The national costume for the latest Miss Universe Malaysia, Francisca Luhong James, was unveiled yesterday and boy, does it remind us of home.
That’s simply because the costume mostly comprises a replica of a wooden village house also known as kampung. The 25-year-old was seen lugging the 45kg outfit created by local designer Carven Ong as she walked down an aisle during a press event. She also wears a doll on her head by doll designer Wesley Hilton that mimics her look.
“It is a huge honor to be part of Miss Universe Malaysia’s national costume. I was overwhelmed when the Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation approached me,” Wesley, 33, told Coconuts today. He took two weeks to complete the 18-inch doll.
“The ‘Francisca Doll’ is an 18-inch doll and it wears an identical orange dress by Carven Ong, which represents the stunning evening sunset. The doll’s dress is also full of beading with Sarawakian motifs,” he explained. James is from Sarawak and is of Dayak descent.
Called Kampungku, or My Village, the 3D costume pays tribute to the wooden house commonly seen in rural Malaysia, and comes complete with a replica of chickens, coconut trees, and motifs of the national flower hibiscus that were woven into the outfit. The other side of the structure is designed to make the house look like a black and white 2D sketch, matching another getup by Ong that comes complete with a bicycle headpiece.
There’s enough room in the structure to act as a changing room for James when she takes part in the national costume section of the pageant’s international round on May 17, at Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Ong also designed last year’s Peranakan-inspired pageant costume worn by Shweta Sekhon.
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