KUALA LUMPUR: Miss Malaysia-Universe 2019 Shweta Sekhon will flaunt a Peranakan-themed national costume at the upcoming 68th Miss Universe competition.
The 68th Miss Universe national costume and evening gown competition will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States on Dec 8.
The custom-made national costume was designed and created by 51-year-old Malaysian designer Carven Ong.
Ong said the costume, weighing 28kg, was inspired by Malaysia’s multi-cultural character and diversity.
"There were many challenges in designing and creating such a delicate and complex national costume, which is something that we are truly proud of. It took me three months to complete the costume.
"It is my first time designing a national costume for the Miss Universe competition as I have always designed evening gowns.
"For the props attached to the costume, I put an assortment of local kuih-muih of both Malay and Peranakan origins such as onde-onde, kuih koci, Ang Ku kuih, kuih talam, kuih lapis, kuih sago and red eggs and bakul siah (traditional Nyonya basket cake).
"It fills me with pride to be given the opportunity to create something unique to symbolise the beauty of my country and introduce our multi-cultural heritage to the world," he said at the unveiling of the costume and evening gown, here.
The national costume is a combination of elements of the Malay, Chinese and Peranakan culture.
The main body of the dress is made of songket (a luxurious brocade commonly used in Malay wedding attires), and embroidered with elaborate beadwork while the wings feature Nyonya Batik; and a long strip of cloth wrapped around the body like a skirt.
A golden cape made of songket with gold thread and red beading add a touch of ceremonial grandeur to the costume, which was inspired by the traditional wedding costume worn by Peranakan brides, symbolising the union of Yin and Yang.
The Nyonya Batik-clad wings represent the tails of a goldfish to symbolise an abundance of wealth and prosperity.
Meanwhile for the headgear, gold aster flowers were chosen to represent love, daintiness and femininity.
Shweta, 22, said despite the national costume’s weight, she will flaunt both the national costume and evening dress with pride. She hopes to win the competition with the unique costume.
Meanwhile, for the evening gown, Ong chose a golden caramel hue to represent the fine grains of sand on Malaysian beaches.
The gown is embellished with real seashell beads in a variety of shapes, shades and sizes.
The dress is completed with a mermaid's fin silhouette on both sides.