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WITH just two months to go until the 2016 Vodacom Durban July, racegoers can look forward to an exhilarating spectacle at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 2 July based on the theme “Leader of the Pack.”

Gold Circle’s Event Marketing Manager Ken Tweddell is responsible for the theme each year, and says the 2016 theme concept stemmed from the raceday’s reputation as one of the world’s great racing occasions.

“The Vodacom Durban July is Africa’s Greatest Horseracing Event and as such is the ‘Leader of the Pack’ and the theme just grew from there,” said Tweddell.

Fashion Programme director Tiffany Prior said the 2016 theme gave fashion lovers and socialites plenty of scope for their creativity, and warned racegoers to guard against interpreting the theme too literally.

“As always, remember that this is an elegant raceday, not theatre or a ball,” said Prior.

“The theme has a lot of exciting elements to work with,” she added. “Red is a big colour this season, so use the red and black from the cards, and perhaps look at the base colour of white as well. You can never go wrong with black, it is always classical and elegant.”

Prior advised fashionistas to go a little deeper and rather use the theme as a basis for some investigation and research before settling on a conceptual design.

“Why not look into the historical origin of playing cards or the four suits?” probed Prior. “There is a huge resource of history and tradition that can be the point of departure for a successful fashion design. Have some fun and be clever, and avoid being too obvious.”

As another suggestion Prior hinted at the rounded shape of playing cards as inspiration for the design. “And then always make sure that what you are thinking of is on trend and fashion forward!” she said.

While the theme adds a distinctive character to the race every year, Tweddell stressed that the race day remained a stylish and elegant affair.

“Through its theme for the 2016 Vodacom Durban July, Gold Circle continues on its quest to encourage racegoers to dress smartly at this internationally respected race meeting,” said Tweddell.

“Racegoers are encouraged to use elements from a pack of cards for inspiration in their choice of raceday outfits,” he added.

Tweddell spends many months formulating the theme for the Vodacom Durban July every year, and tries to make it as relevant as possible to the issues uppermost on people’s minds.

“Conceptualisation of the theme usually starts by examining newsworthy items,” said Tweddell. “For example the 2011 theme “A Right Royal Affair” came about because of the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in that year. The thought process for the 2012 theme, “A Material World”, paid respect to “Saving the planet” which was uppermost in South African minds because of the COP17 United Nations Climate Change Conference which was held in Durban in late 2011.

“If there is nothing newsworthy that can be used positively for the theme then it’s a matter of searching for an idea that can be linked to the race and to fashion,” said Tweddell.

The 2016 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 2 July. More information can be found at