Miss South Africa Liesl Laurie should enter the Miss World stage to the song Who’s That Girl? because South Africans will struggle to identify her from her “national” outfit.
The beauty queen yesterday revealed the R100000 garment that she will be showcasing at the Miss World contest next month in China.
Self-appointed fashion critics might be relieved that there are no ostrich feathers, tribal necklaces or image of Nelson Mandela on the bodice . But others will be disappointed that the dress has no trace at all of South Africa on it. Unless you know the story.
Made from copper, gold and leather, the dress represents the country’s mineral resources.
Designer Casper Bosman’s only brief was “African goddess”.
Wearing the garment yesterday, Laurie epitomised fierceness. She said she felt “like a goddess” in the ensemble.
“It’s very elaborate. We want to have people talking about it and looking at it for a very long time,” she said.
Last year, Rolene Strauss ruffled feathers, literally and figuratively, when she donned a gold and purple ostrich-feather headpiece as part of her national costume.
But she went on to win the Miss World crown so the current Miss South Africa should welcome criticism as good karma.
The Times appointed an ad-hoc “fashion police” panel and this is what they had to say:
Stylist Filipe Mazibuko: “It’s very modern but looks like a 1920s can-can dress. It’s cool to use the national minerals, but when I looked at it I thought of The Great Gatsby.
“Last year, the national dress had tribal aesthetics that were very recognisable. For me it’s a yes in terms of modernity and a nay in terms of cultural reference to who Miss South Africa is.”
Aspasia Karras, former editor of Marie Claire: “It looks like a cross between a Valkyrie and Medusa: Warrior Princess, but don’t stare because you will turn into stone.
“Given the state of the mining industry in South Africa at the moment, perhaps this is a visual representation of wishful thinking.”
Trend analyst Nicola Cooper: “I find the dress to be very nondescript. If you had not told me it was for Miss South Africa I wouldn’t know.
“Despite metallics, specifically copper, trending for 2016, I feel the corseted bodice and structure are extremely dated. Miss South Africa should be fresh and on trend and this dress is neither.”