The internet has not stopped buzzing since the Vodacom Durban July rolled out the red carpet at the Greyville Racecourse over the weekend because a day at the races is not only about the horses, but the attendees' modish looks as well. 

With this year's theme being 'Once Upon an African Future', what we expected to see was a lush offering of African regalia and traditional attire - prints, headgear, and beads - not as Wakandan caricatures of themselves, but in their tastefully tailored forms. 

Scintillating as the red carpet looks were, that is however, not what we were served. 

READ MORE: This is what a Vogue editor has to say about where South Africa is headed in terms of luxury fashion 

But don't despair - our appetite for Afrofuturism was satisfied by the runway collections presented at the Vodacom VIP Paddock on Saturday. 

In collaboration with Vodacom Red - Laduma Ngxokolo of Maxhosa Africa, Rina Chunga Kutuma of Ri.ch Factory and Sindiso Khumalo (of namesake label) - each created 5 different Afrofuturism-inspired looks, presenting their idea of an African future that is "optimistic, chic, vibrant and relevant, with powerful symbols of cultural transference appearing within their individual aesthetics." 

According to Michelle van Eyden, Head of Vodacom Sponsorships, the purpose of this show was to "capture the essence of what it means to be African and an excitement about the future," and they certainly executed this well. 

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“Punish Day” #VDJ2019

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"As a brand, we are proud to be have been a partner of this amazing project,” Michelle added. 

Staying true to the DNA of their respective labels, this is what each of the three local designers put into their Afrofuturistic collections:

Laduma Ngxokolo

It’s always a wonderful experience to see how people use fashion and creativity to represent what they’re all about, especially at a prestigious melting pot of an event like Vodacom Durban July.

We may be a little too late for the Durban July, but an item we're coveting here is a pair of those geometric print stockings. 

African designers at the Durban July

Sindiso Khumalo 

The inspiration for this collection was a combination of looking at the past, but also paying homage to our roots and our unique African storytelling. The materials I used like the red denim and bespoke print, designed specifically for this show, were all tributes to women empowerment - a message that the future is female.

Because the races are always an ideal occasion to parade avant garde headgear, a special mention must be given to Sindiso Khumalo's choice of hat pairing with her playful prints. 

African designers at the Durban July

Rina Chunga Kutuma 

Literally being a child of the SADC region – I was born in Zambia, raised in Botswana and SA is my home – it has been inspiring for me to have been working alongside Vodacom Red to celebrate our innate sense of Ubuntu. I believe the African aesthetic is evolving. It’s borrowing from the past, and visualising the future to believe in the present. It’s an exciting time to be creative on the continent.

The tulle details added an edge we can appreciate to this collection.

African designers at the Durban July

READ MORE: This Johannesburg-based artist has put a local stamp on Louis Vuitton's iconic Capucines bag 

And now, for W24's top 3 best dressed list:

Linda Mtoba

"I have to give my 'Best Dressed' award to Linda Mtoba for her and McCarthy Wolff's reimagination of the animal print Zulu vest meets Kim K's archival Alaïa garment." - Afika 

Mihlali Ndamase

"My top look from this year's #VDJ19 would have to be Mihlali Ndamase, who hit the spot in her white sequinned figure-hugging dress that was tailored to perfectly compliment her curves." - Marilynn 

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VDJ’19 ?? Ph. @maverick.seizure

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Dr Sindi van Zyl

"Dr Sindi is a monochromatic dream in this tulle dress, and she also gave us a races-appropriate touch with her lace fascinator - that's why she's my best dressed." - Phelokazi


Images: Supplied

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