Beauty pageants are well known for showcasing the ethnic backgrounds of the contestants. Often, the contestants would walk the runway in outfits that celebrated their countries. From record-breaking coin dresses to Mount Kinabalu-inspired dresses, these costumes are always so uniquely beautiful!
The 26-year-old Ms Lesley Cheam, was recently crowned as this year’s Miss Universe Malaysia. Despite the backlash from local media, she tunes the negativity out and will be representing Malaysia at the 71st Miss Universe competition in New Orleans, USA early next year.
As a special preview to us fellow Malaysians, Ms Lesley Cheam will be wearing a national costume inspired by the majestic Mount Kinabalu! Just like the mountain, the 2022 Miss Universe Malaysia is draped from top to bottom in silver and grey colour – which symbolises the large slabs of granite along Mount Kinabalu.
Along with the headpiece and boots, the dress weighed more than 10kg! Imagine walking the runway with that weight – a whole 10 kilograms of incomprehensible beauty! The mastermind behind this beautiful costume is none other than the eco-conscious local designer, Hatta Dolmat.
Putting forth Cheam’s ideals (which is to always be kind), this costume is made with sustainability in mind. The fabric and embellishments are made out of unwanted items like fabric, lace, bark, and rPET or recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is the plastic used to make packaging.
Elaine Daly, National Director of Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (MUMO) says the national costume sends a message that Malaysia is a progressive global citizen. “We are promoting fashion upcycling on an international platform to help address climate change threats, which is one of mankind’s greatest challenges and global priorities now,” she said.
As for the evening gown, the sheer red dress draws inspiration from Nebula – a magnificent giant cloud of cosmic dust and gas. Designed by the same designer, the embellishments feature colours of purple, maroon and gold specially curated to accentuate the skin tone and beauty of the reigning queen.
This reigning queen will be competing in the globally-recognised Miss Universe next year. We wish her nothing but the best!
Puteri Teja contributed to this article.