This white costume accented with silver of Miss Brazil Anuska Valeria Prado won the Best National Dress in 1996. Anuska became second runner-up.
Miss World once gave accolades to a contestant who brought along with her the most dazzling and the most beautiful National Costume. However, this honor was not given much attention at the pageant. The first ever award of this kind was given to Onelia Ison Jose of the Philippines. The online world is bereft of any images of this costume but reports say that the costume consists of a Philippine Terno. That award was given in 1971 and it took many years before the award was given again. In 1992, Miss Canada Nina Khilji took the special award with her Native American costume that consisted of lots of plumes. In 1993, Miss India Karminder Kaur-Virk caught the judges’ attention with her colorful sari.
The festive National Dress of Miss Canada Nina Khilji that won the Best National Dress in 1992
The award continued until 1997. Interestingly, in 1994 the winner of the Best in National Dress became the 2nd runner-up while in 1995 the winner of this award became the first runner-up and then the same cycle happened again in 1996 and 1997.
The jury behind the National Dress Award seems to be leaning towards festive costumes of plumes and feathers like 1992's Native American costume and 1994's bird costume. But they also prefer details be they eye catching or minute like 1993's sari or 1995's costume worn by Miss Croatia Anica Martinović. Anica had a costume that embedded sea shells on ocean blue colored skirt in a costume that paid homage to the beauty of the Adriatic Sea. The last known National Dress to get an accolade was the white costume accented by laces of Miss New Zealand Lauralee Martinovich in 1997.
Irene Ferreira of Venezuela won the Best National Dress in 1994. She became the 2nd runner-up
The finals of Miss World is considered as boring by many beauty pageant watchers largely because there are no appreciable contests like say a swimsuit round or gown round. Even the interviews became an informal speech. How the panel of judges was able to streamline the Top 15 to Top 7, let alone determining the winner and the princesses, is a mystery yet to be solved. Since Miss World is hell-bent in sticking with their format, it does make sense to give the Best National Dress award once again. After all, the only exciting part of the pageant is the Dances of the World.
On top of the above logic, let us also remember the effort and money being put into these costumes. The contestants have to get into a lot of troubles packing up these sometimes large wardrobes, paying its transport and clearing them up on customs. Isn't that these efforts warrant an appreciation in form of an award? Wouldn't the National Directors be more encouraged and inspired to create fabulous dresses when there is an award for the very best?
What do you think? Should the Best National Dress award make a comeback at Miss World?