- In honour of Miss Universe 2019, we’re taking a look back at all the best costumes from the National Costume Show – including this year’s.
- The National Costume Show is a separate part of the pageant and doesn’t count towards contestants’ overall scores. It’s a chance for them to honour and celebrate their countries.
- In the last decade, the costumes have become more elaborate, ornate, and, in some cases, a bit confusing.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A new Miss Universe has been crowned – but before she was announced, the contestants took part in the National Costume show on December 6.
In honour of (perhaps) the best part of the entire pageant, we’ve rounded up the most elaborate national costumes for your viewing pleasure. Whether you loved Miss Canada’s marijuana ensemble or Miss Malaysia’s portable buffet, there was probably something for you.
Keep scrolling for some of the best national costumes in Miss Universe history.
Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst channeled two American icons: the Statue of Liberty and Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality.”
Miss USA told the New York Post that her costume, which was designed by Martin Izquierdo, pays homage to Rosie the Riveter, Maya Angelou, Lady Justice, and the statue herself, Lady Liberty.
However, it also seems like a clear reference to 2000 film, “Miss Congeniality,” in which Sandra Bullock plays an FBI agent going undercover at a pageant. In one of the scenes, the pageant contestants all dress up as Lady Liberty, complete with torches and crowns.
Miss El Salvador 2019 Zuleika Soler walked the runway in a skirt depicting an El Salvadoran town.
It included symbols of El Salvador, including the national bird, the Torogoz.
Miss Vietnam Hoàng Thùy paid homage to Vietnamese iced coffee with her costume.
The headpiece is a phin filter, which is what Vietnamese people use to brew their famous coffee.
In honour of Canada’s recent nationwide legalization of marijuana, Miss Canada 2019 Alyssa Boston wore a giant weed leaf.
Canada legalised recreational marijuana across the country in October 2018.
Miss Laos 2019 Vichitta Phonevilay had perhaps the most elaborate costume of the night.
Phonevilay’s costume was a giant mechanical elephant emblazoned with the phrase “Stop Fire Save Amazon,” which represents the country’s national animal while raising awareness for the wildfires that have been devastating the Amazon rainforest this year.
Miss Brazil 2019 Julia Horta donned a glammed-out soccer uniform and golden wings.
Her jersey is No. 10, to honour Brazilian soccer legend Marta, who led the team in this year’s World Cup.
Horta also walked the runway with a banner reading “Stop Violence Against Women.”
Miss British Virgin Islands 2019 Bria Smith’s dress was an upside-down tree.
According to Twitter, the dress had elements of the country’s national tree and national flower. The British Virgin Islands’ national tree is the white cedar tree (the bottom of the dress), and the national flower is the white cedar flower – aka the flowers that grow on the white cedar tree (the top of her dress).
Miss Chile 2019 Geraldine González had an unusual accessory: a giant cherry.
Chile is known for its cherries. Their season is from October to January, making Chilean cherries popular during the holiday season, especially due to their deep red colour.
Miss Cambodia 2019 Somnang Alyna said her costume was inspired by Princess Indra Devi, who lived in the 12th century.
Miss India 2019 Vartika Singh’s costume is extremely elaborate.
Singh’s costume honoured India’s beautiful textile crafts.
Miss Malaysia 2019 Shweta Sekhon balanced a full dinner table as part of her costume.
According to Heavy, the costume “weighs over 60 pounds and features a table of traditional Malaysian food called kuih-muih, including onde-onde, kuih talam, red eggs, ang ku kuih.”
Miss Universe Thailand 2018 Sophida Kanchanarin paid homage to her country’s national animal, the elephant.
The Miss Universe pageant was held in Bangkok, Thailand last year.
Miss Universe India 2018 Nehal Chudasama carried around a portable throne on her back.
Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2018 Kiara Ortega’s costume featured three pairs of hands and a star headpiece.
Miss Universe Singapore 2018 Zahra Khanum’s costume referenced the summit in Singapore between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and American president Donald Trump.
The dress’s designer said the dress represented “world peace,” but the internet wasn’t so sure.
Miss Universe Laos 2018 On-anong Homsombath carried two additional figures with her.
Homsombath is the second-ever representative from Laos at Miss Universe.
Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady’s Transformers-inspired costume made a statement.
Miss Brazil 2013 Jakelyne Oliveira wore a cape that depicted indigenous peoples of Brazil.
There are indigenous tribes living in the wilds of Brazil’s Amazon even today.
Miss Thailand 2015 Aniporn Chalermburanawong rocked a dress inspired by a tuk tuk.
A tuk tuk is the most famous symbol of transportation in Thailand. It’s a three-wheeled motorised scooter/taxi hybrid with no windows or doors.
Htet Htet Htun, Miss Myanmar 2016, wore a costume depicting traditional Burmese puppetry.
Puppetry has been integral to Myanmarese culture for thousands of years, dating all the way back to the 15th century – and some legends date it even further back to the 11th century.
Miss Canada 2014 Chanel Beckenlehner wore a hockey-inspired ensemble, complete with a scoreboard.
“Hockey is basically the heartbeat of Canada,” said the costume’s designer Alex Kavanagh to Sportsnet in 2015.
Miss Panama 2016 Keity Drennan’s costume looked like a piece of art.
The elaborate outfit featured two statues.
Miss Guyana 2016 Soyini Fraser paid homage to her tropical country by wearing a palm tree-inspired headdress.
Fraser didn’t place in Miss Universe, but she did win Miss United Nations in 2012.
Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez wasn’t shy about her love for red, white, and blue.
Having worked at Hong Kong Disney, Sanchez is no stranger to wearing costumes.
Miss Dominican Republic 2007 Massiel Taveras shouldered two massive dolphins and a coral headpiece.
Dolphins are a frequent sight in the blue waters of the Dominican Republic.
Miss Sweden 2016 Ida Ovmar paid homage to Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s creation Pippi Longstocking, complete with her own horse.
“Pippi Longstocking” is one of the most well-known pieces of Swedish literature – or any literature.
Miss Vietnam 2016 Dang Thi Le Hang’s costume resembled a lotus flower.
Miss Finland 2005 Hanna Poulsen (then Ek) channeled Elsa from “Frozen” eight years before it was released.
Dressing up as Elsa is something even Kristen Bell, who voiced Elsa’s “Frozen” counterpart, Anna, in the film, can relate to.
Zahra Redwood, Miss Jamaica Universe 2007, rocked Rasta-coloured hair wraps and a Bob Marley shirt.
Redwood was the first Rastafarian to be crowned Miss Jamaica Universe: Rastafari is a religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s drawing heavily from the Old Testament.
Miss China 2006 Ying Hui Gao turned heads with this ornate costume.
Her ensemble was inspired by the costumes worn at the Chinese opera.
Avanti Marianne Page, Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2014, wore a vibrantly-coloured costume.
Page’s costume was inspired by Sri Lankan guard stones.
Miss Universe Greece 2007 Doukissa Nomikou donned an outfit inspired by ancient Grecian armour.
Miss Trinidad and Tobago Universe 2006 Kenisha Thom turned into a butterfly.
Trinidad and Tobago – and Tobago specifically – have a lot of butterflies.
Miss St. Lucia Universe 2014 Roxanne Didier-Nicholas’s costume was a modernised take on St. Lucia’s national dress.
Miss Universe Great Britain 2014 Grace Levy wore a version of the Queen’s Guard uniform.
The Queen’s Guard stands outside the Queen’s official residences, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Miss Finland 2014 Bea Toivonen’s costume was winter white, just like Finland’s snow-covered land.
The inspiration could also be from a swan: the national bird of Finland is the whooper swan.
Miss Universe Sierra Leone 2016 Hawa Kamara was the first woman to represent her country at Miss Universe.
According to MissUniverse.com, Kamara was born in Kono, the land of diamonds, and raised in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown.
Miss Dominican Republic 2014 Kimberly Castillo had the patron saint of the Dominican Republic on her dress.
The patron saint of the Dominican Republic is Virgen de Altagracia.
Marina Jacoby, Miss Nicaragua 2016, channeled a peacock.
You can see the bedazzled beak peaking out from the top of her outfit.
Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 Brenda Jimenez got to wear a crown no matter what.
Jimenez was chosen to represent Puerto Rico after the original titleholder was dethroned for not fulfilling her obligations.
Johanna Acs, Miss Universe Germany 2016, donned a castle headdress.
The prop was meant to evoke the storybook castles that Germany is known for.
Miss Egypt 2007 Ehsan Hatem channeled Cleopatra.
Though this might be a modern twist on Cleopatra’s actual garb, the last active Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt may have been around more recently than you think.
Miss Chile Universe 2005 Renata Ruiz wore a vibrant headpiece, complete with an Easter Island statue on top.
Easter Island is a Chilean territory. Its famous statues are called moai.
Miss Universe Japan 2006, Kurara Chibana, won the national costume show for her samurai-inspired garb.
Her outfit came complete with a samurai sword.
Miss Honduras 2013 Diana Schoutsen’s costume combined peacocks and traditional Mayan clothing.
One of the most famous Mayan ruins is located in western Honduras: the ancient city of Copan.
Miss Haiti Universe 2013 Mondiana Pierre’s costume looked like it was inspired by the indigenous tribes of Haiti.
- Read more:
- What 13 Miss Universe contestants look like without makeup
- Photos of the exact moment 37 contestants found out they won Miss Universe
- Here’s how Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss America are different
- 37 showstopping looks from the Miss USA pageant over the years
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