Yay or nay: Miss Universe Malaysia’s 2019 Peranakan-inspired national costume

Yay or nay: Miss Universe Malaysia’s 2019 Peranakan-inspired national costume

Got kuih?

Text: Joan Kong

Take a closer look at Shweta Sekhon’s ensembles for this year’s international pageant, scheduled on December 9

Miss Universe Malaysia's national costumes are, no doubt, one of the most talked about reveals of the year. After Kiran Jassal's Petronas Twin Towers' look in 2016, Samantha Katie James' nasi lemak-inspired costume in 2017, and Jane Teoh's Bangau Perahu ensemble last year, reigning Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon's national get-up is a combination of the essences that Malaysia is known for—the food and the multi-cultural heritage.

Dubbed "A Peranakan Indulgence", the costume this year embodies elements of the Malay, Chinese, and Peranakan cultures, from the use of songket material in the main body of the dress and the cape, the Nyonya batik wings, to the intricate beadings and embroidery throughout. That's not it. To give the costume that extra wow factor, the look comes with a presentation of our local kuihs, including ang ku, kuih koci, kuih lapis, kuih talam, kuih sago, onde-onde and red eggs, accompanied with the traditional Nyonya bakul siah. Speaking of the look that weighs 28kg and took over three months to complete, designer Carven Ong admitted that it was a challenge to "enable Shweta to move gracefully and carry them comfortably", but judging from the response it has gotten so far, it's safe to say that his hard work has paid off. Shweta Sekhon will be travelling to Atlanta, Georgia for the Miss Universe 2019 competition next month.