This year’s Vodacom Durban July is going virtual on 25 July, which means that ‘event-goers’ will have to show off their fabulous fashion from the comfort of their own homes and not at the Greyville racetrack

Nevertheless, Durban bridal designer Hanrie Lues – who is a guest designer at the VDJ 2020 Raceday show – has given us fashion tips on how to rock this year’s theme.

What is your take on the theme of this year’s show – ‘Butterflies’?

With the current world around us being in such a dramatic season of transition & change, I find it truly fitting that the theme of this year’s Vodacom Durban July is ‘Butterflies’.

The eternal symbol of transformation & metamorphosis. Butterflies remind us that we can go through a great deal of darkness, yet become something beautiful.

Can you share a teaser of what we can expect from you from the VDJ fashion?

It was this thought of metamorphosis that inspired me to develop the idea for my VDJ 2020 Raceday garment. A historical event this year, the VDJ will be taking place amidst the uncertainty & anxiety of COVID-19. It is for this reason, that I am determined to bring to life a creation that speaks of renewal & rebirth.

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VODACOM DURBAN JULY 2020 – We are so excited to announce that Hanrie Lues Bridal has been invited to participate as one of this year’s GUEST DESIGNERS at the @vodacomdurbanjuly 🎉🦋🥂 The theme for this year’s VDJ is BUTTERFLIES 🦋🥰 This year the July will take place behind closed doors, in a historical never before seen scenario. So to be asked to participate as one of the guest designers during this momentous occasion, is truly an honor. History will surely be made for this year’s #vodacomdurbanjuly and we will have front row seats to all the action! So make sure to follow along with us on all our platforms as we share some behind-the-scenes sneaks leading up to raceday.

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An elevation from earthly matters, focusing more on the spiritual transition into something new & beautiful. Looking ahead to the future – free of pandemic, but forever altered. We can’t and never will be the same as a nation or as a people after this experience. My hope is that my garment will embody all of these ideas.

The garment will be designed with the use of our signature textiles & laces, combining hand-made elements & meticulous tailoring. Harnessing all the elements that the Hanrie Lues Bridal brand is known for, translated into the perfect race-day ensemble.

It will feature not only the traditional race-day headgear, but also the necessary safety element of a cloth mask. All of which being thoughtfully created and styled, in a way that emphasises the elegance & cutting edge sophistication of the Vodacom Durban July event.

What fashion tips would you give those attending this year’s virtual show?

Have fun with the theme, make it your own! Don’t worry too much about following a trend, rather focus on diving a bit deeper into the symbolism of the butterfly. What it means in different cultures and what it could mean for you personally.

Don’t be too literal, rather approach the theme from an abstract or more spiritual angle.


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The Vodacom Durban July will throw open the gates on a new ensemble for life in lockdown as Africa’s Greatest Horseracing event prepares to thrill fans and fashionistas with an historic 2020 version of this iconic race. #VDJ2020 is the first major horseracing event and the first Vodacom sponsorship event to be hosted since the start of lockdown, and with a racing and fashion line-up that includes the drama of a possible hat-trick of wins for “Do It Again”, the thrill of a nationwide design competition, support for local small businesses that have been hardest hit by COVID-19, and daily data prizes in the build-up to race day. The #VDJ2020 fashion theme is ‘Butterflies’, reflecting the social butterflies who are still managing to #StayConnected to their passion for fashion during lockdown. And because masks are in vogue as the new fashion trend, Vodacom will be challenging all aspiring designers, artists, seamstresses and anyone with an eye for beauty to enter a nationwide mask design competition. The only design criteria is that the new glam fashion masks must include the ‘Butterfly’ theme. Aspiring designers can submit their version of the most talked-about fashion accoutrement of 2020 via Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #VDJ2020 and #StayConnected. Entries can be already completed masks or mock-ups of masks, and will be judged by a panel of leading Vodacom Durban July influencers, including Rina Chunga of @richfactory, drag queen @babaganoosh__ , celebrity makeup artists @nomsamadida and @diva_cadach, fashionistas @ilovemelmo and @nolusindiso_mchunu, celebrity stylist @krayzi_k and actor @kay_sibiya. The butterfly effect of this year’s Vodacom Durban July is bound to keep the pulses racing with an historic edition of Africa’s Greatest Horseracing event – look out for more details on our pages over the next few weeks.

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We’ve seen a new trend for bridal face masks among designers – Are you seeing more brides request this?

Most of my brides have honestly chose to post-pone their weddings until things have calmed down slightly. But we have definitely seen a movement internationally towards couture face masks. Many massive design houses have introduced masks into their latest runway collections and many have integrated masks into the garment itself. There is most certainly a global mind-set shift towards masks and personal protection against the spread of COVID-19.

This major event has filtered through and influenced every single industry on planet earth, with the fashion & bridal market always trying to make the best of a tough situation, by creating beauty from a seemingly sombre ‘accessory’ item!

We definitely have the option for our brides though, who would like to have a matching mask made for their big day. And this year for the first time, we will be designing masks for the Durban July as well!