Queen Chalita: Miss Universe Thailand in her Queen Sirikit-inspired costume--Miss Universe 2016 National Costume Show
Pageant fans (myself included!) are excited for the Finals of the 65th Miss Universe which are happening tomorrow LIVE from Manila Philippines. The show will be televised at 7 PM EST US time which in Manila Philippines will be 8 AM Monday morning. 86 of the world's most beautiful women are competing for the coveted title. Events leading up to be the big finale Crowning Night have been occurring for the past three weeks in the Philippines, including the most-important Preliminary Competition which happened 2 nights ago. Along with that, there was the fan-favorite National Costume Show, where the contestants showcased their "National Costumes".
Andean Goddesses, Wicker Basket Diva and a Folies Bergère Showgirl--Miss Universe 2016 National Costume Show in Mall of Asia Arena Manila Philippines
The term "National Costumes" has been used very flexibly during the last few years at Miss Universe. Instead of those traditional "Happy Hands at Home"-looking ensembles of the past, there have been more and more contestants being inspired by Victoria's Secret Angels. This year, there were lots of "Supermodel/Beauty Pageant Birds", Pre-Columbian Goddesses, an homage of sorts to Julie Andrews/"Sound of Music", a Folies Bergère Showgirl and even Pippi Longstocking. Here are my TOP 20 Favorites from the 65th Miss Universe National Costume Show (plus a bonus!). I judged in terms of impact of costume, uniqueness, head-to-toe quality, and the kind of overall tribute it represented to the contestant's nation.
My Number One Best Costume Pick goes to...
Miss Universe Myanmar came out with her own background stage! Let's just begin there. She already receives 50 points from me with that! Then she proceeded to do a traditional Burmese puppet dance and literally brought the house down! The "costume" was created by the same designer who made her competition evening gown and was showing traditional Yoke thé Burmese marionette puppetry. Unbelievable. Whoever is judging the Miss Universe 2016 National Costume Show, please give her the Best Title. And Some prize money to her designer. ASAP!
ntitled the "Jewel of Thailand". It features a gold long sleeve top with a sabai, and matching skirt. It was inspired by a type of traditional Thai dress named "Siwalai", which Queen Sirikit of Thailand used to wear decades ago...
The designer won 20,000 Thai baht (about $560 US dollars at today's exchange rate) for his winning design entry; I'm thinking he should have gotten much more! The design is spectacular and worthy of being in a Costume Museum and certainly more than a $560 prize. Creating that costume alone--sewing, fabric, pattern, fittings and design fee...well, any designer worth their design resume would charge about $10,000. It was designed by culture scholar Hirankrit Pattaraboriboonkool and is decorated with 100,000 Swarovski crystals. Insane!
Folies Bergère Showgirl for her national costume. But, what is a surprise is that this was actually A Folies Bergère Costume loaned out to her. And this was one of the first times the iconic French Showgirl company has done so. These costumes rarely--if ever--leave Paris. She looked FABULOUS and perfect! I honestly can't think of a better ensemble for a Miss France to wear!
This gorgeous golden costume was designed by Dynand Fariz, president of the Jember Fashion Carnaval as well as the JFC creative team. It took two months to create. The theme was "Unity Nation" and the inspiration is the iconic Garuda Bird. The Garuda bird represents sovereignty of Indonesia and symbolizes grandeur and glory with its golden color. The costume was gorgeous and incredibly elaborate in its jeweled detail.
many of Venezuela's population can't even find food or feminine hygiene products. But that's a whole other matter. Overall, this was an incredible costume. The only negative was that when Mariam took the stage, she could barely walk and stumbled miserably. I would have put her costume higher if only it was created with her in mind--and the fact that she was going to actually WALK in it!
The headdress is made of red fabric petals representing the volcanic eruption and also the flora of Mauritius after the volcanic eruption. The detachable cape is made of eco-fabric material hand painted to show the volcano on the outside of the cape and then the volcanic eruption inside...
The three-piece custom made gown is constructed using different materials. The upper gown is covered with recycled corded red lace and sewn with sequins for sparkle, reflecting the colors of the lava from the volcanic eruption. The skirt is made of recycled corrugated cardboard boxes, cut into diamond shapes and the floor sweeping train is covered with 1,300 pieces of recycled clear plastic cups and paper mache' painted to show the hilly and amazing Seven Colored Earth of Chamarel in the island of Mauritius. Overall, this costume was pretty incredible!
Miss Universe Hungary's national costume was designed by Peter Mero and features the prominent red color, featured in Hungary's flag and flower-influenced folk costumes. The design is adorned with 1500 of the red peppers that are used to make paprika. The costume was Couture Fab, very impacting and worthy of inclusion in my Top 20!
Miss Universe Bolivia Antonella Moscatelli: This festive and colorful costume was created with the help of the Association of Folkloric Ensembles of Oruro (ACFO) and designed by Monika Siles with help from Marcelo Anteza who created the feathered headdress as well as 20+ people who aided in creating the ensemble. The costume represents the allegories in the 18 types of dances in the Carnival of Oruno and is entitled the "Allegory of the Carnival of Oruro". $1500...quite cheap for such an elaborate costume! I loved the colors, the festiveness of it and that the designers/creators thought of EVERYTHING--including the footwear.
18. Miss Universe Malaysia Kiran Jassal: This costume for Miss Universe Malaysia has caused quite a stir on social media for being so "out there"/non-traditional and yes, avant-garde. Designed by the duo of Rizman Ruzaini, the national costume is a glittery silver jumpsuit inspired by the Petronas Twin Towers, prominently featured on her shoulders and arms.The design is embellished with thousands of Swarovski crystals over a nude-colored fabric base. The crystal choker on her neck represents the sky bridge that connects the two towers. Personally, I think it's SUPERFAB and kudos to the designers for thinking outside the traditional national costume box.
inspired by the vinta, a traditional boat from Mindanao (lower photo above). The head piece was made to resemble a large piece of coral found in the country's reefs. The headdress alone which includes sea pearls, is said to have cost more than 1 million Philippine Pesos (about $20,000) according to the designer. This look on Maxine was chic, elegant and I loved how she mimicked the waves and sails with her hands during her "performance". It was enough to get her in my Top 20 List.
This costume was designed by Avid Arik Herman (who also designed Miss Universe Austria's "Sound of Music" national costume). It's entitled "Dress of Dreams", which represents the vision that every child has the "opportunity to be loved and the possibility to fulfill their dreams". The strapless asymmetrical hi-lo ballgown features photos of children on the dress to go with the "every child has a dream" theme. She added a sequined top/shoulder/sleeves piece, red braided wig, mismatched stockings and a big ol' horse and voila: She's Pippi Longstocking with Supernatural Strength! I didn't include this costume as one of my Top 20 Favorites especially since the contestant used the same dress for her Evening Gown as well...but I will give it a "Memorable Mention" just for its "kookiness" and for the wonderful and worthwhile project it is attached to.