The 69th Miss Universe competition is coming up and Francisca Luhong James, the reigning Miss Universe Malaysia 2020, will be representing Malaysia.
The model will not only be strutting her stuff, she will also be managing a dress change and a 45kg kampung house during the National Costume category.
This year’s National Costume was inspired by the traditional Malay kampung houses and aptly named “Kampungku”. Local couture designer Carven Ong designed the two main outfits, which are a black and white batik kftan dress with a bicycle-shaped headpiece and an orange gown accompanied by the ‘Francisca’ doll headpiece. The headpiece was supplied by Wesley Hilton of Borneo Doll.
The entire costume, along with the house, took three months to complete. The elaborate creation was thoughtfully designed with Orang Ulu and Malay prints, gold ‘kerawang’ wooden beading, woven ‘mengkuang’ additions, a replica of a coconut tree and even chickens to fully symbolise Malaysia. According to Ong, the house will act as a changing room for Francisca. “She only gets 30 seconds to complete the whole outfit change,” the designer explained. “She’ll have to change, turn the house around because the design is different on either side and come out in her next outfit.”
While impressive, most of us would baulk at the amount of time given. Yet, Francisca is confident on her ability to pull it off. “I’m more excited than anything,” she told Rojak Daily. “With the right preparation and if I practice every day – which I have been doing – I am confident that I can showcase the full beauty of our National Costume outfit on the Miss Universe stage.”
For the evening gown segment, Francisca will be modelling an ombré turquoise gown. Designed by Rizman Ruzaini, the gown was inspired by the legend of the beautiful Princess Sejinjang who is synonymous with Sarawak’s folklore.
Francisca proudly revealed she even had a hand in the concept of the gown. “It’s the first time an indigenous girl is representing Malaysia on the Miss Universe stage, and I wanted the design to include elements from my culture,” the Kuching-born beauty said. Francisca is of Kayan, Kenyah and Iban ethnicity.
The Miss Universe competition will be taking place in Hollywood, Florida in the United States on 16 May. We know Francisca is hard at work preparing for the competition, and we’d like to wish her all the best!
Source: Rojak Daily.