Derided at home, Vietnam contestant’s dress wins best costume at int’l beauty pageant

By VnExpress   December 3, 2016 | 03:00 am PT
Derided at home, Vietnam contestant’s dress wins best costume at int’l beauty pageant
This 44-kilogram dress has been named “Best National Costume” at Miss Supranational 2016.
The head-turning 44-kilogram dress has been the subject of harsh criticism over the past few weeks.

It must have been a shocking, if not awkward moment for many critics when Duong Nguyen Kha Trang’s heavy dress was named “Best National Costume” at Miss Supranational 2016 on Saturday.

The mostly unimportant beauty pageant, held in Poland this year, has been a hot topic in Vietnam in recent weeks because of the hullabaloo over the costume choice of the country’s representative.

To say it’s a controversial dress seems to be an understatement.

Social media and the press have been talking non-stop about the dress, whether it deserves to represent Vietnam as a “national costume” and why the iconic silk tunic ao dai has not been chosen instead. So many blog posts and so many memes have been inspired by it.

The dress was reportedly put together in three months by Vietnamese designer Le Long Dung. When images of the dress were first released last month, they triggered a firestorm of criticism spanning various issues from fashion and beauty to national identity and pride.

Dung said the dress, weighing 44 kilograms, is a stylized version of the traditional royal costume from Dong Son, a Bronze Age culture in ancient Vietnam around more than 2,000 years ago.

Some Vietnamese loved the idea, but a majority seemed to hate the dress, saying it’s too heavy, too flamboyant and too similar to colorful, carnival-inspired dresses of other countries.

For Trang, a 24-year-old model, the sheer weight of the dress may have hurt her more than the critics: she once fell on stage wearing the dress and suffered minor injuries.

Now that she’s coming home with a prize, it remains to be seen if Vietnamese will continue to talk about the costume.

Miss Supranational 2016 was co-organized by Poland and Slovakia from November 19. The beauty contest drew 70 participants from around the world and Srinidhi Shetty from India was crowned the queen.

Related news:

Vietnam’s ‘ao dai’: a hit with French photographer

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