Every year, one of the most awaited traditions of the Puteri Indonesia contest is the appearance of the reigning Miss Universe dressed in the full glory of a splendid kebaya. The national dress of Indonesia traces its origins from an ancient Javanese kingdom and the tradition spread through the Sunda Strait areas including Bali. The word kebaya is a derivative of Arabic abaya [عباية] and has spread to other Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Brunei.
In Indonesia, kebaya is very much revered and is reserved for special occasions. In several instances, it has been used as a national costume at beauty pageants and what is interesting is the variety of designs, patterns and concepts that the designers can come up with. As for the Miss Universe winners who graced the Puteri Indonesia contest, we’ve seen the majesty of Leila Lopes, the royalty in Ximena Navarette, the glamor in Olivia Culpo when they all donned the famous kebaya.
So how did Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega fare in her own version of kebaya? In a word – majestic! Paulina rocked the stage as she looked like a fusion of a Javan princess and a Balinese dancer. There is an added sexiness in the wardrobe thanks to the revealing yet tastefully done left brassiere. The choice of colors is excellent as the more metallic black, dark browns and hues of copper orange matches the strong aura of the new crown. It also complements the fair skin tone of Paulina.
As Paulina walked on the stage with majestic presence and undeniable beauty, the kebaya looked perfectly royal. It is a fitting testament that the national dress of Indonesia has a potential to gain worldwide appeal. It is a dress so beautiful that even a Miss Universe – as perfect as she is – looks even more spectacular.