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Meet Ezra Santos, the Filipino designer behind Lalela Mswane’s Miss Universe gown

Lalela Mswane in Ezra Couture. Picture: Instagram/@official_misssa.

Lalela Mswane in Ezra Couture. Picture: Instagram/@official_misssa.

Published Dec 13, 2021

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Miss SA Lalela Mswane participated in the 70th Miss Universe pageant at the weekend at Eilat in Israel, where she won the second runner up.

Usually, when Miss South Africa represents the country in the Miss Universe pageant, she is dressed by local designers. That wasn’t the case for Mswane.

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For example, Natasha Joubert, who participated in the 69th Miss Universe pageant, was dressed by Jolandie Fouche of Jolache Couture while Gert-Johan Coetzee handled her national costume.

Former Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi (2019) was dressed by Biji Gibbs from Biji La Maison de Couture. Meanwhile, her national costume was designed by Costume Department, the same brand that designed Msnwane’s national costume.

On Friday night, during the prelims, Mswane donned a white figure-hugging Ezra Couture gown from the “Weave of Love II” collection.

At the grand finale on Sunday where she was crowned as the second runner up, Mswane donned an Ezra Couture gold number featured on the Vogue Arabia December issue.

Ezra Santos is a Filipino designer based in Dubai. With over two decades of experience in the fashion industry, he has dressed many celebrities, including Colbie Caillat, Nicole Sherzinger, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Pia Wurtzbach, Michelle Gumabao, Maia Salvador and Heart Evangelista, to name a few.

Taking to Instagram stories, Santos shared snippets of how proud he was to have dressed Miss South Africa.

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On the flip side, Mswane also wore South African designers during her miss Universe journey. For her national costumer, she wore a “Dove Of Peace” jumpsuit with feathers, designed by The Costume Department.

And in preparation for the finale, she wore a Khosi Nkosi dress previously worn by Zozibini Tunzi, as well as a short jumpsuit previously worn by Tamaryn Green.

The decision for Mswane to wear outfits previously worn by former Miss SA titleholders came after Miss Universe challenged contestants to speak about sustainable fashion.

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