The Rainbow Nation in colours
By Citylife Arts Writer
Some of the country’s best fashion designers will be dressing the Top 10 finalists at this year’s Miss South Africa live pageant in a not-to-be-missed celebration of South African talent.
Miss South Africa 2020 will be crowned at The Table Bay hotel in an entertainment-packed event on Saturday, October 24, from 17h00. The event will be screened live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic, and will be streamed live for an international audience.
Just as the Top 10 finalists come from around the country, so to do the nine designers – one is from Durban, one from Klerksdorp, two each from Cape Town and Tshwane and three from Johannesburg.
Kwa-Zulu Natal is represented in the opening sequence at the pageant by House of Fabrosanz, founded by Durban born Sandi Mazibuko. The Top 10 Miss South Africa finalists will be dressed in the atelier’s ready-to-wear Nguni print collection.
Says Mazibuko: “It was important for me to translate Zulu culture into wearables. The Nguni print draws inspiration from the traditional art references of the Nguni tribes. It was so easy to design for each of the finalists after meeting them and seeing their body shape. We made them ‘fashion girls’ and they will get to walk in the pageant like they would do on the runway.”
Cape Town’s Lena Lisa was approached to design the evening gowns for all the Top 10 finalists which will be shown towards the beginning of the live show.
Says designer Lena-Lisa Retief: “This year the brief called for a design that is simplistic but refined which then translated into a timeless look. We conceptually approach pageant designs to have more flair and dramatic accents. It’s not about capturing an individual personality but rather to complement and enhance the underlining theme of the pageant. 2020 is going to be a very competitive year, the finalists are strong, driven women.”
This year’s dazzling apparel in the swimwear sequence has been created thanks to a collaboration between two fashion houses – Johannesburg’s Imprint ZA (the outerwear) and Cape Town’s TracyB Swimwear (the costumes).
Mzukisi Mbane, who heads up Imprint ZA, says: “I am blessed that Imprint has been worn by many previous Miss South Africa’s from Basetsana Khumalo and Rolene Strauss to Zozibini Tunzi. For the pageant we have created an edgy look but we still respect the element of class that the platform requires. I see my brand as a storytelling tool and celebrating the stories and glamour of our African ancestors with a very modern and futuristic feel.”
He says he is motivated by this year’s Top 10: “I fell in love with them over social media as we followed the Miss South Africa journey during lockdown. I am inspired by how they represent literally every South African woman. Meeting them in person only made me fall in love with them even more.”
Tracy Efstathiou who is the face behind TracyB Swimwear which was founded in 1990. Tracy and her team collaborated with reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi for a shoot in Mauritius and now she has worked with the Top 10 on a funky African-inspired swimwear range with a sexy and sophisticated feel.
Efstathiou admits that when designing for a pageant she makes her designs “a little more conservative” adding: “I think these 10 finalists are an amazing group of strong and beautiful, talented contenders that are inspirational to a broad spectrum of women. I’m enjoying the diversity of culture and backgrounds where they come from and it’s refreshing and exciting to see how each one has something unique to offer.”
Five designers will each to get dress two Miss South Africa finalists in glamorous finale evening gowns. They are Anel Botha of Anel Botha Couture who has a long association with the pageant (dressing Jordan van der Vyver and Lebogang Mahlangu); Juan Visser of Juan William Aria (Thato Mosehle and Karishma Ramdev); Neville Masondo of La Art Neviole Emporium (Melissa Nayimuli and Chantelle Pretorius), Orapeleng Modutle of Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue (Shudufhadzo Musida and Aphelele Mbiyo) and Sello Medupe of Scalo Designer (Busisiwe Mmotla and Natasha Joubert).
Designer Anel Botha will be representing Klerksdorp in North West and says her two finalists were her inspiration: “Jordan and Lebo have shining personalities, strength as people and inner and outer beauty. We have also researched the current trends in fashion to create these gowns which are a celebration of the female form. The right design on stage will give them the confidence to achieve their goals.”
Johannesburg’s Juan Visser has dressed a number of former Miss South Africa winners including Zozibini Tunzi, Demi-Leigh Tebow (neé Nel-Peters) and Tamaryn Green. Anele Mdoda wore one of his creations on the red carpet at the Oscars in 2019 and 2020.
“And this year at Miss South Africa I get to dress both the doctors! Both these ladies are charismatic, caring, giving and share a passion for medicine. If I had to choose the one thing that I love the most about each of them, it is Thato’s ability to light up a room while Karishma has the biggest heart. For the finale, both my designs are sleek and sexy but yet sophisticated. I took inspiration from evening gowns from the ‘80s and ‘90s.”
Says Tshwane’s Neville Masondo: “For this year’s pageant I’ll be designing two most gorgeous couture dresses with very simple outlines and a dramatic hand craftsmanship. This year’s brief was creating rainbow themed gowns so expect some bright colours. I also fused new era trends while sticking to my aesthetic of new versus old styles.”
Also, from Tshwane is Orapeleng Modutle who explains: “The gowns are definitely inspired by the beautiful ladies, tapping into their personalities, their strengths and where they see themselves in the future. Each gown represents them in their true nature. For me it’s always about fashion and capturing moments that resonates with historic fashion moments taken from fashion icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Miriam Makeba, Princess Diana, etc. Shudu and Aphelele are my current obsession. They are smart, strong and intelligent but both are completely different. We feed ideas off each other to come up with a beautiful creation.”
Sello Medupe – whose studio is in downtown Johannesburg – says he will be designing dresses inspired by queen goddesses: “I’m loving how different the girls are – they both have their own stories and uniqueness. I collaborated in the design with Busi and Natasha because I wanted them to be comfortable at the end of the day.”
Says Miss South Africa creative director Werner Wessels: “We have some of the country’s finest designers on board this year who will demonstrate how strong our design industry in this country is. The fashion segments were designed to start off with strong monochromatic prints and then evolve throughout the night into an explosion of colour with each contestant wearing a chosen colour of the rainbow to represent the diversity and strength of our Rainbow Nation. The filming of this year’s pageant will allow us to showcase some of the fashion as viewers have never seen it before. It’s going to be a finale to remember.”
Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with M-Net, Mzansi Magic, Sun International, Brand South Africa and the City of Cape Town.
How to connect with the fashion designers
Designers’ social media handles:
Facebook: Anel Botha Couture
House of Fabrosanz
Facebook: FabroSanz Creations
Juan William Aria
Facebook: Juan William Arian
La Art Neviole Emporium
Facebook: La Art Neviole Emporium
Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue
Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue
Facebook: Tracyb Swimwear