This past Saturday was the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa’s 2nd annual gala dinner, which they hosted to raise money so that when the museum opens next year, for one day a week entrance will be free to all. As is always the case when it comes to black tie events, I didn’t have anything to wear. I’ve never been one for formalwear so I’ve never invested in a tux. Big mistake. The event was to start at 18h30 on Saturday and by 18h00 I had to accept that my outfit solution did not hang in my own wardrobe. I called my friend Lindiwe in an absolute panic. What would I do? Was I about to embarrass myself by wearing some shitty outfit in a sea of fancy dresses? The invite asked for black tie or contemporary African dress code. Was I to be the one person dressed as ‘sloppy African’?
We decided that perhaps I should go super dramatic and yet familiar, so everyone would be fooled by the drama and not ask too many questions. Lindiwe quickly sent an Uber with a dramatic tulle cape, which I was going to wear with a black floor length kaftan. The Uber arrived just as I discovered that my kaftan had lost the buttons on its neck placket, plus the damn thing no longer fit the way it used to. No matter which way I tried it, the outfit simply didn’t work. I looked like a candidate for ‘Skattie What The Fucking Fuck Awards’. You can imagine the stress skat, it’s now 18h30 and there’s no solution in sight. What to do? Shall I miss the year’s hottest invite – which is R5000, 00 a seat by the way. I swear if I’d actually missed it I might have popped out to the nearest shop, bought a sharp instrument and stayed home for an exciting Saturday night of self-harm.
Thankfully, I remembered that I had designer Julia Bass’s amazing coat, quite co-incidentally too. She is one of the designers we were showing at our SKATTIE stand at That Art Fair in Woodstock last week, and I’d just taken the coat home with me a couple of hours earlier as Sandiso and I closed our stand for the day. I quickly whatsapped her to ask if I could wear it. This coat would solve everything. As soon as she said yes I was out the door, shoe laces still untied and coat draped over my arm to be worn when I get to the venue. Phew!
Then, as I drove into the parking area of the venue security guards kept trying to direct me to a different parking lot, and I was like, “but I’m coming here, to this event.” So Mr Security Guard says to me, “Okay, what are you delivering sir?”. WTF? Did this mofo just…? I had to calm down quick and accept that my big ass car was filled with boxes and rails and clothes because of all the stuff we were moving around for our stand at the abovementioned art fair. Add to that the ill-fitting kaftan as yet uncovered by a designer coat… you get the picture. I passed the man my invite and drove into the parking lot.
At this stage, I could see a sea of black tuxedos as I went to park. I got out the car, draped the coat over my shoulders, and felt amazing as I walked in. For once, I was even looking forward to doing the whole red carpet pictures thing, which I normally avoid.
Unfortunately as I walked in under the marquee the sweat started to drip. Fuck! Hot as it was, there was not way I was taking that coat off, but then with sweat dripping off my face there was also no way I would do any red carpet business *facepalm*. My hand held fan has never worked harder! 10 minutes under that marquee and I had to run to the restroom, sit down, dry my sweaty face and give myself a pep talk which helped calm me down a lot. Unfortunately, just as I was starting to feel all upbeat, I looked down and my shoelaces had been untied throughout my entrance. “What a fucking hot mess you are Mali!” I thought. At this stage I said fuck it, ran to the bar and started downing those cocktails. Thankfully I ran into my friend Hanneli and for a while I was distracted from my own messy self as we made fun of other people’s outfits. That was so healing. Thank you tall white guy in the head to toe traditional ‘African’ outfit, you were so literal, you were so healing.