WATCH | Celeb fave Gert-Johan Coetzee unveils Miss Universe SA's national costume
Beauty queen Natasha Joubert is 'delighted' with the gown, which she'll wear when she represents Mzansi at the Miss Universe pageant
Joburg designer Gert-Johan Coetzee is no stranger to creating show-stopping couture. In fact, it’s what his celebrity clients expect of him (he’s dressed everyone from Somizi Mhlongo to Cardi B).
Coetzee’s newest creation will not only turn heads but warms hearts. He’s designed the national costume that Miss Universe SA, Natasha Joubert, will wear when she competes in the Miss Universe pageant next month.
“I’m so excited about this dress because I love creating clothes with a story behind it,” said Coetzee in an Instagram video. “I’m a big advocate of fashion with a purpose and I think this national costume has got all of that.”
A corset top and figure-hugging skirt made from artfully-draped strands of beads give the gown a sexy edge. While its white hue and wing-like sleeves, which flutter into a long train, conjure up angelic thoughts.
Here’s where the story comes in — and it’s a sweet one. The fabric of the train has been digitally printed with illustrations by preschool children. These Gauteng youngsters were asked to draw pictures representing their “personal experiences of lockdown and how the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted their lives”.
“The children were amazing and came up with images that truly reflect the regulations of lockdown; some funny, others poignant and meaningful,” enthused Joubert, who was “delighted” and “moved” by their creations.
The children put “put so much feeling into the drawings”, said Hendrene Mintcher, principal of Toddies Pre-school and Creche in Randburg.
“They came up with images of greeting each other by knocking elbows, of them wearing masks, of social distancing and they showed what they’ve learnt about Covid-19 and the precautions necessary to prevent its spread.”
Fadziso Matanhike, Maths Clubs facilitator at Diepsloot based-Olico — an organisation that makes maths accessible to township children — added: “We are very proud that [the children’s] artwork will be worn by Miss Universe SA at the pageant, taking some of SA with her.”
Coetzee believes these “beautiful Covid-19-inspired drawings” not only express how challenging the past year has been, but also the growth that’s come from it, and so infuse the garment with a sense of hope and positivity.
The Miss Universe pageant will take place in Florida in the US on May 16 (02h00 to 05h00 on May 17 SA time). The reigning Miss Universe, SA’s Zozibini Tunzi, will be in attendance to crown her successor.