Own the night

Party season is in session – go bold or go home with glamorous styles and decadent textures

Words: Rosie Goddard | Photography: Neil Roberts @ Hero Creative Management | Styling: Phendu Kuta 

Filled with spontaneous decisions, over-the-top parties, and meeting the people who make every night out more fun than the last, the festive season is as intense as it is liberating, but oh, what a wondrous time it is. When else do you get such a long list of reasons to dance your nights away, kiss whoever takes your fancy and dress like the shiniest of disco balls?

If your bank account’s still looking full and your social calendar isn’t jam packed – well, then you may not be doing party season right. Up the glam factor, stock up on sequined dresses and prepare to dance your way into the New Year; this is no time for doing anything by half measures.

Our most recent shoot captured the essence of the season and we spoke to the team involved to discover more.

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The concept

“The idea was to showcase South African nightlife as it really is, in all its gritty-yet-glamorous glory”, says The Way of Us managing editor Melanie. “We wanted to capture that ‘Girls just wanna have fun’ approach to party dressing” adds stylist Phendu Kuta, “high energy, shimmery, bold and in your face.”

The look

Dark, intense and edgy – think 70s disco meets New Year’s eve. High-octane glamour was the order of the day with molten metallics and tactile textures taking centre stage. The models were showered in sequins and dressed in sky-high heels; ideal for a summer of after-dark city adventures.

The location

For this shoot we ventured far from the shores of Cape Town to the streets of Braam in Joburg. Undoubtedly one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the country, it was a natural fit for the campaign. Shooting was split between an empty club and the deserted midnight streets. “We tried roller-skating on the street of Braam” adds the photographer, Neil. “None of us knew how and it’s a wonder we are all still alive.”

The photographer

There was only one person we envisaged doing this shoot: Neil Roberts, the co-founder of Cape Town’s infamous Diskotekah parties and a star of this blog post. Discussing the shoot, Neil describes how he created the look and feel of a night on the town. “I like to call this shoot BRATPICS420. My boyfriend (Gavin Mikey Collins) and I started shooting our parties and backstage at fashion shows using a few tricks to try create and capture an energy that is present at events like this. We don’t use Photoshop so all has to be done with the camera and clever lighting. Shooting in Joburg for the first time also added to the exciting energy and this came across in the pictures.

The models

After including them on the Superbalist 100, we knew it was only a matter of time before we would work with the Ribane siblings again and what a pleasure it was. Striking and utterly suited to the look of the campaign, they possessed an uncanny knack for working the camera. The other models were discovered in Joburg and just as gorgeous – Anke was spotted at a street casting and we've wanted to shoot with her ever since, while Ashley's amazing Instagram account is what sold her.

The stylist

As the founder and editor of the ultra-edgy online magazine Unlabelled, Phendu Kuta is used to styling a slightly different aesthetic. “The shoot was more mainstream than my work but I found myself adjusting as I went. I think in order to be great at anything, you need to be flexible. The shoot had an amazing energy and as we bonded I styled pieces according to the models’ personalities. One of my favourite shots was definitely the one with Manthe Ribane in the blue velvet shift dress”.