Miss Universe Malaysia, Shweta Sekhon captured the hearts of pageants fans as she won the Best National Costume at the 2019 Miss Universe pageant via online voting.

The costume named “A Peranakan Indulgence”, was designed by Malaysian couturier Carven Ong who was inspired by the rich heritage of the Peranakan community and its bridal traditions.

The elaborate design sports a bodice of woven Malay brocade songket. It also has a pair of wings made out of Nyonya kebaya fabric, commonly worn by Peranakan ladies.

Arranged around the gown is an array of Peranakan treats such as onde-onde, kueh koci, ang ku, kueh talam, kueh lapis, kueh sago, and auspicious red eggs. A traditional basket, the bakul sia, also made an appearance.

Well-recognized for his sumptuous creations, Ong’s dresses were featured in Hollywood film Crazy Rich Asians last year.

Although as the host Steve Harvey announced the winner, he mistakenly announced Miss Philippines for winning the award, similar to what he did four years ago during the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

“Earlier this week, all the contestants competed in a National Costume contest,” he began explaining. “Here’s the look at a winner, Miss Philippines…”

The real winner, Shweta, had to correct him. “It’s not the Philippines,” she told the television personality. “It’s in Malaysia.”

Harvey later said that he wasn’t at fault. He was only reading from the teleprompter.


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