Miss Universe Malaysia’s Nyonya-inspired outfit wins Best National Costume (VIDEO)

Melanie Chalil
Miss Universe Malaysia 2019 Shweta Sekhon wears ‘A Peranakan Indulgence’ during a press preview last month in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon was voted Best National Costume at the 68th Miss Universe 2019 pageant in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.

The costume was inspired by the Peranakan or Baba Nyonya community’s rich bridal traditions and was aptly named ‘A Peranakan Indulgence’.

When asked by host Steve Harvey about her costume, Shweta said Nyonya people are descendants of “mixed marriage between the Malays and the Chinese”.

“The wings here define the tail of the goldfish which they believe is a sign of prosperity.”



Weighing a hefty 28 kilogrammes, the costume features songket, Nyonya batik and trays of colourful Nyonya delights such as onde-onde, kueh koci, ang ku and kueh talam.

It was designed by Taiping-born fashion designer Carven Ong, who is known and loved for his bridal creations since 1991.

“Oh my God, I really can’t believe,” exclaimed Ong when contacted by Malay Mail.

Ong said he received the good news from Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation national director Datin Elaine Daly over a phone call.

Ong’s creations can also be seen in the 2018 rom-com hit Crazy Rich Asians.

Peranakans are descended from Chinese settlers who arrived in the Malay Archipelago between the 15th and 17th centuries.

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