Zozi Tunzi

Birgit “Biji” Gibbs of Biji La Maison de Couture is the talented designer behind the one-of-a-kind looks Zozibini Tunzi wore on two once-in-a-lifetime occasions: the day she was crowned Miss Universe 2019, and the day she passed that title to her successor.

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The sheer amount of skill, time and handwork that goes into crafting fully beaded couture creations such as these means they carry a much higher price tag than your average evening dress.

Tunzi's 2019 crowning gown,

“I had never in my life invested as much time and effort into a garment as I did while making Tunzi's 2019 crowning gown,” says Biji.

Named the “Sunrise” gown, it took 1,400 hours and 132,000 beads to make. The price? R208,000, reports W24.

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Factor in the cost of the dazzling Miss Universe “Power of Unity” crown — which features more than 1,700 diamonds — and you’d be looking at upwards of R70.6m to recreate Tunzi’s winning look.

Biji hopes to add the monochrome dress Tunzi donned during the recent Miss Universe pageant to the display, provided it arrives back from the US before the exhibit ends on June 6.

Tunzi wanted the gown she’d wear for her final moments as the reigning Miss Universe to honour her Xhosa heritage in a contemporary way. The resulting design took Biji about 800 hours to make and, according to W24, would be priced between R90,000 and R100,000.

Though there are no diamonds adorning the head wrap Tunzi wore to complete this look, it does have sentimental value. The beauty queen said on Instagram that it had been given to her by her mom.