Miss Venezuela shines in ao dai


Pretty as the picture: Dayana Mendoza, Miss Venezuela, is ecstatic after winning the ao dai contest at HCM City’s Hoa Binh Theatre on Monday. — VNS Photo Minh Quoc

HCM CITY — Miss Venezuela Dayana Mendoza offered a sneak peek at her prowess on Monday night, winning the Best of Miss Ao Dai title at a contest in HCM City.

The show saw all 80 Miss Universe contestants draped in the flowing traditional Vietnamese garment, ao dai, at the Hoa Binh Theatre.

Divided into four groups, they were draped by Sy Hoang, Vo Viet Chung, Lien Huong, and Thuan Viet, four of the country’s most celebrated designers.

Miss Viet Nam, Miss India, Miss Thailand, and Miss Kazakhstan were the four semi-finalists who were pipped to the title by Dayana.

The designers used traditional fabrics like silk, lace, and velvet in their collections. Sy Hoang’s called his collection Viet Nam’s Ao Dai, Lien Huong called it Mua Huong Sac (The Season of Beauty), Vo Viet Chung called it Chan Dung Au-A (Portraits of Europe and Asia), and Thuan Viet called it Tinh Hoa Hoi Tu (Integration of the Best),

The contest was shown live on Viet Nam Television 1, giving viewers a taste of what is in store next month.

“It was wonderful tonight,” Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organisation, said.

“The girls all look very beautiful and Viet Nam’s ao dai is so unique and attractive. We love it.”

It was the last engagement in the city for the beauties who have moved northward. Yesterday they went on a parade in Hoi An on pedicabs flying their national flags and symbols and led by last year’s Miss Universe, Japan’s Riyo Mori.

They also had the opportunity to relax and take in the town’s centuries-old atmosphere at a musical performance.

After Hoi An and Da Nang, the 80 contestants will go on to the capital Ha Noi, where they will be received by the country’s leaders, and Ha Long Bay for a look at Viet Nam’s most well-known landscape.

In Ha Noi, the beauties will attend a reception jointly hosted by ministries of Foreign Affairs and Culture, Sports and Tourism at Deawoo Hotel.

Ambassadors from those countries being representated at Miss Universe 2008 will be also invited. Titled “Ambassadors’ Gala Dinner” the reception will be held to promote cultural exchanges between Viet Nam and the rest of the world. — VNS