Ahead of the Miss Universe 2018 pageant, contestants representing their countries from around the world participated in the “National Costume Show.” In the show, the women showcased elaborate outfits inspired by their nation’s respective cultures and unique features. Many of the outfits’ colors reflect their nation’s flags, while others took their cues from the flora and fauna indigenous to their country; each woman’s walk was accompanied by explanations of what the costumes were meant to represent.
Miss Universe shared the show, in full, on YouTube; starting with Miss Albania, the 94 contestants’ showcases begin at the 11:05 minutes mark in the one hour and forty-five-minute long recording. In the video’s description, it says “Each of the 94 contestants will showcase a costume that represents their nation in an elaborate display of color and culture from around the world.”
Here are some of the stand-out looks from the pre-pageant celebration, and what they were inspired by:
As Miss Canada, Marta Stepien, walked across the stage’s runway, the announcers revealed that the costume was called “The Queen of the Maple Leaf, inspired by Canada’s most famous symbol.” The body of the dress was made up of maple leaves in various shades of red, orange, and yellow, and the costume’s standout features were its elaborate gold accented headdress and maple leaf staff.
Miss Laos, On-anong Homsombath, said on Instagram “I had so much fun and felt so proud carrying this token of my country’s pride in such an International arena as Miss Universe pageant.” While she walked, it was revealed that it was inspired by a “half-human half-bird spiritual creature in tradition Laos folklore.”
Miss Brazil, Mayra Dias, walked in a costume inspired by “a beautiful bird to represent the need for environmental protection.” The costume is made of thousands of yellow feathers and took three months to make.
To describe Miss Barbados Meghan Theobalds’ costume, the announcer said “This costume represents the remarkable flying fish. The color scheme of cobalt, turquoise, and silver tones with crystal highlights shows the gorgeous colors of the famous fish that can be found jumping out of warm ocean waters.”
Miss Japan, Yuumi Kato, came out wearing the traditional costume for “the female version of a ninja,” which then transformed into a second look, inspired by Sailor Moon. Kato shared a photo of her “woman warrior” look on Instagram, writing “Japanese traditional WomanNinja KUNOICHI to the New Cool Japan culture Woman warrior Sailor Moon ? from JAPAN ?? Such an honor for me to be on Amazing Stage of National costume. Feeling of Excitement, Happiness and thankfulness. Tears was in my eyes while walking.”
Miss USA, Sarah Rose Summers, explained the inspiration behind her National Costume on Instagram: “I chose to represent myself and the USA as a red rose because not only is my name Sarah ROSE, from my mother’s maiden name, but the US flower is also a red rose. I am proud to be a woman of my generation where we are focused on women empowerment and no tolerance for assault and harassment. I am grateful the #metoo movement started in the USA and has been the most impactful social movement of my lifetime, this is why I chose to highlight the #metoo movement in my national costume through the symbolic white rose on my wrist.”