It was a proud moment for India when model and actor Harnaaz Sandhu was crowned Miss Universe 2021 at the pageant held in Israel on December 13. Harnaaz is the third Indian who won the title, after Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta.
Bringing home the Miss Universe title after a gap of 21 years, Sandhu’s performance and personality received an overwhelming response across the globe. But it wasn’t just her personality that got the attention, Sandhu’s finale gown designed by renowned fashion designer Saisha Shinde has been receiving accolades on social media.
Shining like a star, the embellished gown was designed with a lot of love and care by Saisha. For someone who considers herself a pageant nerd and fanatic, Harnaaz winning the 70th edition of Miss Universe was a dream come true for Saisha too. Saisha says, “It feels absolutely amazing to see your dream come true not just for Harnaaz and India but for me because I remember seeing Lara Dutta win the Miss Universe in 2000 and thinking hopefully there comes a day soon when I get to design a gown for Miss India. And then she [Harnaaz] wins Miss Universe in my gown. So, definitely I must say that it was a moment I shall remember forever. The winning gown comes for me!”
The finale gown was an amalgamation of Saisha’s style and Harnaaz’s personality. “There is a certain expectation from Miss India at an International pageant. She has to look elegant, exquisite and the gowns need to look delicate and dainty but at the same time powerful, strong, which incidentally my brand has become now after I have transitioned into a woman,” expresses Saisha.
Embellished with embroidery, stones, and sequins the silhouette complemented Harnaaz’s personality to the T. Harnaaz’s love for sustainability gave true meaning to Saisha’s belief that is ‘create with purpose’. “Harnaaz believes in sustainability, so we used embroidery material which was available with us and did not purchase anything new. Also, since she is from Punjab, we incorporated phulkari-inspired motifs in the ensemble. The geometric patterns which are synonymous with the phulkari patterns are given a modern twist.”
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