Miss SA hopefuls' childhood memories inspire their glam gowns for the finale

Designers take us behind the seams of the custom outfits they've created for the finalists of the 2021 Miss SA pageant

16 October 2021 - 11:30
Miss SA hopefuls Tiffany Francis and Lalela Mswane in rehearsals for the finale of the 2021 Miss SA pageant.
Miss SA hopefuls Tiffany Francis and Lalela Mswane in rehearsals for the finale of the 2021 Miss SA pageant.
Image: Yolanda van der Stoep/Miss SA

Ten inspiring women from around the country will be competing in the Miss SA finale in Cape Town on Saturday.

While they’re vying for the right to wear the ultimate accessory — the pageant’s dazzling uBuhle crown they’ll be modelling outfits by some of the country’s most talented designers.

BRIGHT BEGINNINGS

Everyone knows first impressions count, right? That’s why the finalists will make their debut in boldly coloured outfits with a distinctly African design.

GOING SWIMMINGLY

Designer Tracy Efstathiou of TracyB Swimwear is no stranger to showcasing her work on the Miss SA stage — she created the costumes for the swimwear section of the 2020 pageant.

Miss SA 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida and first runner-up Thato Mosehle in swimsuits by TracyB Swimwear at the 2020 Miss SA pageant.
Miss SA 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida and first runner-up Thato Mosehle in swimsuits by TracyB Swimwear at the 2020 Miss SA pageant.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

This year we are using very natural, earthy colours — soft and feminine with long, floating kaftans. I’m very excited about these designs; they’re completely different to my normal barely-there bikinis, but still very sexy and classy,” she says.

For Efstathiou, it was important that all the contestants felt confident in the outfits she'd created. “Swimwear is personal so wear what you feel comfortable in regardless of what fashion dictates.”

When it comes to picking a swimsuit, she suggests that you “draw attention to your best bits with bright colours and bold prints and use neutral or dark shades to hide the ‘insecure bits’”.

MAIN ATTRACTION

And now, the moment we have all been waiting for — evening wear.

Five designers were each tasked with dressing a pair of finalists; the brief was to capture those contestants' childhood memories in their clothing designs.

“My brand is all about simplicity and clean lines but when designing for pageants I make sure that the girls stand out with more bling, high slits and exaggerated designs,” says Georges Malelu (formerly of Quiteria and George).

He used baby photos of finalists Kgothatso Dithebe and Tiffany Francis to fuel ideas for their outfits. 

Natasha Joubert, second runner up of the 2020 Miss SA pageant, in Jolache Couture during the Miss Universe Preliminary Competition on May 14 2021.
Natasha Joubert, second runner up of the 2020 Miss SA pageant, in Jolache Couture during the Miss Universe Preliminary Competition on May 14 2021.
Image: Supplied/Miss SA

Jolandie Fouche of Jolache Couture took a similar approach when dressing finalists Bianca Bezuidenhout and Lalela Mswane.

“With these specific dresses we used childhood pictures as inspiration. We wanted to make them personal, beautiful and unique.” 

Retief of Lena-Lisa aimed to capture the emotions associated with the “pure and powerful” childhood memories of finalists Catherine Groenewald and Jeanni Mulder in her designs. 

“This translated into the selection of the colour palette,” she explains.

“Finalists Cheneil Hartzenberg and Moratwe Masima's dresses will be sparkly, shimmery and as elegant as the ladies wearing them,” says Iman Itumeleng Mtshali, owner of Iman Shaik, who also focused on fit.

“You can expect sophistication and modern African couture,” says Sello Medupe of Scalo of the looks he's created for finalists Kaylan Matthews and Zimi Mabunzi.


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