The gown, worn by Abongwe Qokela, stole the show at the 2019 Bokeh Fashion Film Festival, and took our hearts with it because of its celebration of Nguni ancestry and heritage.

First seen on the AFI Fashion Week runway as part of Imprint’s Autumn/Winter ‘20 collection, which saw a glorious performance by legendary storyteller Latozi ‘Madosini’ Mphahleni in April.

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Imprint designer, Mzukisi Mbane, says “the gown was the last look [of the show] and embodies what the collection was about; a celebration of my Nguni ancestors.

“This gown features in the print, faces and traditionally significant moments. The significance of this being; ‘I’m never alone and this is what makes me who I am’.”

Indeed, when Abongwe walked the red carpet she was not unaccompanied as she not only brought her mother as her date, but also carried history and cultural heritage embedded in the Imprint gown. The stylish content creator is also no stranger to 'best dressed' lists nor is she a stranger to the Bokeh festival’s red carpet and the Imprint brand.

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She looked regal in the printed, embellished gown with its hand-beaded blue, white and gold detail at the back – and took home the best dressed award at the Bokeh festival.

Coming full circle, Abongwe was dressed in Imprint in 2016 when she attended the festival for the first time, and of course, multiple times in between.

“I told [Mzukisi] I wanted drama and when I wore it, I fell in love with it and didn't care to try on my second option. The dress tells a story - it's over the top and that's what I wanted to be on the night. I wanted to be a moving art piece,” says Abongwe.

Abongwe accessorised the dress with gold statement earrings and a bright red lip. 

“I was starting to say my goodbyes and heading towards the exit when my friend called me screaming that I had won. It was such a beautiful moment and very special as my mother could experience it with me (she was my plus one).”

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This gown ended the festival weekend with a true red carpet moment that stopped everyone in their tracks.

Abongwe says, “these events are very important for highlighting South African fashion and also a good platform for the industry to live up to the narrative of it being glamorous (we all know that it's not all the time).

“These are the times we get to see each other as we are all busy pushing our passions, and these events give us an opportunity to dress up and celebrate each other.”

Who were your favourite red carpet looks at the Bokeh festival? Let us know here.

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