Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi, earned her crown in this local designer's showstopping gowns

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, of South Africa, onstage at the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant at Tyler Perry Studios. Photo by Paras Griffin
Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, of South Africa, onstage at the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant at Tyler Perry Studios. Photo by Paras Griffin

This morning South Africa woke up to the historical news that Zozibini Tunzi is the first black Miss South Africa to win Miss Universe. And we had been rooting for her since her journey to earn this prestigious title began. 

Channel24 reports that "Sunday 8 December saw the crowning of the 68th Miss Universe at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, USA," making Zozibini the "third South African to win the Miss Universe crown."

READ MORE: Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi crowned Miss Universe 

Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini, cruised her way through the road to the crown in local design duo Biji - La Maison de Couture's custom gowns - a fashion house that has been around since 1990 not too long before our infant democracy was birthed.

According to this Joburg-based designers' website, "Biji and Laura are a professional couture fashion design team who create bespoke wedding and special occasion gowns."

With an Instagram bio that reads; "A designer of luxurious, one of a kind gowns worn by exceptional women who breathe life into my craft," - it's certainly fitting that Miss Tunzi became an ambassador of the nation adorned in Biji creations. 

The first dress by the local designers that we saw Miss Universe in, was this ombré beaded block fringe dress, that the esteemed designer explained was inspired by the "South African earth’s minerals," adding "this gown is entirely beaded by hand using four shades of beads mixed at varying degrees of intensity to create this ombré effect on illusion mesh. It took around 450 hours of hand beading to complete the look for her." 

She then walked the runway during the preliminary stages of the pageant in another one of Biji La Maison's creations - a cape dress lined with a sequinned African geometric print. 

Biji - La Maison de Couture finally shared in Zozibini's big moment last night when she was crowned with the Miss Universe 2019 brand-new "Power of Unity" crown, while clad in this showstopper created just for her, of course.


Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

"We are so unbelievably proud to be South African right now! @zozitunzi You are just a walking phenomenon!! Your energy and your elegance set you apart from everyone else! Thank you for having us be a part of this journey with you! You looked absolutely sensational in all the dresses we designed and created for you!!! ," the designer wrote on Instagram. 

READ MORE:  Miss SA 2019, Zozibini Tunzi, crowned with the newly unveiled uBuhle Crown, here are the crowns that preceded it

This is the same label that dressed outgoing Miss Universe Catriona Gray, when she sat on the panel of judges that picked Zozibini Tunzi as our official Miss South Africa 2019. 

The designer also dressed the top 12 finalists for Miss SA this year among other top tier designers Anel Botha, Galluzzi e Gini, Orapeleng Modutle, Salomie Couture and Warrick Gautier. And it's clear that the relationship with the role models pageants create, has been one worth holding onto with much pride. 

Miss World SA 2018 Thulisa Keyi, also adds to the list of dashing mannequins that have brought this label's creations to life. She was seen in one of the deign duo's gowns when she competed in the Miss World pageant in Sanya, China.

Speaking of Miss World, Biji has also dressed former Miss World (2014) Rolene Strauss for her various appearances, including the night she handed over her crown to Miss Spain in 2015.

Former Miss SA Tamaryn Green, was also parading a custom Biji La Maison gown when she appeared in Sarie Tydskrif this year, reimagining the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle's reception gown in this royal blue hue. 

And of course, everyone's favourite queen (besides Zozibini Tunzi) Bonang Matheba - who has been the glamorous, inimitable host of Miss South Africa for the past two years - has also stunned in Biji - La Maison before. 

When she isn't elegantly rocking Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, Bonang can often be caught creating a stir in local designers' garments such as Gert-Johan Coetzee, Thebe Magugu, and Biji - La Maison. 

READ MORE: Bonang and Miss SA Zozibini rock the same Villioti Fashion Institute sparkling gown

Biji La Maison could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. 

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