SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss International 2019 NATIONAL COSTUMES: MY TOP 20 BEST!

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International Costumes--National Costumes from Miss International 2019 contestants (L to R) Miss Bolivia Valentina Perez Medina, Miss Honduras Ariana Bustillo, Miss Malaysia Charmaine Chew, Miss Australia Monique Shippen

The Finals of the 59th Miss International are taking place in Tokyo Japan with 83 contestants from all over the world competing for the coveted international beauty title. The Finals are coming up on November 12th and pre-pageant events have been occurring including the National Costume Presentation. After seeing the costumes, here are my TOP 20 favorites:

1. Miss Australia International Monique Shippen--Australia's Great Barrier Reef served as the inspiration for Monique's gorgeous National Costume. The design featured a fitted mermaid shaped gown in satin, tulle, and unique appliques, giving the look of a fantasy sea goddess rising triumphantly from the coral reefs. It was designed by Filipino fashion designer Jay-r Gamboa Flores and is my favorite of the Miss International 2019 National Costumes.

2. Miss Malaysia International Charmaine Chew--Inspired by the Malay Sarawak Tribe, this costume fuses the striking colors and unique embroidery of the Sarawak of Malaysia, utilizing multicolored scroll-like sequined trim, feathers, yellow beads, on a beautifully-fitted black fit-and-flare gown. The design was striking, fashionable, and honored a part of the country's culture.

3. Miss Bolivia International Valentina Perez Medina--Valentina's National Costume is inspired by the Bolivian flag as well as the "Diablada" or She-Devil, which represents the fight between Good vs. Evil. Designed by Monica Siles, it features hand-embroidered details, colorful applique and iridescent organza fabric featuring the Bolivian flag colors.

4. Miss Panama International Betzaida Rodriguez-- Betzaida's costume is titled "The Dirty Devil" (yes, another Devil!) and was designed/created by Aristides Carrasco. The design featured gorgeous rooster feathers, gold, silver, and black jeweled sequins, a super-fitted bodysuit and fabulous headdress, showcasing this "Devilish" Pre-Columbian Indigenous Queen.

5. Miss Ecuador International Alegria Tobar Cordovez--Alegria's costume--designed by Manolo Loo--was said to be inspired by the artisanal work of Ecuador mixed in with Pre-Columbian Inca. I especially loved how seamlessly the costume mixed that Inca Empress headdress with traditional local items, such as the dolls, straw hats, and golden straw trim.

6. Miss Honduras International Ariana Bustillo--This was a fabulous Pre-Columbian-themed costume, showcasing vibrant canary yellow feathers, golden sequin trim and Native American Warrior Queen inspirations. The round "wing" in the back was pretty impressive, to say the least.

7. Miss Vietnam International Nguyen Tuong San--Showing the traditional Ao Dai in a more High Fashion "Fantasy" manner, the Vietnamese entrant looked regal-like and above-it-all. The costume featured a gold jacquard base fabric in a column dress with an extra-long train. The costume had very intricate embroidery and sequin work, especially on the shoulders. The colors of the Vietnamese flag were featured on the Mandarin collar and sleeve hems. The spiked "halo" crown headdress and fan finished it all off.

8. Miss Sri Lanka International Pawani Vithanage--This costume, worn by Miss International Sri Lanka was a stand-out with its golden headdress, wings, and intricate top. In addition, it featured black-and-gold trimmed split-front "Harem" pants.

9. Miss Indonesia International Jolene Marie Rotinsulu--This costume is entitled "The Legend of Dewi Rengganis" and tells the story of King Brawijaya's daughter, who is one of the kings of the Majapahit Kingdom, Dewi Rengganis. According to their belief, the goddess Rengganis has a beautiful face. Her extraordinary beauty made the princes and kings of Java want to marry her. Dewi Rengganis is believed to be the ruler in the Argopuro region. It was designed by Diana Couture by Diana M. Putri. I loved the entire design--from the emerald green bustier-bodysuit, golden split-front skirt and that gold winged headdress. And yes, I also loved those calf-grazing nude sequined platform boots!

10. Miss Belize International Selena Marias Urias--Following the trend of the Pre-Columbian costumes, the Belize contestant wore this dark navy blue skirt and top with gold trim and super-impressive feathered headdress featuring silver and green sequin details. This was a very nice design and impressive costume effort worthy of a Top Ten!

11. Miss Italy International Francesca Giordano--I loved the way this costume paid homage to the iconic Italian flag with a design that featured sparkly netting in green, white and red in a column dress with shoulder and hip flourishes. This design somehow did a great job of being fashionable and "National Costume" appropriate.

12. Miss Cote D'Ivoire Tara Gueye--Inspired by the Yacouba dancers from the West of the Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire), this costume featured black-and-white striped top and skirt, shell detail and headdress and white chiffon cape. I really liked this chic and yet, still somewhat traditional design.

13. Miss China International Ten Yun-Xuan--For her "National Costume", China's representative wore this gorgeous violet-colored strapless gown. It was pretty stunning. I loved the shite applique details which showcased a dragon motif in the front and beautiful scroll-like details. This was a gown version of those iconic Ming Dynasty vases. It was a nice way of showing style and fashion and yet, still giving homage to the Chinese culture.

14. Miss Nicaragua International Maria Gabriella Saballos--Gabriella's costume is a tribute to all women of Nicaragua entitled "Nicaraguan Women: History, Inspiration, and Beautiful", in this elaborate pink-based sequined costume featuring a crop-top, mermaid-shaped skirt, and exuberant headdress. In addition, there were Pre-Columbian Native American images on the exaggerated sleeves. Muy Bien! 

15. Miss Venezuela International Melissa Jimenez--Inspired by the Wayuu tribe's Princess Wajayura, from the Guajira indigenous tribe. Designed by Julio Mora, it is supposed to be a "modern abstract" version of this Guajira queen. I love the angelic inspiration, the beautiful gold and silver sequin torso detail and that golden halo crown. Pretty chic and stunning at the same time.

16. Miss United Kingdom International Harriotte Lane--Harriotte's national costume, designed by Kathryn Russell, represents the queen of birds in the United Kingdom, the Mute Swan. Queen Elizabeth II owns and protects all of them. The design is supposed to celebrate people's differences and support those with the greatest of dreams and help them achieve them. As Harriotte feels like she herself is a swan, she wanted to wear this as her Miss International National Costume.

17. Miss India International Simrithi Haresh Bathija--The national costume of Miss India International is inspired by "The Incredible India" and designed by Neha Kumar. Incredible India is the name of an international tourism complex that is designed by the Government of India to project various aspects of Indian culture as an attractive tourist destination of India. The name of the dress is Lehenga Choli, which depicts the national flag and culture of India, the scene behind the dress is known as Kathakali which is a classical dance in India, as well as the upper part of the national dress, is known as the lotus which is the national flower of India. The Bengal tiger is the hand prop of the symbol of the national animal of India. The headgear is known as Mattha Patta and Gajra and the name of the jewelry is Rani Haar(neckpiece). The overall look is impressive and very-well done.

18. Miss Canada International Megha Sandhu--Maple Leaf Fabulousness is the theme here as seen in Megha's golden sequined jumpsuit with maple leaf "wings" and shoe accents. The costume is pretty sexy and striking a definite Canadian inspiration, worthy of being here in my Top 20.

19. Miss Brazil International Carolina Stankevicius Cruz--What a shocker a Brazilian representative would don a futbol/soccer-inspired look for their Miss Brazil National Costume. The yellow/green and blue of the Brazil flag are featured prominently. I kind of love how the sequined blue "world" of the Brazilian flag was done as hot pants (shorts), and the yellow and green flag "wings" were on Brazilan Botox as in their exaggerated sizes! Only thing: I wish she would have worn some fab sneakers/kicks as opposed to those tacky looking black heels.

20. Miss Belarus International Maria Perviy--In a fun and original costume representing a mixture of a Belarusian tourist highlighting her National Flower of Flax or cornflower, shown in the bright blue flower applique on this stylish dress. Included in the costume is a postcard, fabulous bag and Japanese Geta, or wooden clogs. And finishing up the styling, a bold hat featuring the white storks Belarus is also famous for.

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