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The owner of SIBISI, the art gallery that opens its doors in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg this evening, is a fashion addict who counts Valentino, David Tlale, Thula Sindi and Elie Saab among her favourite designers. At tonight’s opening, she tells me she’ll be dressed in a ball gown designed by the latter along with a pair of Jimmy Choos.
“I’ve always been into art,” says the 25 year-old, “Growing up in rural KwaZulu-Natal, I’ve always been a creative and it started with me as a person, wrapping myself up in black plastics and imagining that I’m dressed in haute couture.”
Thandi says she has no particular personal fashion icons but draws her style inspiration from everything she does as well as her cultural background. The Elie Saab gown she’ll be wearing tonight, she adds, will be accessorised with a Zulu hat (isicholo), which she designed and had made by crafters in Mahlabathini, northern KZN. “I’m a very traditional woman and I see my body as my canvas, which I wake up everyday wanting to paint.”
But don’t be fooled into thinking that Thandi is into just wearing ball gowns and tutus- something she tells me she is wearing during our short telephone conversation- she has a chameleon-like style. “Sometimes you’ll find me in a Tom Ford men’s suit, paired with Converse All Stars,” she chuckles, “I also own a lot of bow ties.”