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‘Altar dress’ eliminated from race to be Vietnam’s national costume at Miss Universe

Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 19:02 GMT+7
‘Altar dress’ eliminated from race to be Vietnam’s national costume at Miss Universe
The top three finalist designs for Vietnam's national costume to be donned at the Miss Universe 2019 are seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam.

An entry of a contest aimed at finding the most impressive outfit to represent Vietnamese culture at Miss Universe 2019 has failed to make it to the top three, after all the controversy surrounding the designer’s bizarre idea of making an altar-inspired dress.

Beauty queen Hoang Thuy, the first-runner up in the Miss Universe 2017 pageant, will represent Vietnam at Miss Universe 2019, with a design contest being held to choose the national costume she will don at the international competition.

The top three of the competition was announced on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 on Tuesday, with the most controversial entry, a design entitled “Ban Tho” (Altar) by Pham Quang Minh, not among the finalists.

Minh, who drew inspiration for the outfit from Vietnam’s tradition of commemorating and worshipping familial ancestors, caused a stir with his design when it was introduced to the public for the first time in May, with people criticizing its likeness to such a sacred Vietnamese cultural icon.

Ban tho sparked serious controversy after being posted to Miss Universe Vietnam’s official Facebook page. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Ban Tho sparked serious controversy after being posted to Miss Universe Vietnam’s official Facebook page. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The ‘altar dress’ design, which depicts a traditional altar complete with a photo, incense container, flower vase, and offerings, all necessary components of a traditional Vietnamese altar, did make it to the top 18 round, where designers had to present their ideas before a panel of judges.

Minh, who secured his Top-18 berth as one of the five entries that received the most votes from an online poll, just failed to convince the judges of the appropriateness of placing an altar with an incense container on a person's butt and breasts.

In the meantime, the designers of the top three entries all won the judges’ hearts with their outstanding outfits and their implied messages.

The three finalist designs are “Co” (Stork) by Nguyen Duc Liem, “Vung Dat Chin Rong” (The Land of Nine Dragons) by Hoang Huu Kha, and “Cafe Phin Sua Da” (Vietnamese-Style Coffee with Milk and Ice) by Tran Nguyen Minh Duc, according to the Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 Facebook page.

The “Cafe Phin sua da” (Vietnamese style brew coffee with milk and ice) design by Tran Nguyen Minh Duc is seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam

The Cafe Phin Sua Da (Vietnamese-Style Coffee with Milk and Ice) design by Tran Nguyen Minh Duc is seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam.

The “Cafe Phin Sua Da” design was praised for its bold idea of bringing a Vietnamese popular drink onto the fashion runway, while “Co” skillfully brings the peaceful scene of a typical Vietnamese village to a dress.

The “Co” (Stork) design by Nguyen Duc Liem is seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam

The Co (Stork) design by Nguyen Duc Liem is seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the “Vung Dat Chin Rong” boasts an impressive look as it features nine golden dragons, a symbolic creature in Vietnamese culture and history.

The “Vung dat chin rong” (The land of nine dragons) design by Hoang Huu Kha is seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam

The “Vung Dat Chin Rong (The Land of Nine Dragons) design by Hoang Huu Kha is seen in this photo uploaded on the official Facebook page of Miss Universe Vietnam.

The three finalists will turn their designs into real outfits under the instructions of three professional designers to compete in the last round, where the judges will single out the winner.

The Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 has yet to announce the schedule of the last round, whereas the Miss Universe Organization has made no statement regarding where the beauty pageant will be hosted as of Wednesday.

The costume design contest, which calls for local fashion designers to submit their ideas for Vietnam’s national costumer at the Miss Universe editions, has been held annually since 2016.

Last year, an ‘out-of-the-box’ idea to recreate banh mi, the famed Vietnamese bread, as a dress won the contest to officially become the national costume of Vietnam, worn by H’Hen Nie at the Miss Universe 2018 in Thailand. H’Hen advanced to the top five of that contest.

Miss H’Hen Nie dons the “banh mi” costume at the press meeting on November 21, 2018

Miss H’Hen Nie dons the banh mi costume at a press meeting on November 21, 2018.

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