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SA designers get creative for the launch of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

On Sunday 16 April, Bridgerton fans and the who’s who of South Africa’s celebrity circles will be immersed into the world of debutantes and aristocracy for the launch of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

The series, written and produced by Shonda Rhimes, is a prequel spin-off about Queen Charlotte - a Bridgerton fan favourite character portrayed by actress Golda Rosheuvel.

The series also features the origin stories of much-loved characters, including Lady Danbury. The young Lady Danbury is played by breakout star Arsema Thomas, a thespian with roots in Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa.

The event will follow the theme ‘a high society Bridgerton garden party with a hint of afro-chic’.

One thing that Bridgerton’s Regency era and ‘afro-chic’ have in common is a bold, glamourous, and extravagant sense of style.

To celebrate this grand affair, the Queen Charlotte team reached out to four iconic South African designers, and presented them with the task of conceptualising innovative outfit ideas for Golda and Arsema.

The fashion houses involved - Orapeleng Modutle, Siyababa Atelier, Munkus, and Imprint - all approached the project with their signature design aesthetic and unique interpretation of the theme.


Luxury local fashion brand MUNKUS, by designer Thando Ntuli, is rooted in integrity, novelty and quality as a culture.

When designing the outfits, Ntuli says she was inspired by Bridgerton’s layering techiques, as well as Munkus’ own brand identity which also values layering.

“I knew that finding a balance between the show's romantic aesthetic and traditional South African fashion would be key,” she explains.

“To capture Golda’s regal energy, my goal was to create pieces that would allow her to take up space in any room she walked into, while also subtly showcasing her power and wealth. To do this, I focused on incorporating corset detailing, bold colours, and unique shapes into the designs. For Arsema, I was drawn to the idea of lace and draping, imagining a design that subtly conveyed her power and sophistication.

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun with this project and felt inspired by the challenge of interpreting the Bridgerton aesthetic through a South African lens. If given more time, I would have loved to explore additional looks or styles and prints, but I'm happy with the designs I was able to create and would have loved to see them come to life!”

Designs for Golda (left) and Arsema (right) by fashion house MUNKUS.


Orapeleng Modutle, of Style Avenue, is known for his excellent craftsmanship and over-the-top glamour. He says that he wanted to portray powerful and strong women with a demanding presence.

For Golda’s design, he says: “A powerful black woman who chooses roles that call for a theatrical look and a face that has more of a model-like twist. 53 years old. We intended to place her in a theater, where the standards for modern couture are met and her appearance is more costume-oriented. The delicate petals on her clothing were meant to draw attention to and engage her feminine side without overtly exposing it. Due to her involvement in the LGBT community, blue was the ideal, harmonious color to choose.“

For Arsema’s design, her was inspired by her character’s regal nature. “A sophisticated black woman who is aggressive and strong with a demanding presence. We aimed to portray and emanate a powerful woman. Purple is a regal hue that complements a woman with a brown complexion wonderfully. The structured cape gave it a more modern, youthful aspect. a rigid corset meant to symbolize a strong black woman,” he explains.

Designs for Golda (left) and Arsema (right) by Orapeleng Modutle.


Siyababa Atelier, founded by Siyabonga Mtshali in 2019, is a contemporary fashion brand with a strong multidisciplinary ethos that houses, nurtures and elevates the many dialogues of the diaspora.

For this project, Siyababa envisoned Golda and Arsema as dominant and powerful women; women who are not feared but loved. “The beauty of flowers blossoming and reintroducing themselves to the season were core inspiration.”

Designs for Golda (left) and Arsema (right) by Siyababa Atelier.


Much-loved South African brand, Imprint, is known for it’s maximalist aesthetic and use of unique prints. Their designs celebrate the stories and glamour of our African ancestors with a very modern and futuristic feel.

For this project, designer Mzukisi Mbane, says that he wanted to create something that was true to the brand’s aesthetic, and he was inspired by two previous Imprint looks: “Our GQ cover with Elsa Majimbo and our AFI 2018 dress that was nominated as the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa.

Designs for Golda (left) and Arsema (right) by Mzukisi Mbane of Imprint.

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