Miss Universe South Africa, Bryoni Govender, has revealed the national costume she will wear when she represents South Africa at the 72nd Miss Universe pageant which takes place in El Salvador on November 18.
Her national gown – by acclaimed KwaZulu-Natal designer Casey Jeanne – celebrates her Indian-South African heritage while also allowing her to take centre stage.
Miss South Africa Organisation’s Creative Director, Werner Wessels, explained that the national costume is of critical importance when it comes to showcasing the country of the pageant contestant and is also one of the favourite events for Miss Universe fans and followers.
“This year’s national costume is an African-Indian fusion and a celebration of Bryoni’s heritage. It was inspired by a sari and is adorned with traditional Zulu beads in a pattern inspired by an Ndebele print.
“We deliberately didn’t want an ostentatious and over-the-top national costume,” said Wessels. “But rather a high-fashion couture version that allows Bryoni to shine.”
Casey Jeanne, who is based in Morningside, Durban and is designing her first national costume, said she is delighted that the costume isn’t gaudy: “It’s a modern take on the sari and is quite refined. Green is the main colour, which currently represents South Africa so well. The biggest and most time consuming challenge has been the beading.”
Jeanne, who has previously designed evening wear for the Miss South Africa pageant finale, is known for her couture dresses, as well as being one of the country’s leading wedding dress designers: “I am delighted to be able to showcase my work on a platform as large as Miss Universe; it is something I’ve always wanted to do.
“The national costume took me by surprise as I usually do more evening wear, but I loved the challenge and put my spin on the costume. I hope that South Africans are inspired by it and love it as much as I do.”
Govender, the first woman of Indian heritage to represent the country since Miss South Africa 1997 Kerishnie Naiker, is delighted with the national costume and believes it will allow her to shine on the international stage: “It is an accurate reflection of who I am and represents my rich and diverse cultural heritage.
“The fabrics, colours and design uniquely tie my two heritages together and I am very comfortable wearing it.”