KUALA LUMPUR, 27 April 2021 – Francisca Luhong James, reigning Miss Universe Malaysia
2020 unveiled the ‘Kampungku’ National Costume and Evening Gown at a media preview today
in Vogue Lounge, Kuala Lumpur for the 69 TH MISS UNIVERSE® competition set to take place in
Hollywood, Florida in the United States on 16 May 2021 (17 May Malaysian time).
The ‘Kampungku’ National Costume was created by Malaysian couture designer Carven Ong
while the ‘Francisca’ doll headpiece was provided by Wesley Hilton of Borneo Doll. Carven Ong
was the designer behind the ‘Peranakan Indulgence’ National Costume worn by Shweta Sekhon,
Miss Universe Malaysia 2019 at the Miss Universe competition last year which drew worldwide
Literally translated to mean ‘My Village’, the ‘Kampungku’ National Costume was inspired by
traditional Malay kampong houses that dot the landscape in villages and rural areas across
Peninsular Malaysia. Typically made of timber and built on stilts, the kampong house has
tropically suited roofs, fenestration features to suit the warm weather and decorative elements.
The traditional architecture of these dwellings reflects the craftsmanship and aesthetic elements
of the Malay community, and are often built with a modular concept without the use of nails.
The traditional Malay kampong house evokes a sense of nostalgia as it serves as a powerful
reminder of one’s humble beginnings and family roots since many Malaysians might have had
fond memories growing up in a village setting before migrating to the city. Weighing
approximately 45kg, the kampong house is illustrated in shades of black and white to match
Francisca’s batik kaftan dress. The colour scheme symbolizes the sweet, innocent memory of
one’s youth while the motif on the fabric is inspired by Sarawak’s ‘pua’ ceremonial cloth, as well
as the Orang Ulu and Malay batik print. The look is completed with a headpiece in the shape of a
bicycle, a typical mode of transport for youths back in the olden days.
The kampong scene is then brought to life in colour, complete with replica chickens and coconut
tree when the reverse side of the house is revealed. Matching the scene is a vibrant off-shoulder
orange gown representing a stunning evening sunset, and gold ‘kerawang’ wooden beading to
reflect Francisca’s Sarawakian heritage. To complete the transformation, Francisca wears a
whimsical-looking headpiece by Borneo Doll featuring a ‘Francisca’ doll with an identical gown
and a crown to denote queenly beauty, surrounded by the national flower, ‘Bunga Raya’ made of
intricately woven ‘mengkuang’ to symbolise her beloved country, Malaysia. The whole costume
and headpieces took a total of three months to complete.
For the evening gown, designer Rizman Ruzaini was inspired by the legend of the beautiful
Princess Sejinjang who is synonymous with Sarawak’s folklore. The Land of the Hornbills is also
the birthplace of Francisca who is of Kayan, Kenyah and Iban ethnicity.
The ombré turquoise gown was created with Princess Sejinjang in mind, the princess who was
turned into an island according to legend. The silver gemstones lend a luxurious and elegant feel
to the creation, sparkling brightly as they catch the light just like the grains of sand on the ocean
floor. The hourglass silhouette and high slit on the front allow Francisca to radiate confidence as
a strong and beautiful front-runner when she walks on stage.
The Miss Universe Malaysia Organization worked with the following partners in preparation of this final leg of Miss Universe Malaysia 2020’s journey: Wescara in partnership with Malaysia’s
renowned international couture designer Carven Ong – designer of the National Costume;
Rizman Ruzaini – designer of the Evening Gown; Secrets of Nature – the Official Safety
Protection Partner and Sponsor of Francisca’s business class flights; Habib – the Official
Jewellery; Jeeves – the Official Dry Clean Sponsor; Shawn Cutler – the Official Hair Sponsor;
Amber Chia Academy – the Official Catwalk Academy; and Vogue Lounge – the Official Venue.
Appreciation also goes out to the following supporting partners: Borneo Doll by Wesley Hilton,
Packaging Mart, Babel, Esteem Dental, Glojas Smart International Aesthetics, Dermalogica, Strip Ministry of Waxing and La Jung Aesthetic Clinic.
Fans who want to show their support and love for Francisca can vote her into the Top 21 at the
69th MISS UNIVERSE Competition by downloading the Miss Universe official app and casting
their votes now.
Official images of Francisca in the National Costume and Evening Gown are available for
download here: http://bit.ly/MUM2020NationalCostume