The only place to be on the last Saturday of January is Kenilworth Racecourse in Cape Town. This year is no different as the South African social scene converges at The Sun Met celebrated with Mumm Champagne on January 28. Fashion takes centre stage on the day and styling is a big part of preparing for the event. This year, the theme of the event is "Decades of Glamour", which allows guests the chance to take their style inspiration in any direction.
We chatted to fashion editor and curator Asanda Sizani about her Race Day Edit with TopShop South Africa and got some insider information on just how to style your look for the big day. With decades of fashion experience under her belt — having worked as a model, stylist and consultant — Sizani has explored all aspects of the industry and credits her love for it with always remaining curious.
What is the Race Day Edit collaboration all about?
TopShop is known for international collaborations with style influencers under a banner called "Edited By". TopShop X Asanda Sizani is a range I have hand-picked with the Sun Met celebrated with Mumm Champagne in mind. My task was to put together an edit of hero items which make up a capsule collection. It's me highlighting specific essentials to customers that they can wear to the races, and beyond.
How did the collaboration with TopShop come about?
TopShop South Africa approached me to curate a range which would live in a designated area in each store. I am all about creative collaborations and I knew that some of my favourite international style voices — like Man Repeller, Julia Sarr Jamois and Susie Bubble — had edited for TopShop, so of course I agreed! I was honoured to have been selected to do my own edit in South Africa. Seeing my name on the window of this global retailer was a dream come true.
What was your process for selecting the collection the way you did?
I thought of the customer, current trends, where fashion is heading, and what I would want to wear to the races from TopShop. We waited for new merchandise to be shipped here, and once it arrived, I visited a flagship store and went through all the brand new merchandise. I personally tried on every garment as I wanted to ensure that I am recommending something of quality. I wanted the range to be cohesive, rich in texture and print, and create a beautiful visual story. I am a person of colour and I wanted the range to represent me, but also be appealing to existing customers as well as attract new ones.
Why did you pick the pieces you did and how did you put them together?
I have an eclectic and experimental approach to fashion. I am a former art student, so am naturally drawn to artistic prints and put together ideas that have art and femininity at its core. The aim was to bring a diverse range of TopShop pieces together for people to be able to mix and match to their hearts' content. It's possible to wear head-to-toe retail items but still hold on to your individual style. Each piece has ability to look great on its own, as well as offer endless styling solutions.
What is your favourite piece in the collection and why?
I think the velvet, floral cross-body bag is the collection's highlight. I enjoy craftsmanship and an artistic quality to clothing, and this bag ticks those boxes. The flowers are embroidered onto the velvet textile. It's just big enough to carry essentials and transitions from day to night really well. I'm obsessed with it!
How would you describe your mood board for the edit?
A collage that consists of Pantone's Rose Quartz, flowers, soft femininity, fluidity, romantic textures such as satins and lace, Asian inspiration and brushstrokes.
What are your tips for getting ready for the Sun Met celebrated with Mumm Champagne?
Choose lightweight, soft fabrics. A breezy dress or wide leg trouser also shoots beautifully and moves well in the wind. Don't compromise on comfort — it can be a long day and you want to feel good while looking good. The TopShop X Asanda Sizani Edit features fluid shapes and super-comfortable items that you can wear with ease and not have to worry about pulling and tugging on your too-tight dress. I think there is luxury in comfort.
Are there any race day trends that we should be keeping an eye out for?
A shift away from the clichéd maxi dress and hat to fresher alternatives like jumpsuits and printed shorts suits. Hair has become an important accessory, so look out for modern hairstyles like faux dreadlocks and pin-straight, eyelash grazing bangs.
How do you think the season's biggest trends will feature at events like the Sun Met celebrated with Mumm Champagne?
I think we will see rosey hues, art-inspired prints, daytime metallics, voluminous shapes and over-the-top decorative accessories. My edit features a baroque-style Alice band that is such a fun accessory to add glamour to the simplest look. I think it's important to think about the theme of the event you are attending, think about the predictable approach, and then think about how you will do the complete opposite for a new and fresh take on that theme.