Araffa Mpungwe, fashion intern:
I got to make Solange rooibos tea – one teaspoon of sugar and no milk. I thought I would be immune to being starstruck, but I made sure to remember her order like I do my ID number. Fantastic two days on set. All in all, it was an exhilarating experience.
Asanda Sizani, fashion editor:
Solange is a true ELLE Belle. Her eclectic, vibrant style inspires so many people. Not only is she a style icon, she juggles motherhood and her career seamlessly too. I was with the ELLE team to meet Solange the day before the shoot at Roodebloem Studios. The day was set aside for Solange to try on all the outfits the fashion department had sourced.
She walked in dressed in a tangerine blazer, fuchsia wide-leg pants and bright lips. She was warm, open and friendly. After a meeting with Jackie, she quickly selected the pieces she loved the most. My highlight was Solange picking out and putting on the Loin Cloth & Ashes shorts, Tart top and Pichulik rope bracelets. As soon as she emerged from the changing room, I thought: ‘That’s the cover outfit.’
She teamed brights, prints and different textures, and wore clothes by South African designers. I love the cover – it’s my favourite one of the year. The yellow background is perfect for her sunny personality. This was a big fashion coup for us, and I am proud to be part of the ELLE team.
Lynette Botha, beauty editor:
It was amazing to see Solange in person; her bubbly personality shines through and she is such a natural beauty. I love that she embraces her natural hair and she has flawless skin, but I must say, she was even more striking after she stepped out of the hair and make-up room. Hairstylist Kevin Epstein worked his magic and make-up artist Algria Ferreira used Rimmel’s Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation on her skin (she is the face of this amazing new foundation range), as well as adding bright, matte orange lips. I felt so lucky to be on set and see the whole thing come together.
Jackie Burger, editor:
There are moments in an editor’s world that go beyond our wildest dreams, but then again, some of them come true precisely because we have the power to imagine – and because we are constantly entertaining ideas that will whet your appetite for the unexpected and delight you with the style and substance ELLE stands for.
Poppy Evans, fashion director:
Shooting Solange Knowles was an amazing experience, but not one without challenges. When styling models, it’s great if they like the clothes, but they never get a say in the wardrobe choices. Shooting celebrities, especially those of Solange’s status, is another story altogether. Solange didn’t want to wear everything that I suggested to her, but, thanks to her amazing personal style, this wasn’t a sartorial issue. It was really encouraging to see how much she appreciated our local designers and in today’s market we need the kind of exposure that people like Solange can provide for South African talent. She was completely natural in front of the camera and it was amazing to see her perform and sing.
Jenna Robbertse, deputy editor:
The last shot of the day was my best moment. The shoot was a huge success. She looked fantastic and the team worked exceptionally hard on the project. It was a ‘phew, we did it’ moment.
Sarah Koopman, features writer:
The drive to the airport seemed to take forever and I had to constantly remind myself to breathe – I am a huge fan of the Knowles family. Even after a long flight, Solange still looked fresh and beautiful and greeted us all so warmly.
My interview with her was an incredible experience. We sat in her penthouse at 15 on Orange on the Thursday night and chatted while she had her nails done. It didn’t feel like a formal interview at all, and we chatted our way through the points I wanted to cover. The sense I got throughout the interview was that she is a real person; a young mom who is doing what she loves.
Tarryn Oppel, fashion editor:
A highlight for me, besides meeting her of course, was seeing her work her magic in the studio. At one stage there was a total of 15 minutes where I just stood and watched her – it was such a ‘pinch me, I must be dreaming’ moment. Being able to witness all the pre-production work come together is something I’ll never forget, and I felt so proud to be part of the ELLE team.
What Solange wore on the cover: Tart top, Loin Cloth & Ashes shorts, and Pichulik rope bracelets. To view behind-the-scenes footage of Solange embasking in South Afirican designer fashions click here.