IN PICTURES: Behind the seams of the new Miss SA's pageant wardrobe
Winning Miss SA 2017 must have been a dream come true for Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in more ways than one.
Not only did she bag the title, a glittering crown and prizes worth a whopping total of R2-million rand — including R1-million cash! — but she also had the opportunity to wear several custom gowns by local A-list designers during the pagent.
And, according to a press release, the new Miss SA enjoys playing dress up. "My ultimate 'me time' would definitely be getting ready in the morning. I love being a girl and playing around with make-up or trying new hair styles when I have time," Nel-Peters says.
The 21-year-old cut an elegant figure as she stepped onto the stage for the first time in a figure-hugging white gown by Leonard Lindeque of Leo Validus.
Next she showed off her sporty side in a hot pink-and-black two-piece swimsuit.
She looked pretty and poised in a ballerina pink, tea length gown, which was inspired by the pageant's protea emblem, and created by a final year design student from the University of Johannesburg.
Celebrity designers Quiteria Kekana and George Malelu of Quiteria & George created something a bit saucier for Nel-Peters to wear: an inky, off-the-shoulder dress which brought to mind a babydoll negligee.
For her crowning moment, Nel-Peters donned a pale green gown by designer Anel Botha, whose client list includes the likes of Amanda Du Pont and Rolene Strauss.
Botha was tasked with dressing all 12 of the top contestants for the finale. The inspiration behind the gowns, she says, was the pageant's protea-and-diamond emblem. She explains that her use of sheer fabrics and Swarovski crystals are a nod to a diamond's translucence and sparkle, while the pastel colour palette, flowing skirts and floral details reflect SA's national flower.
Each dress was also custom-designed to fit each finalist's personality. "Demi-Leigh's a girly girl, but she's also a strong woman," says Botha, explaining that she highlighted these two sides to Nel-Peter's character by creating a gown that both conceals and reveals her figure. While her choice of colour and fabric reinforce the fact the the new Miss SA is "ladylike and feminine".