KUALA LUMPUR, 12 November 2019 – Shweta Sekhon, reigning Miss Universe Malaysia 2019 unveiled ‘A Peranakan Indulgence’ National Costume and Evening Gown which she will be showcasing on stage at the 68th MISS UNIVERSE competition taking place in Atlanta, Georgia, USA at a special media preview held today at Vogue Lounge in Kuala Lumpur.

Shweta looked resplendent in the custom-made National Costume created by famed Malaysian fashion designer Carven Ong who paid tribute to Malaysia’s rich cultural influences from the Malay, Chinese and Peranakan (Straits-Born Chinese) community with his choice of materials and elements of the costume, while the golden caramel Evening Gown, also a Carven Ong creation was inspired by the sandy beaches of Malaysia.

Ong spent three months creating the elaborate National Costume by combining the elements of the Malay, Chinese and Peranakan culture. The main body of the dress is made using songket, a luxurious brocade commonly used in Malay wedding attires, and embroided with elaborate beadwork while the wings feature Nyonya batik, a fabric favoured by Peranakan women and commonly used as sarongs, a long strip of cloth wrapped around the body like a skirt.

A golden cape made of songket with gold thread and red beadings adds a touch of ceremonial grandeur to the costume, inspired by the traditional wedding costume worn by a Peranakan bride, symbolising the union of yin and yang. The Nyonya batik-clad wings represent the tails of a goldfish to symbolise an abundance of wealth and prosperity. For the headgear, gold aster flowers were chosen to represent love, daintiness and femininity to bring out the wearer’s inner beauty.

The intercultural reference is further emphasised with the presentation of an assortment of local kuih (cakes) of both Malay and Peranakan origins surrounding the costume, including familiar sweet delicacies like onde-onde, kuih koci, ang ku, kuih talam, kuih lapis, kuih sago and red eggs, complete with a bakul siah (traditional Nyonya basket), reminiscent of a lavish Peranakan wedding feast which add to the colourful richness of the costume.

Ong said, “They were many challenges in creating the National Costume, from the mini stage to the wings that would enable Shweta to move gracefully and carry them comfortably, to the replica food, as well as the delicate work required for the embroidery patches. Overall I am pleased with the final outcome, and it fills me with great pride to be given the opportunity to create something unique to symbolise the beauty of my country, Malaysia and introduce our multi-cultural heritage to the world.

For the Evening Gown, Ong chose a golden caramel hue to represent the fine grains of sand found on Malaysian beaches, embellished with real sea shell beads in a variety of shapes, shades and sizes, all were hand sewn onto the dress. Shweta’s hour glass figure is fully accentuated with a corset and bustier design made entirely from exclusive organdie, and completed with a mermaid’s fin silhouette on both sides of her hip.

The Evening Gown and National Costume for Miss Universe Malaysia 2019 are sponsored by Wescara, in partnership with Carven Ong Couture.

Carven Ong is a well-established Malaysian fashion designer from Kuala Lumpur, known for his sophisticated couture pieces from breathtaking wedding gowns to chic evening gowns. Making his debut in 1991, Ong founded the Carven Academy of Fashion, Carven Ong Couture and Carven Ong ready-to-wear. Most recently, Ong gained accolades for his stunning couture pieces including the iconic two-piece waterproof wedding gown and sequin jumpsuit worn by the character ‘Araminta Lee’ in the Hollywood hit film, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.

n lieu of the National Gift Auction and as part of FOX TV’s Holiday line-up this year, the Miss Universe Organization will be working with local charities to create awareness for their toy drives and help ensure that all children will have the opportunity to receive a present this holiday season. As such, delegates will be providing a holiday gift to be donated to a local toy drive for children in need. For Malaysia, Bowerhaus has generously provided a bejewelled tropical pineapple soft toy decorated with Malaysia Borneo pearl and rock crystals for the children’s gift. Additionally, the child will also receive a headband in faceted daffodil.

Bowerhaus is also the sponsor of the delegate gifts, and has designed two pearl bracelets using their signature Malaysian freshwater pearls from Borneo, with a unique baroque pearl dangling off each bracelet. No one pearl is alike showcasing its natural beauty and diversity in its original form. An onyx gemstone is embedded into the grey baroque pearl to signify strength, confidence and perseverance. In the champagne pearl bracelet, an angel skin gemstone is embedded to symbolise purity, determination and flexibility. Finally, a little rock crystal is placed to signify a life embraced by the love of clarity, some sparkle and little bit of magic.

Today’s event was made possible thanks to our generous sponsors for Miss Universe Malaysia 2019: Babel, Bowerhaus, Carven Ong, Glojas Smart International Aesthetic, Habib Jewels, HELP University, La Jung, Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Makeup Miracle Academy & Workshop, Miko Galère, Runway Productions by Catwalk Guru, Strip – Ministry of Waxing, Tiew Dental, Wescara and Vogue Lounge KL.

Official images of Shweta Sekhon in the National Costume and Evening Gown, and information on Carven Ong and Bowerhaus are available for download here: