Miss Vietnam may find herself rocking a “bánh mì-inspired” dress as her national costume for the upcoming 2018 Miss Universe competition.
Should the dress wins the popular vote in the poll dedicated for the costume selection, 25-year-old Miss Universe Vietnam H’Hen Nie will be wearing the eye-catching dress in Bangkok, Thailand this December.
A member of the E De ethnic minority from the Central Highlands, Nie made history earlier this year for being the first winner from an ethnic minority group.
Her witty interview answers and charming, humble personality captured the hearts of viewers and the general public. Her victory also sparked a rare discussion on racial diversity online, according to Saigoneer.
Recently donning the bánh mì evening gown, Nie has again generated excitement among local pageant fans.
Vietnamese fashion designers were asked to submit an outfit that best represents Vietnamese culture for the competition’s National Costume round.
Nie then donned the top six dresses, as voted on by the public, displaying a distinct and varied ensemble of styles. The designs highlighted traditional aspects of Vietnamese culture, from the Mid-Autumn Festival to Hang Trong traditional paintings to, of course, bánh mì.
Designed by Pham Phuoc Dien, the bánh mì dress, inspired by the internationally recognized Vietnamese sandwich, has become the most controversial among the finalists.
With the costume, Nie takes on the role of a bánh mì vendor carrying a tray of bread around her waist.
While a lot of netizens praised the bánh mì dress for being “out-of-the-box” and “very Vietnam,” there were also those who have criticized it for being “too plain” or “cheap-looking.”
Facebook user Quang Thai poked fun at the bánh mi dress by submitting his own ironic photoshopped costume designs highlighting other iconic Vietnamese delicacies.
In the past, several other countries have also taken inspiration from food for their costumes. Miss Universe Thailand once wore a durian-inspired costume while Miss Universe Malaysia had previously donned a nasi lemak-inspired dress.