Meet Biji - La Maison de Couture, the designer behind Zozi Tunzi’s iconic dress

Zozibini Tunzi has officially bowed out as Miss Universe, handing over her crown to Mexico's Andrea Meza. Photo Social Media

Zozibini Tunzi has officially bowed out as Miss Universe, handing over her crown to Mexico's Andrea Meza. Photo Social Media

Published May 18, 2021


When Zozibini Tunzi took her final walk as Miss Universe on Sunday, she sure did bow out in style.

The 27-year-old beauty wore a black and white beaded dress by Biji La Maison de Couture paired with a doek and ingqosha (a Xhosa necklace that usually starts from the neck down to the legs).

It was a look that left many speechless and in awe of the design’s brilliance and how the garment reminded us how different Zozi was as a beauty queen.

What the garment showed was how important culture was to Zozi. Her reign has been filled with fashion choices that were a constant reminded that she was loudly and proudly African and would always make sure that her culture was represented.

The look was a full circle moment, finishing off the journey that began in 2019 when she left the international pageant world speechless with how different her dress was and her outlook on the role that she believed women should play in society.

As she sashayed down the stage, doing her best to hold back the tears as her voice was magnified in the room, it was impossible to not take in the beauty of her gown and the statement she was making with it.

Seeing that many people on social media have been curious about the designer who made Zozi’s dress, please, meet Biji La Maison de Couture.

Birgit (Biji) Gibbs is a professional fashion designer who has been in the fashion industry since 1990. Gibbs designs bespoke wedding gowns, celebrity couture and special occasion gowns.

She is the designer who has been responsible for Zozi’s dresses when the Tsolo-born star was still vying for the Miss Universe crown. She is the same designer who made the Sunrise Ombré Beaded gown that Zozi wore when she was crowned Miss Universe in December 2019.

The queen of pageants

Zozi is not the only Miss Universe Biji has dressed. In 2019 when Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray attended Miss SA Pageant, she wore a Zebra inspired Velvet Dress by the designer.

Again in 2015, when Rolene Strauss handed over her Miss World crown, she wore a scarlet Biji gown.

Biji has also dressed Natasha Joubert, who represented South Africa at the Miss Universe competition that took place this weekend in the United States.

091113: Marilyn Ramos, Miss South Africa 2013, competes in her evening gown during the preliminary competition at Crocus City Hall in Moscow November 5, 2013. Miss Universe 2013 will be crowned on November 9, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Decker/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP/Handout via Reuters (RUSSIA - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

As she did for Miss SA 2013, Marilyn Ramos, who wore a black velvet tuxedo inspired gown for Miss Universe 2013.

When it comes to making celebrities stand out, Biji always understands the assignment. Biji has dressed Bonang Matheba a number of times, including her 31st birthday celebration and when she hosted Miss South Africa 2019 and judged Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2020.

Remarkable moments

When Thando Thabethe was hosting the Saftas alongside Katlego Maboe, the actress dazzled in Biji.

In 2018, Ayanda Thabethe turned to Biji when Ayanda Thabethe attended the Top Billing Charity Ball, she wore a black Biji gown.

The designer also dressed Pearl Modiadie, who was co-hosting the 13th annual Saftas in 2019.

Not only that, but Biji also created the butterfly dress that Lady Zamar wore on the album cover of Monarch.

The Sun Met

Of course, she featured on Africa’s Richest Race Day, Sun Met 2019. Under the theme African Luxury: Precious Metals, she showcased stunning metallic gold and silver dresses created especially for the event.