Dewi dazzles with ‘Borneo Queen of the Hornbill’ costume

By Jude Toyat


FOR EVERYBODY WHO’S BEEN following 25-year-old Dewi Liana Seriestha since she won the Miss World Malaysia title, the designs behind her evening gown and national costume have been closely guarded secrets.

All was revealed to those who attended ‘An Evening with Miss Malaysia World 2014’ November 15 when Dewi debuted her outfits and showcased her song repertoire for the talent segment in anticipation of the upcoming international beauty pageant.

Designed by Emil Hamlyn, her costume called ‘The Borneo Queen of Hornbill’ did not disappoint. Accentuating Dewi’s lithe figure and her height, her costume was dramatic, spectacular and representative of the Bidayuh beauty queen’s Sarawakian origins.


Dewi in her uniquely designed national costume by Emil Hamlyn.

Dewi in her uniquely designed national costume by Emil Hamlyn.


Her costume consists of a ‘kumang’ (which means the most beautiful), a long dress from the Bidayuh community, and an extravagant headdress made of rattan and a crown weaved with hornbill feathers inspired by the Lun Bawang community, giving her a commanding presence on the stage.

According to Emil, the idea for his creation was the culmination of all his experience judging Kumang Gawai competitions where he always dreamt of transforming traditional Dayak costumes with contemporary stylings, mixing design elements from the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu communities.


Dewi with the national costume (4)

The bells sewn into her national costume sound with every step she makes, lending her presence an ethereal quality.


“The materials used for this costume are the same as those used for traditional ones. The only difference I made was the elongation of the skirt, which normally would be lot shorter. Since this is going to be used for the competition, I made it similar to an evening gown. Even the silver linings on the dress are updated versions of the normal colourful ones. I have also maintained the colours of the traditional Bidayuh costume, which are red and black,” Emil said.

To make Dewi and her outfits stand out from her predecessors, he made the creative decision to veer away from sequins or pua kumbu motif as “many people have used those kind of costumes with such designs before.”

Emil didn’t overlook any element in ‘The Queen of the Hornbill’ design. Besides its striking appearance, tiny copper bells have been attached to the long dress to symbolize the sounds of the rainforest, adding an ethereal quality to Dewi’s costume that will sound with her every step.

For added majesty, she will be adorned in traditional Iban accessories including silver earrings, bangles, silver belt and silver corset by Ricky Racha.

Dewi hopes her costume will instill a sense of awareness and pride in our community on the importance of preserving our cultural and environmental heritage.

Her evening gowns designed by Bill Keith, Amelia Hassan and ‘Sposa by Rizky’ maintain the elegance and regalness of beauty queens.


Dewi wearing an evening gown designed by Sposa by Rizky  (2)-horz

Dewi wearing an evening gown designed by Sposa by Rizky.

Dewi welcoming everyone to the dinner (1)

Dewi welcoming everyone to the dinner on November 15.

Dewi performing 'You Raise Me Up' wearing an evening gown  designed by Sposa Rizky (6)

Dewi performing ‘You Raise Me Up’ wearing an evening gown designed by Sposa by Rizky.


When interviewed by The Borneo Post SEEDS during the evening, Dewi said that she was very touched by the tremendous support from friends, family, and Malaysians from coast to coast.

“One of my goals is to promote Sarawak as well as the culture and heritage of the Bidayuh community on the world stage.

“My advice to those who want to pursue a career in modeling or getting themselves involved in beauty pageant competition is to always be yourself, believe in what you have, always be grateful and thankful to your parents and loved ones, and especially to God,” she added.

Dewi left for London on November 16 and will be participating in the leadup events from November 20 to the Miss World grand final on December 14.

Dewi at the airport leaving from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur  on November 16 (2)

Dewi at Kuching International Airport leaving for London on November 16

The 63rd edition of the pageant will see over 130 nations participating and we wish Dewi Liana Seriestha all the best in the days to come as she competes for the coveted Miss World title.

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