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An eye for fashion – Brenda Khambule on dressing the stars of Mrs Right Guy

By 28 June 2021No Comments


The partnership between fashion and film has been a love affair ever since the movie industry started. Costume design is one of the most important factors in filmmaking. That’s why the team behind South Africa’s latest romcom, ‘Mrs Right Guy’, which stars Dineo Moeketsi as the lovelorn Gugu Hlatshwayo, brought fashion designer Brenda Khambule on board to dress the cast.

“Films transport us to a different world,” says Khambule. “It makes us fantasise about each character and escape on a visual journey. It’s not just the actors’ relationship with their characters and the setting that places us firmly in the story; the clothes each character wears helps identify them. They can make the characters interesting and believable, sad or funny, good or evil.”

A well-known fashion editor, stylist, and wardrobe designer for the magazine, film and television industries, Khambule went mostly for local designers. “We tried to marry every character to a designer, which was a great concept. Thula Sindi, known for his exquisite and delicately crafted masterpieces, was very forward thinking in this regard. He went above and beyond to accommodate us. We also chose pieces by Mimi Spunk (Millicent Nkangane), Carducci, and Kent and Jones to add to the mix, all of which are well known brands.”

Along with the script, actors and music, the clothing worn throughout a film has a very important role to fulfil, Khambule says. “Gugu is an ‘It Girl’, which made the choice of wardrobe for her a key element,” says Khambule. “Fashion in a film influences how the audience sees the characters. In Mrs Right Guy, they are young, attractive and trendy. To make them believable and realistic, we went for an aspirational, yet attainable look that represents urban Johannesburg.”

The film homes in on Gugu’s story. She is beautiful and desired by everyone. Being raised by Gog’ Agnes has saved her, with the older woman warning her off boys and their slippery ways. Raising laughs as well as hope for those who have been wounded by love, the film follows Gugu as fate introduces her to two eligible young men – serial seducer Dumile (Thapelo Mokoena) and regular good guy Joe (Lehasa Moloi). One is a sure-fire way to heartbreak, and the other a guaranteed ticket to true love and happiness.

Khambule says the aim was to make the choice of wardrobe fresh, and appealing to both a local and global audience. “In choosing the clothing for each character, we were careful to ensure that their look was a true extension of their film persona.”

Commenting on what she enjoyed most about her work on the film, Khambule says it was the chance to play every day. “The producers and director briefed us all so well that my team was simply an extension of their vision from beginning to end.”

When she’s not on set, Khambule specialises in image and style consultations. She launched her own clothing brand, Inspired by Brenda Khambule, in 2015. Today she supplies bespoke clothing suited to the individual’s lifestyle and body shape. Most recently, she was in charge of wardrobe for ‘Mfolozi Street’, a drama series on SABC1. She received a South African Music Awards (SAMA) nomination for her costume design on ‘iNumber Number’, as well as South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTA) nominations for best wardrobe designer for the TV series ‘Single Guys’ and the film ‘Swartwater’ in 2013. She is a Deputy Chair on the 2016 SAFTA adjudication panel.                             

‘Mrs Right Guy’ is directed by Adze Ugah. It was funded by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), in association with Gauteng Film Commission and The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). A Fuze Films production, the film was produced by Dumi Gumbi, Kethiwe Ngcobo, Mokopi Shale and Cati Weinek. The film is being distributed in South Africa by Indigenous Film Distribution.


Mrs Right Guy opens at cinemas nationally on 27 May 2016.

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David alex wilson

Mad Moth Communications

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