The national costume round of Miss Universe 2021 took place on Friday night, in Eilat, Israel, with contestants taking to the stage in dazzling looks.
Each woman wore a stylised interpretation of her nation's culture and heritage, in dresses that were colourful, spectacular and loaded with references.
Scroll through the gallery above for some of the national costumes at the Miss Universe 2021 pageant.
Miss Spain, Sarah Loinaz, wore a catsuit decked in swirls of blue, orange and yellow sequins, to echo the work of Antoni Gaudi, the celebrated Catalan architect, while Miss Mexico, Debora Hallal, wore a look inspired by the ancient Aztec and Mayan civilisations, with embroidered roundels fringed with feathers.
Miss Korea, Jisu Kim, also wore a very traditional look – a red and gold hanbok, with its full skirts and high, tied waist, while Miss Ukraine, Anna Neplyakh, wore a hooped skirt, decorated with samples of traditional vyshyvanka embroidery. Ngin Marady, Miss Cambodia, meanwhile, opted for a look inspired by the traditional sampot chang kben trousers, still worn for special occasions. These are more than nine feet long and three feet wide, intricately folded and secured with a knot at the waist.
Manar Nadeem Deyani, who won fans for wearing activewear, rather than a swimsuit for an early round of the competition, took to the stage in a shimmering silver dress inspired by pearl diving. For almost two centuries, Bahrain produced some of the most highly prized pearls in the world. Deyani's look comprised a textured cape over a long, iridescent, fishtail gown in homage to the beauty found inside a simple oyster shell.
Kawtar Benhalima meanwhile wore a multi-layered look that blended traditional wedding elements from across Morocco. Her dark-green velvet kaftan, embroidered in gold around the hem, cuffs and down the front, was similar to one traditionally worn for the henna day of a wedding. The beaded pearl tassels framing her face, and multiple strands of pearls around her neck represented the famous Lebsa lfasiya (that literally translates as 'the great outfit' for its size and weight) wedding dresses of Fez.
Miss Philippines, Beatrice Luigi Gomez, wore an elaborate look inspired by the legend of Bakunawa, the dragon believed to cause solar eclipses. The dress was created by Filipino designer Axel Que with the headpiece and accessories by Manny Halasan.
"This is a personal, hypothetical envisioning of what the Bakunawa would look like had it succeeded in devouring the last moon. I chose gold to render the whole piece in because, aside from its divine beauty, it is considered as the perfect element – because it’s chemically one of the least reactive – and to hopefully imbue this characteristic to the wearer, much like an enchanted armour," Que said on Instagram.