On Wednesday, the 5th of November, reigning Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss revealed two of her pageant costumes as she prepares to compete in the 64th Miss World competition in London on December 14.


Strauss, the 22-year-old Volksrust-born beauty, will be representing South Africa against 132 other countries in the competition which is watched worldwide by more than one-billion people.


SABC 1 will be screening the Miss World Pageant so that South Africans can watch Rolene’s progress.


At the pageant, she will wear two gowns – the opening ceremony costume and the finale gown – created by Bloemfontein-designer Casper Bosman.


Her national costume has been designed by students from the Cape Town College of Fashion Design (CTCFD) and is inspired by the late Nelson Mandela as Strauss is the first Miss SA representing the country since his passing last year.


There will also be an interview outfit, designed by Lauren from Avant.


Bosman designed both the opening and closing ceremony gowns for Strauss as well as a selection of cocktail and evening dresses she will be wearing throughout the Miss World 2014 pageant.


Bosman says of the opening ceremony creation: “It is a hand-dyed mint green lace gown embellished with 13 000 Swarovski crystals with added sequins and pearl embroidery. The closing gown is inspired by a blush pink rose and is an off-the-shoulder diagonally draped creation with a frilled bottom in 45-meters of hand dyed silk organza.”


“All the gowns I have created for Rolene were inspired by her timeless elegance and beauty. Looking at classic beauties from Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn to Princess Grace of Monaco, the idea was to keep with elegant lines and create luxurious yet understated looks. None of the dresses overshadow Rolene’s classic style which has become her trademark.”


Gregg Maragelis, director and head of fashion design of CTCFD, designed the national costume – “a celebration of South Africa” – with a team of students including Charis Dawson, Frances Loots, Ricci Janse van Rensburg and Cara Schutte. A support task team of 12 additional students assisted with the enormous job of encrusting the outfit with beads.


Says Maragelis: “The image of Nelson Mandela is centre front and emblazoned over her heart, exactly where he is in our hearts globally.”


Described by Maragelis as a “a vibrant, dynamic explosion of print and vivid colour”, the print in the skirt celebrates South Africa and contains diverse images that reflect the country’s fauna and flora as well as iconic cultural images. Adding to the mix is Ndebele and Zulu beading. The skirt is lined with vivid chiffon to embody an African sunset while the bodice is reminiscent of Sophiatown with its street urban culture.


The costume also boasts a head piece in bright gold featuring the Big 5 but is also a mining hardhat with the colour reflecting the importance of gold. It’s inspired by the soccer hard hats with cut-outs representing South African supporters. The feathers are derived from tribal headpieces.


Asked how he felt the gown will be received by an international audience, he replied:  “The garment is Superbowl or World Cup opening ceremony dynamic. The vibrancy and styling is impressive and will stand out. The beading gives it a liquid feel and the print-on-print is fashion relevant and we are confident it will be very well received internationally.”


Strauss’ official gift at Miss World is a piece of Robben Island fence with a framed picture of the inspirational Nelson Mandela.


“He is a beacon of hope not only to South Africans but to people around the world,” she says.


Rolene believes that she is fully prepared for the pageant: “Every day as Miss South Africa has been preparation in itself. My confidence in regard to public speaking has improved drastically. I am giving my absolute best and have been doing so since I was crowned.”


Her message to South Africa? “I am who I am today because of South Africa and the opportunities I have been given. Now is the time to represent our beautiful country for what we really are; cultural, diverse, caring and full of hope. I trust that I will make every South African proud.”


The 2015 Miss South Africa Pageant will be staged by licence holders Sun International, in association with Cell C, in March next year.


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