu and Rich Mnisi being featured in the pages of Vogue, Sindiso Khumalo winning Best Independent Designer at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, and Gert-Johan Coetzee’s designs being worn by the likes of Cardi B.

Some of our local designers were also responsible for the celebrity looks that made us gasp for all the right — and wrong — reasons this year.

Here, in no particular order, is our pick of the best and worst dressed A-listers of 2020:

BEST DRESSED

BONANG MATHEBA

Having already brought up the popularity of Mnisi, it would be remiss not to bring up some of his best designs. There was a stage during winter where we couldn’t scroll though Instagram without seeing celebs in their Rich Mnisi loungewear — including TV personality Bonang Matheba.

It’s no secret that we adore monotone looks and Queen B’s head-to-toe caramel ensemble has us craving chilly, rainy summer days so we can replicate it. Paired with bulky boots, glam sunglasses and almost every Louis Vuitton bag in existence, she elevated what’s essentially a matching tracksuit into the height of fashion.

YOLISWA MCOQO

Fashionista and model Yoliswa Mcoqo got our hearts fluttering with her new and improved take on the 1950s pin-up girl.

This regal polka-dotted number is equal parts demure and fashion-forward. It’s a graphic look made all the more stunning by her choice of high-contrast white accessorie and the pop of red on her lips and hat.

What makes it even better is that this ensemble heroes local design head-to-toe: the hat by master milliner Crystal Birch and the dress by Me and B.

It’s the ultimate upmarket summer brunch look that can easily be carried over into a night out on the town by switching the sunhat for a 2020-trendy beret.

SARAH LANGA

Always poised and relevant, influencer Sarah Langa is often spotted wearing either all white or all black, but it was this tan crocheted dress that stopped us in our tracks. If there’s ever been a more perfect summer look, we’ve yet to find it.

Not only is Langa wearing one of 2020’s trendiest colours, but it's her styling that makes this outfit. Her choppy bob, barely-there heels and slinky gold necklaces blend old-world style with a serious millennial twist.

Brilliant for a brunch in Jozi, it’s the sort of look that could also be worn at a pool or (legal) beach party with a chic swimsuit in the same colour underneath.

LERATO KGAMANYANE

Digital entrepreneur and influencer Lerato Kgamanyane solidified our hunch that sleepwear can be high fashion.

This PJ-chic look is all things delicious; from the colour of that rich material to those jaw-dropping Jimmy Choo heels, we cannot find a single fault.

 The elasticated ankle design brings a 2020 twist to this fluid silhouette, while her simple sleeked back hair allows the suit to be the centre of attention.

WORST DRESSED

PEARL THUSI

If only Pearl Thusi had taken a page out of Kgamanyane’s book when it came to her choice of suit for the recent KwaZulu-Natal Entertainment Awards.

With high fashion, fast fashion and local fashion designers all offering suits in an array of wonderful styles, we are shocked and saddened that the Queen Sono star would opt for this shiny, ill-fitting number in a colour combo that should never have seen the light of day.

A bell bottom pant would have been acceptable if it went all the way to the floor, but this ankle length is just ageing. The over-sized black lapels on her jacket are giving us serious Elvis Presley vibes and the length of it is odd and it draws our eyes to her thighs (which are gorgeous, but this probably was not her intention).

The only saving grace is her hair and make-up, otherwise this is a fail.

NOMZAMO MBATHA

Most people only have to think about one outfit per event, but then most people are as fabulous as actress Nomzamo Mbatha. She didn’t do just one or two costume changes while hosting this year’s Miss SA pageant, but five!

We can only imagine the pressure she was under to make each one better than the last, but perhaps she should have focused more on quality than quantity. Most of her looks fell flat and were the height of stereotypical pageant-fashion.

Our worst dress of the evening – and possibly the year – was this sparkly baby-blue velvet number which has more tassels than your grandmother’s curtains. Between all that embellishment and the asymmetric cut, there was just too much going on with this design.

Her styling didn't help matters: with a dress that loud, it’s best to keep your choice of hairstyle and accessories muted.

If Mbatha wanted to really let her glorious structural braided crown shine, she should have ditched the shimmering headpiece and opted for a simple black gown with a sweetheart neckline.

Nomzamo Mbatha in one of the five looks she wore while hosting the 2020 Miss SA pageant.
Nomzamo Mbatha in one of the five looks she wore while hosting the 2020 Miss SA pageant.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times
Rachel Kolisi at the SA Style Awards in Sandton, Johannesburg, on November 22 2020.
Rachel Kolisi at the SA Style Awards in Sandton, Johannesburg, on November 22 2020.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

RACHEL KOLISI

SA rugby’s leading lady Rachel Kolisi has seriously impressed us with the charitable work she and her Springbok husband, Siya, have been doing during the pandemic.

Sadly, we can’t say the same about the look she chose to wear to the 2020 SA Style Awards, where she collected her and her man’s “Most Stylish Couple” trophy.

If we were ranking smiles, Kolisi would have been top of the pops, but sadly this outfit had us doing everything but smiling. We gasped at the sheer shortness of the dress, shook our heads at the child-like silhouette and had a hearty guffaw at the terrible styling.

Not even sexy thigh-high boots, a bold lip and wavy locks could save this overly cutesy number. 

Rachel Kolisi at the SA Style Awards in Sandton, Johannesburg, on November 22 2020.
Rachel Kolisi at the SA Style Awards in Sandton, Johannesburg, on November 22 2020.
Image: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape

BLUE MBOMBO

Celebrity model and socialite Blue Mbombo is sadly not so celebrated on this list. From the frumpy colour combo to the doily-like appliques, this asymmetric mini dress is all kinds of wrong.

Her choice of shoes is also strange and not only because court heels are outdated. We get her wanting to match the colour of them to the darker tone of the dress, but the two shades clash.

If we were to try to save this look, we would toss those shoes and earrings in favour of strappy metallic heels and matching metallic jewellery, but truthfully we would want to toss the dress too.