Miss Universe Singapore will don a costume inspired by the Trump-Kim summit, and it is horrifyingly bad

Photo: Glenn and The Flying Dutchman / Facebook
Photo: Glenn and The Flying Dutchman / Facebook

The Miss Universe 2018 contest will be held in Thailand next month, and 24-year-old National University of Singapore graduate Zahra Khanum will represent the Little Red Dot in the highly-regarded (chortle) beauty pageant.

She seems like a pretty nice person, and that’s why we’re pouring our genuine sympathies for her — the model will have to don a horrible, horrible dress that looks like it was designed by people who manufacture cheap junk for souvenir stores.


Honestly, we feel embarrassed for her. It’s like the costume was going for a modest Victoria’s Secret angel feel with a touch of diplomacy and a whole truckload of kitschy, tacked-on motifs. The white wings supposedly represent doves; the bodice resembles a peace symbol, and the skirt is embellished with an outrightly gaudy print featuring a panorama of the Singapore skyline beneath an oddly-shaped disembodied arms shaking hands. One side representing North Korea, one side representing the United States. In case you don’t get it, it’s supposed to represent the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in our fair city back in June.

First, let’s talk about that print. It’s not even a good picture; it’s not at all elegant; nor is it at all appropriate. It looks like an over-glorified customized printed t-shirt you get from Peninsula Plaza for special school events. It looks like someone blew up a stock photo of the city skyline and warped its dimensions. It looks like a cheesy DeviantArt piece made by an amateur graphic designer that could end up on a mug to cash in on the Trump-Kim summit.

Why incorporate the elements of other countries when the costume is supposed to represent the best of what Singapore has to offer? Plus, the city was just a mere location for the meeting — we simply played nice hosts for something that could have happened somewhere else. And then of course, there’s the naivety that the meeting brokered peace forevermore between the US and North Korea.

Meet the designer

According to The New Paper, the costume’s designer felt pretty happy with his work, a play on the hackneyed answer by beauty pageant models wanting world peace.

“The toughest part was bringing out the message tastefully through design,” was a thing that designer Moe Kasim actually said to TNP. The costume even took three months to make, even though we can’t see why and how.

“I had to consider the political sensitivities and what it all meant to Singapore and to the world community… without (creating) any misinterpretation.”

If you’re wondering about the Moe’s credentials, the 48-year-old is an award-winning costume designer who works extensively in the realm of local theatre. It’s not his first run in the Miss Universe circuit either — he’s also done a wacky LED-lit costume inspired by Gardens By the Bay’s Supertrees for last year’s Miss Universe Singapore. While that may have been actually dazzling, this year’s costume is a downright dud. But that’s just our opinion.

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