South Africa’s Bryoni Govender placed in the Top 20 of the 72nd Miss Universe pageant on Sunday. Govender wasn’t the only South African to make her nation proud. Local designer Gert-Johan Coetzee’s phenomenal work stole the spotlight when reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel completed her final walk in one of the local designer’s creations.
At the grand finale of the pageant on Sunday, Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe 2023. South Africa’s Bryoni Govender placed in the Top 20, but Govender wasn’t the only South African drawing attention.
South African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee stole the spotlight at the 72nd run of the pageant when reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel completed her final walk in a dress made by Coetzee.
The dress, which was 3D-printed, took an astonishing 530 hours of meticulous crafting by Coetzee, with careful attention to intricate details that made the dress a masterpiece –such as the 3000-plus Swarovski crystals glimmering from the futuristic blue gown.
Taking to Instagram to share more about the dress that Gabriel wore on her final walk as reigning queen, Gert-Johan’s studio shared more about the inspiration behind the dress, and who it was designed for.
The dress, merging aspects of strength, femininity, and futurism, was designed to be worn by women who are the keepers of their communities. Coetzee’s studio writes:
“Embracing the spirit of powerful women who stand as guardians and defenders, the dress honours the courage and fortitude exemplified by women in protecting their communities and fostering a better world for all.”
“Coetzee’s innovative approach marries tradition with the future, showcasing how strength and femininity intertwine seamlessly in this contemporary masterpiece.”
“Every element of this gown symbolizes the enduring dedication and perseverance of women who continually shine bright in their pursuits.”
Gert is no stranger to stealing the spotlight on the runway.
The local designer dressed the likes of Miss South Africa’s top 5 finalists in 2023, including Natasha Joubert, Bryoni Govender, Homba Mazaleni, Nande Mabala , and Melissa Nayimuli.
His work has also made the international runway in Paris this year, and at The Little Mermaid movie premiere, when Hailey Bailey’s sister, Chloe Bailey, rocked a gorgeous yellow number by designed by Coetzee.
Gert continues to push the boundaries and redefine South African fashion on a global scale.