Aside from her runner-up finish at Miss Tourism World, it’s also worth applauding Justine Felizarta for her well-thought-out wardrobe. With only 8 days to prepare everything, the lack of time certainly didn’t prevent her from becoming quite the showstopper.
Since arriving in Vietnam for the competition, Justine has come out with looks that appeal both to us, international fans, and the locals. Collaborating with Pinoy fashion designer Ritchie Teves, they have created stunning masterpieces that celebrate the beauty of Vietnamese culture.
As we dive into these pieces, we, ourselves get a closer look into what Vietnam is truly all about. So better fasten your seatbelts because we’re going on a fashion excursion!
Both in culture and in heritage
Wearing a traditional-inspired outfit is something we always see in any beauty pageant. While it aims to showcase one’s culture or those of the host country, this is definitely nothing new. However, in Justine’s case, her dress binds both The Philippines and Vietnam together.
Naming it “A Marriage of Culture and Heritage”, the outfit takes inspiration from both countries’ traditional outfits. Featuring an oversize sleeve, its design and material resembles those of a classic “baro at saya”. Meanwhile, the skirt portrays a more compact version of the “Ao Dai” which is the national clothing of Vietnam.
According to Teves, the outfit takes a modern look into the coexistence of both countries.
In full bloom
A national symbol in Vietnam, the Pink Lotus is much like our version of the Sampaguita. Found throughout the country, it is also known as the flower of dawn, symbolizing commitment, optimism, calm, and purity.
The dress, which stands out against her golden complexion, has an embroidered pink lotus as its focal point.
Big and Mighty
A noble animal in Vietnamese, the Elephant or Con Voi holds a special place in both their culture and religion.
As explained by Teves: “Historically elephants graced the Royal Courts and were revered by Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. In later times, elephants were symbols of war in Vietnam. Elephants played a crucial transportation role in the war for independence and Vietnam war.”
Furthermore, he compares Justine to the Elephant. Stating that because Justine is prepared and armed, she is finally ready to face her biggest battle.
In the festive spirit
A fiery red off-shoulder gown hugs Justine’s amazing figure. This outfit encapsulates Vietnam in its entirety because nothing speaks more about a country than its celebrations. Her look pays homage to the Tet Nguyen Dan or the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
Celebrated to thank the gods for the arrival of spring, it’s during this time that the locals honor their ancestors as well as spend time with their families.
A commemoration that highlights family, this is a shared trait that we, Filipinos and the Vietnamese have in common.
In the spirit of the pageant, tourism truly does come in all forms. A clever and creative approach, it is through this technique that surely helps candidates like Justine can express their insights and emotions.
Even though she didn’t win Miss Tourism World, Justine was still able to show her deep love and gratitude for Vietnam. For providing her memories that she will cherish forever, that, sure enough, is unquestionably worth more than any crown.
Vee De Serra is a go-getter and a writer driven by passion. When in doubt, Vee believes that "Life isn't fair but it is up to you make it one". As a city and a beach person, when the sun is out, expect Vee to spend hours getting lost in the concrete jungle or laying by the shoreline with both finishing the day by watching a beautiful sunset.