Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday, 17 December 2014 – Exquisitely stunning and intricately crafted, the unveiling of the National Costume and Evening Gown by reigning Miss Universe Malaysia 2014 Sabrina Beneett enthralled the crowd who was present to witness the preview at Barn Thai Restaurant & Bar today.
The National Costume designed by Adila Long with accessories by per te, and Evening Gown by FIZIWOO will be showcased by Sabrina Beneett at the 63rd Miss Universe Pageant to be held on 25 January 2015 in Doral-Miami, USA.
The Goddess of Kenyalang (Hornbill Goddess) was the chosen theme for the National Costume, a royal emblem of the tribes of East Malaysia. The concept bears close resonance to Puteri Santubong, a royal princess of the Gods who descended down from the heavens to teach the women of the tribes the skills to weave the pua kumbu.
To the ethnic Kayan and Iban, the Kenyalang is believed to be a messenger of the gods and worshipped as tribe warriors prepare for battle. The bird is admired for its loyalty and rarity and symbolically associated to royalty, power, and intelligence. The accessories that accompany the costume are faux feathers to emulate the stealth of the bird, and jewelry inspired by the Iban and Kayan warriors for war or rituals and ceremonial purposes up to this day.
The fabric embellishments are inspired by the authentic Pua Kumbu weaving that are sacred to the Ibans. The women of the tribe are said to design the Pua Kumbu based on the spirits in her dreams, and every design is not only a display of her skills and expertise but also of her soul. Thus the Pua Kumbu is reserved only for sacred occasions such as the birth of a new child, death and war, and is only weaved by the higher-ranked women of the tribe.
“These elements are strung together akin to a tribal goddess that represents the hopes and dreams of her people; the loyalty and confidence of a regal Kenyalang, and the independence and empowerment of a woman and the spirit of a warrior. It is a character that I connect to deeply even in this modern day, and an embodiment of the rich culture I'm born into as a Malaysian. All hail the tribal Goddess of Kenyalang!" said Adila Long.
Sabrina enthused, “I wanted the inspiration of my national costume to be something bold and not seen before. We are blessed with an amazingly rich culture and I wanted to showcase an aspect of the East Malaysia culture that I love so much. The iconic hornbill or Kenyalang is an emblem that I relate to in terms of traits such as loyalty, regality and a strong self-identity. It is a beautiful creation that the entire team at Adila Long and per te handmade jewelry has worked so hard to put together and I can't wait to show it off during the National Costume parade in Miss Universe!"
FIZIWOO, a brand by local celebrated designers, is the real magician behind this timeless bronze goddess inspired evening gown. The choice of gold symmetrical sequin work illustrates liquid gold dripping over the body of the wearer. The silhouette of this opulent gown is especially chosen to show off Sabrina's hour glass figure and highlight her stunning long legs. The simple train falls effortlessly to accentuate the enigma of a queen that is strong and commanding yet feminine and soft.
FIZIWOO's principles of fashion is less is more; incorporating sleek and clean design but retaining the femininity and softness of material in order to balance their creation. With the mix of architecture and fashion background of the designers, their understanding of women's' bodies are impeccable as the designers have vast experience in garment-making. Their designs are more structured and clean with little embellishments that they believe should be added in by the wearer to finish off a look.
“I worked very closely with the designers in the making of this gold dress. I love how they understand my silhouette so well and we envisioned similar colors and detailing for the gown. I love how all my features are emphasized and the best was how I felt when I had the dress on, it's truly made fit for a queen," remarked Sabrina on the evening gown.