Most Beautiful Object in South Africa winner 2013

The winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa 2013 is the Pebble Dress by Gavin Rajah.

This dress from Gavin Rajah’s Spring/Summer 2013 couture collection was created out of leather pieces that were moulded into pebble shapes and then embroidered onto mesh by hand. The leather pebbles are placed to create a gradation of colour with rose gold blending into chocolate. 

Rajah’s studio worked with the Klein Karoo Co-op on a technique to foil ostrich skins last year. After the foiled leather attracted interest from Chanel and other international fashion brands, the studio decided to create their own textiles in foiled leathers. Rajah developed the pebbled fabric in February 2012 and debuted it in his collection in July. The garment is handmade and has been created without seams in pure couture tradition.

The "Pebble Dress" was nominated by Malibongwe Tyilo, in his capacity as a Blogger of Skattie What Are You Wearing?

Speaking from Mumbai, an ecstatic Rajah said: “I’m incredibly humbled by this accolade and it’s a testament of the work being produced by my studio. I want to thank Ravi Naidoo and his team for offering not only this amazing platform to share, collaborate and interact, but bringing to the fore creativity and design in South Africa. A special thanks to all who voted for the Pebble dress.”

Featuring a diverse selection of objects, 11 MBOISA finalists were selected from a list of nominees submitted by a mix of design journalists and cultural commentators in South Africa.

Every year Design Indaba invites members of the public to decide what constitutes beauty through the MBOISA award. More than just an object of visual delight, MBOISA encourages a wider definition of beauty - one that encapsulates social significance, economic impact, usability, sustainability and even humour.

Kelly Berman, Design Indaba Expo Manager said: "Every year, the Most Beautiful Object in SA gives us a thought-provoking 'read' on what's happening in local design - what are the most iconic or impressive works that have been completed in the past year but also, what are the values propelling the design world and what constitutes beauty?

“We had a wildly divergent group of nominations this year, and all were deserving nominees but the public decides the vote and we are thrilled with their choice,” Berman said.


Watch the Talk with Gavin Rajah

More on Design Thinking