Miss Universe 2020 National Costume: 10 top picks and trivia
From left: Representatives from Iceland, Malaysia and Indonesia at the Miss Universe 2020 National Costume show
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

Miss Universe 2020 National Costume: 10 top picks and trivia

Earl D.C. Bracamonte (Philstar.com) - May 14, 2021 - 9:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — In the previous 68 editions of the annual Miss Universe competition, the Philippines won the Best National Costume award twice.

First in 1994, with Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Charlene Gonzales wearing Pitoy Moreno's stylized tribal finery, and last year, with Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados wearing Cary Santiago's metallic-hued "Agila" ensemble.

For the 69th Miss Universe edition, Miss Universe 2020 Rabiya Mateo wore a Rocky Gathercole design, in collaboration with Manny Halasan, that observers felt gave off a Victoria's Secret Angel vibe. While the entire ensemble came in all the colors of the Philippine flag, Rabiya could not wear her Sun headdress because it is expressly stipulated in our Flag Law that no costume, once worn, must carry all of our flag's colors. 

Related: In photos: Miss Universe 2020 National Costumes rich in concepts, 'magic tricks'

Apart from Rabiya's fabulous national costume, here are 10 other costumes that many fans and pageant sites feel stood out from the rest. Here they are in random order:


Vietnam – Inspired by the country's silk weaving industry and the patience of their people.
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

The "Ken Em"  cocoon is a tribute to the thousand years' old silk weaving industry of the country. The national pageant organization even held a contest to search for a designer who will create the vision.



Spain- Based on a Spanish artist’s painting
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

The translation of David Velasquez's immortal painting "Las Meninas" was commendable. And candidate Andrea Martinez wore it superbly.


Thailand – Inspired by the Siamese fighting fish
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

Despite a similar design for Miss Grand International for the representative of Laos, the Siamese fighting fish design still worked. This aquatic denizen just so happens to be the national fish of the Country of Smiles.


Peru – Inspired by the avian flamingo and the Peruvian flag
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

An ode to pink flamingos, this visually arresting "bird and a flag" ensemble pays tribute to the Peruvian centennial celebration.


Malaysia – Called 'My Village,' it is inspired by traditional houses. It is close to 300 pounds and took three months to complete. "She’s in search for a crown and dressed like a town," the host's description went.
Lazada via YouTube; MUO/Benjamin Askinas

The "My Village" structure was the biggest hand prop in the entire show. Depicting rural life in Sarawak, the 100-pound miniature house took three months to finish.


Indonesia – Inspired by the Komodo dragon, the last link to the dinosaurs and representing their heritage that goes back to prehistoric times.
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

The reptilian-inspired outfit was an ode to the komodo dragon, a specie believed by many as the link to the dinosaurs. These reptiles have thrived in Indonesia's Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years.


Iceland – Northern Lights-inspired
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

Complete with light effects, the contraption depicted the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, that blaze awe-inspiring trails on the skies of countries close to the Arctic Circle.


India – Representing the true essence of a woman and lotus flower, which for them represents equality.
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

The national costume sari is given a twist when melded with nuances from the lotus flower to symbolize equality, especially in this very trying time of India's history.


Denmark – Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 'Little Mermaid'
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

The ensemble breathes life to the fictional character of the Little Mermaid, from Hans Christian Anderson's well-loved tale of freedom and love.


Cambodia – Representing their god of unity, the costume has parts sculpted like an ancient temple.
MUO/Benjamin Askinas

Sarita Reth emulates the goddess of unity from the Myr Temple in this highly gilded creation.

Throughout all the editions of the Miss Universe, the countries of Colombia and Thailand have received the most number of Best in National Costume awards.

Meanwhile, Miss Universe posted another compilation video titled "The Look: Expressing Myself with Makeup," featuring candidates extolling the virtues of face paint as part of their respective journeys.

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