Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
AWARD-winning designer Thembani Mubochwa, the man behind Jah Prayzah and wife’s fur outfits that caused controversy at the National Arts Merit Awards, says the couple deliberately settled for that look as they wanted to send tongues wagging.
The fur outfits hogged the limelight as this was a new trend which most said did not suit the artiste and was not relevant in Zimbabwe as there was no snow.
Last year, Mubochwa — who made a name for himself in South Africa after having dressed big artistes like the late Sifiso Ncwane — landed a deal to design outfits for Jah Prayzah. He has been commended by many for getting Jah Prayzah out of his comfort zone by convincing him to dress trendy.
But on Saturday, it seemed Mubochwa really went overboard when he dressed Jah Prayzah in a brown fur coat, black top and maroon chinos. This really got people talking as some did not fancy the outfit which they felt was a bit over the top for their artiste whom they were used to seeing in military wear.
Rufaro, Jah Prayzah’s beau on the other hand, wore a white gown that was completed with a fur throw that resembled a long chiffon. Some said she should have done away with the chiffon which seemed quite heavy as if she had borrowed it from Jah Prayzah. Her dress, they said, was amazing but was destroyed by the fur.
But Mubochwa was a happy man saying for him, it was mission accomplished as the outfits were driven by a desire to get Zimbabweans and the world talking about fashion.
“I’m actually excited because this is what we wanted. The agenda was that people should talk about the outfits. People must be talking about the fashion on the red carpet after the awards. It however, has to be in a good way and not bad where some people walk naked like we have seen at other shows,” said Mubochwa.
He said Jah Prayzah’s look was reserved and tailor made specifically for celebrities like him.
“When we designed the fur coat, we wanted to be trendsetters, thinking outside the box. We didn’t want to be like everyone else. Jah Prayzah was not supposed to just appear on the red carpet, he was supposed to be a showstopper and I’m glad he did just that,” said Mubochwa.
“What Jah Prayzah was wearing was not made for the ordinary man. It’s an outfit made for superstars, people who don’t belong to the crowd.”
Quizzed about Rufaro’s fur chiffon, Mubochwa said it was inspired by Cookie Lyon from the hit series Empire.
“She was supposed to complete the king and queen look between the two.”
Mubochwa said hopefully with this outfit, Zimbabwe’s fashion scene can be noticed internationally.
“It’s supposed to showcase Zimbabwe’s fashion scene so that when the world is watching us, they’ll know that they shouldn’t expect the ordinary from us, especially our artistes,” he said.
“Jah Prayzah is the star and we use him as the vehicle with outfits out there in the world.”