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LOOK: 70th Miss Universe candidates who slayed the national costume preliminaries

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Dec 11, 2021 11:34 am

These candidates presented vibrant ensembles that showcased their country’s history, culture or tradition.

The 70th Miss universe pageant is in full swing, and all 80 candidates gave their best performance at the recently concluded preliminaries in Israel’s resort city of Eilat. 

This year’s pageant puts a spotlight on the issue of global warming that aligns with the values of the host country, and the social and global issues that the world is facing today. With this, some candidates’ costumes were crafted using biodegradable and recyclable materials to trumpet the pageant’s message. 

The national costume round of Miss Universe is typically a grandstanding showcase of pageantry. But this year’s edition seemed to be tamed down a bit compared to the previous years.

Did you miss last year’s national costumes that left us speechless—Malaysia’s kampung, Indonesia’s Komodo Dragon, Vietnam’s cocoon and Thailand’s fighting fish? Then you are not alone.

Despite this, there are still some candidates who understood the assignment and brought their A-game to the prelims, including the Philippines’ Beatrice Luigi Gomez in her Axel Que Bakunawa creation.

Before we get excited for the upcoming 70th Miss Universe coronation night on Dec. 12 (Dec. 13, Monday, 8 a.m. Philippine time) check out the national costume preliminaries and the queens who slayed the pageant stage. 

The Philippines

Philippines' Beatrice Luigi Gomez.

Beatrice Luigi Gomez finished strong in the preliminaries with her national costume, inspired by the mythical creature called Bakunawa or Moon Eater by designer Axel Que. 

During the Miss Universe Philippines 2021, Bea also wore a Bakunawa-inspired national costume by Axel with whimsical features, traditional silhouette and an avant-garde bottom.

For the Miss Universe stage, Axel continued the narrative of the Bakunawa and took the creature into its final form, which is the Golden Lunar Dragon, whose heads jut out Bea’s shoulders.

Bea shone from head to toe in shades of blue, gold, and yellow that were somehow softened in subtle cutouts. She also wore a jeweled headpiece by Manny Halasan and knee-high heels. 

Vietnam

Vietnam's Nguyan Huynh Kim Duyen.

Vietnam never fails to disappoint when it comes to quirkiness in its national costumes, especially if it’s food-inspired like the banh mi sandwich in 2018 and Ca Phe Phin Sua Da or filter coffee in 2019. 

This year, the country’s candidate Nguyan Huynh Kim Duyen donned a costume inspired by Bánh Tét, a delicate ritual dish rolled in a banana leaf into a cylindrical shape and filled with mung bean and pork. 

According to Vietnam Life, the dress is named “Ai tet hong,” which is a reference to the street cries of banh tet peddlers in southern Vietnam. 

Spain

Spain's Sara Loinaz. 

Sara Loinaz’s national costume is a tribute to Catalan modernist artist—Antoni Gaudi. The costume is dubbed “Trencadís," which is a modernist technique used by Gaudi. 

Created by fashion designer, Josué Quevedo, the costume was built on a full-length mesh, with  mosaic design made of thousands of different materials to create an image of a salamander, which appears in one of Gaudi’s works. 

Loinaz wore a feather parapet that she unfolded on stage. The costume’s colors—orange, blue, yellow and green—is also a nod to the architect and Spain, according to Diez Minutos.

Panama

Panama's Brenda Smith. 

Brenda Smith walked the Miss Universe national costume preliminaries runway in a costume that represented Panama’s public transport, “Diablo Rojo” or “Red Devil” which are buses that are adorned with graffiti, mostly of celebrities and prominent personalities. 

The costume, designed by Daniel Cortina, looks heavy, especially with its glass, metal and light details. Despite this, Smith gracefully glided across the stage and showcased the piece. 

Malta

 Malta's Jade Chi. 

Perhaps the candidate who brought the biggest (and the heaviest) national costume of the night was Jade Chi of Malta.

Jade’s outfit was inspired by the famous statue of Malta Triumphant, which features a strong and powerful woman. 

The huge handpainted pavaljun that Jade carried on her back is traditionally used to decorate the streets of Malta during feasts. At the back of the pavaljun is a skyline image of Malta’s capital, Valletta, which is also Jade’s hometown. 

She concluded her presentation with a bang by using confetti canons, which caused a tad bit of a delay for the other contestants as the production staff had to clear the golden confetti that she showered on the floor. 

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Michelle Colon.  

Michelle Colon’s national costume titled “Protectora de Nuestras Costa,” sends a message of awareness for the preservation of the environment. 

The fantasy dress, designed by Leonel Lirio and Luis Rivas, was also inspired by the Puerto Rican bomb, a musical genre that has become “a cultural manifestation of freedom, empathy and resistance.”

Michelle pays homage to African heritage and symbolizes unity and inclusion of Caribbean culture meld into one. This is reportedly the first time that a Puerto Rican representative to the Miss universe paid tribute to the Afro-descendant Puerto Rican.