| 08.18.10 | Wednesday
The Miss Universe 2010 National Costume competition took place at a ballroom at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas last Monday, August 16. All 83 contestants sashayed their way from the dressing room onto a stage where they posed for photographers and the adoring crowd. Compared to past costume presentations which were held on stage or elegant settings, this year's costume show was held at the hotel lobby. A reliable source informed me that the girls had been told earlier that it would take place in a ballroom in true Las Vegas style, only to be informed later that they would simply pose on a built-in stage - which bothered many of them to the point of cussing and swearing. What's bothersome to me is having to see the sponsor's logo in the background - the image of two female models takes away too much attention from the contestant. A national costume show had been initially set up as a paid event, but due to low ticket sales, the show was cancelled and was replaced by a free, dowdy spectacle at the hotel lobby.
Let's talk about the costumes. To me, Miss Venezuela Marelisa Gibson's costume, "Alma Solar" by designer Hugo Espina - inspired by a metal and glass structure in Caracas called "Abra Solar" (photo, right) by architect Alejandro Otero - is the best this year. Why? Because it's innovative, interesting, unique, well-executed, and a veritable show-stopper. Critics say that the costume is hardly representative of Venezuela, but they're wrong. The costume represents Venezuelan ingenuity, modernism, progress, boldness, vision, and hope - in spite of Hugo Chavez's nefarious dictatorship.In any case, people are talking about Gibson's costume, and the more they talk about it, the more it's getting attention. "Abra Solar" has now replaced the Eiffel Tower as the world's most interesting structure.
Another much vilified costume is Miss Japan Maiko Itai's over-the-top, hard-to-describe Gallianoesque thread - accessorized by a giant ribbon-laced chopstick and a gigantic fan that could soothe a 50-foot glamazon tranny in a desert. It's not your traditional Japanese costume (which would have been boring), but the whole look from top to bottom screams Japan. Leave it to national director Inés Ligron to deliver intrigue and drama, as she does every year with her Japanese representatives. Lastly, Miss Turkey Gizem Memic's costume catches my attention because it's so campy without being too gaudy. Think of a Turkish whirling dervish going gaga over Lady Gaga. Can't beat that!
Other eye-catching costumes: Thailand, Kazakhstan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, USA, Bahamas, Australia, Angola, Albania and Guatemala.
PHOTO CREDITS / MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION