I am no newcomer to beauty pageants, having created many evening gowns for many Miss Universe Singapore winners, I was invited to design this year winner’s National Costume. I have taken the main inspiration of the Peranakan wedding gown, known as the ‘Kuah’ and infused the elements of other Singaporean Ethnic groups to incorporate them into this year’s National Costume.
This beautiful Chinese silk gown features hand sewn embroidered motifs of flowers depicting Singapore’s fame as a Garden City. The rich red colour is chosen as red is an auspicious colour for the different traditional ethnic groups in Singapore symbolising joy, life, energy, and creativity. Contemporary in approach, this costume also reflects Singapore’s cosmopolitan mix; elaborate hand-beading and the accessories illustrate the intricate nature of the many nationalities that now call Singapore home. Rich beautiful handcrafted gemstones adorn the hairpins and belts.
Singapore is a secular multi-religious country due to its diverse ethnic mix of peoples originating from various countries. Singaporean culture is best described as a melting pot of mainly Chinese, British, Malay, and Indian cultures, a reflection of its immigrant history.
Marriages within the community and of similar stature are the norm. The roots of the Singapore Peranakan can be traced to Chinese settlements in Malacca and the Dutch East Indies from at least the 17th century onwards, when intermarriages took place between male Chinese migrants and local non- Chinese women. The Peranakan culture is a rich blend of the Chinese and Malay cultures with some influence from the Portuguese, Dutch, British, Thai, Indian and Indonesian cultures as well.
Singapore’s National Costume reflects its people, its multicultural diversity and harmony.