Fashion designers to capture the spirit of the contestants’ childhood memories

Miss SA ropes in five local designers to style top 10 finalists

07 October 2021 - 13:45
By EMMANUEL TJIYA AND Emmanuel Tjiya
Designer, George Malelu.
Image: Supplied. Designer, George Malelu.

Fashion designers George Malelu, Sello Medupe and Iman Mtshali will ensure that this year’s Miss SA top 10 finalists walk with style and glamour next Saturday.

The trio will be joined by Jolandie Fouche and Lena-Lisa Retief as they each dress two hopefuls at the Grand Arena, Grand West in Cape Town, where the new Miss SA will be crowned. 

Current Miss SA Shudufhadzo Musida was crowned last year in a gold beaded creation by Orapeleng Modutle – the go-to designer for the likes of Bonang Matheba and Boity Thulo.

The brief the five designers received for creating the finale evening garments was to capture the spirit and ingenuity of the top 10’s childhood memories.

“Our aim this year was to celebrate local design talent in the best way possible,” explained Werner Wessels, Miss SA creative director.

“The Miss South Africa stage has always been an incredible platform for South African talent to be seen on a global stage and we look forward to introducing new brands and bring them the recognition they so deserve.”

Fashion designer, Iman Shaik.
Fashion designer, Iman Shaik.

Lesotho-born and SA-based designer Malelu will dress Kgothatso Dithebe and Tiffany Francis. He is renowned for dressing Beyonce on stage for Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 under the duo brand Quiteria & George.

“My brand is all about simplicity and clean lines, whereas in pageants I make sure that the girls stand out with more bling, high slits and exaggerated designs,” Malelu said.

“I admire the attitude of not giving up and that’s what Kgothi brought with her comeback. Tiffany is charming and relatable and having had some conversations in between the fittings, I was blown away by her intelligence and calmness.”

Kaylan Matthews and Zimi Mabunzi will be draped in designs by Soweto-born Medupe, known for his label Scalo.

“Kaylan and Zimi both have bubbly personalities and great confidence. Audiences can expect sophistication and modern African couture,” Medupe teased.

Mtshali from Durban foundered her fashion house Iman Shaik in 2017. She will take care of the sartorial picks of Cheneil Hart and Moratwe Masima.

“Cheneil and Moratwe both have a wonderful sense of humour and radiate confidence and kindness,” Mtshali shared.

Designer Sello Medupe from Scalo
Image: Supplied. Designer Sello Medupe from Scalo

“They share their requests regarding fit and what they feel has traditionally been flattering on them, which must always be considered when designing a pageant gown, as the contestant needs to feel her very best on stage. The dresses will be sparkly, shimmery and as elegant as the ladies wearing them.”

Fouche of Jolache Couture has created looks for Bianca Bezuidenhout and Lalela Mswane; while Retief will dress Catherine Groenewald and Jeanni Mulder.

“I feel very lucky to have been allocated Bianca and Lalela to dress. They are both so authentic in who they are and the first time we met we connected immediately,” said Fouche.

Retief added: “Jeanni is strong willed and soft hearted while Catherine is driven and confident. Their engagement with the design process has been extremely valuable; we want them to feel as comfortable as possible and the design becomes an expression of their personality.”

Cape Town brand TracyB Swimwear return for a second year for the swimwear part of the pageant. For the opening sequence, the top 10 will wear designs by Sherif the Tailor.