Indonesia’s National Costume Triumph


If anyone out there would ask what would be the most consistent thing about the Big4 pageants lately, then the answer should be Indonesia. It is a large, very populous Muslim-dominated nation which thrives in diversity but can’t boast any Big4 crown yet. But its people have that strong love for their nation and its Big4 contestants don their sashes with pride and confidence.



Elfin Pertiwi Rappa

The pageantry year 2014 – which unfortunately extended till January 2015 – saw all the Best in National Costume awards being won by Indonesians. Even minor pageants were not spared. As a country with diverse cultures, it is of no wonder that its designers have so many inspirations to draw from. The choices are truly varied and the differences among these cultures are sometimes vast. Think how different a national costume would be if it will be inspired by the culture of the Acehnese from the one inspired by the culture of Irian Jaya.

Indonesia fabulously opened the pageant season with a Top 10 finish and a National Costume triumph with  Elfin Pertiwi Rappa at Miss International 2014. Then, Annisa Ananda Nusyirwan made a perfect follow-up with her dazzling performance at Miss Earth 2014 which earned her the gold medal in the National Costume for the Asia-Pacific region (there was no overall winner for the National Costume at the pageant). Too bad Miss World no longer conducts the Best National Dress competition and no awards were given at the Dances of the World. Indonesia then capped its crowning glory at the National Costumes by snatching the Best National Costume Award at the Miss Universe 2014 pageant thanks largely to the great performance of Elvira Devinamira.


Annisa Ananda Nusyirwan

So, what makes Indonesia a success in this department? First, it helps that its designers are all Indonesians who can truly appreciate the culture and history of their own nation. Second, the designers of its costumes are not afraid to be adventurous and they don’t just work around with the usual kebaya. They exerted a lot of effort to ensure that Indonesia will show up the next year with a completely different national costumes.

Truly, even if Indonesia has not won any of the Big4 pageants, its people can be proud of their hardwork and creativity. Their victory at the National Costume contests shows not only the Indonesians compete at pageants but they compete with passion and fervor. They are proud of their nation and with that, it is not surprising that they will soon be winning crowns in a decade or so.




  1. Miss Supranational Indonesia, Estelita Liana, also won Best National Costume in Miss Supranational. so did in Miss Supermodel International.

  2. Indonesia comprising more than 300 ethnich and 200 languanges, it such a fantastic thing that bulid Indonesia cultural and diversity!

      • i dont deny that. i remember a few years back when i attended a conference in Malaysia when a big controversy regarding cultures of Malaysia and Indonesia broke out. in one of the introductory lectures on Malaysia we were informed that malaysia and indonesia share alot in common particularly in cultures and language. and this has been there since time immemorial. im just curios, if indonesia accepts the hindu cultures as their own because 90% of the people in Bali (not the entire indonesia) are hindu since a very long time that it is part of indonesia, why is malaysia wrong to accept the indonesia cultures that have been assimilated in the malaysia cultures since time immemorial as Malaysia´s?

        • Because for Indonesians Malaysian culture is Malay-based only. For Malaysian ‘malay’ means people of the entire archipelago but for Indonesian ‘malay’ means Malay people who resides on Riau Province and Riau Islands (and btw even Indonesian Malays will exactly tell you the same thing that they’re the only should be called malay in the archipelago.). So when Malaysian said that they share same culture it would be implied that it includes Balinese, Batak, Dayaks, and many others that since they’re non muslim they’ll never should be considered as ‘malays’ in Malaysia. So for indonesian Malaysian point of view is wrong. If you don’t understand this then you don’t understand why indonesia and malaysia make a fuss on cultural thing.

          • How about sabah & sarawak cultures? You see only malays in peninsular but neglect those dayak, kadazan, bajau and other ethnics who dominate malaysian part of borneo island. Even when we show our own culture, you guys do blame us for stealing your culture. Is it because they are considered belong to kalimantan and cannot be claim by those at the other side of the border?