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Samoan tapa dress steals the spotlight at NRL awards night

Sala Moesha Crichton-Ropati and Penrith winger Brian To'o

Brisbane, AUSTRALIA — Brisbane fashion designer Vaeluaga Luse Iuli got the call to make the dress on Thursday and by Monday night it was on the red carpet of NRL's Dally M awards.

The client was Sala Moesha Crichton-Ropati, partner of Penrith winger Brian To'o, and she wanted a dress that celebrates her Samoan heritage.

Vaeluaga Luse Luli says she wanted a red carpet quality dress.

However, for the dress to go ahead, Sala had to provide the material - the tapa cloth.

For a designer, the tapa cloth presented an extra challenge to make sure that Sala would still be able to sit down and move in the dress.

"Otherwise if she makes one wrong move it could tear like paper - it's a sensitive fabric - but it can be practical if constructed well". When the dress hit the Dally M red carpet the Luse Exclusive Styles designer was overwhelmed by the reaction it received.

Vaeluaga Luse Luli says that the dress is symbolic of the Samoan culture and how she wanted to make their culture part of her and her boyfriend's special night.


The Dally M Awards are the official annual player awards for the National Rugby League competition. As well as honoring the player of the year, who received the Dally M Medal, awards are also given to the premier player in each position, the best coach, the best captain, representative player of the year and the most outstanding rookie of the season. The awards are named in honour of Australian former rugby league great Herbert Henry "Dally" Messenger, Wiikipedia says.

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