Miss Universe 2023: In a mesmerizing display of cultural richness and regal elegance, Shweta Sharda, India's representative at the 72nd Miss Universe in El Salvador, stole the spotlight during the National Costume round. Designed by the talented Nidhi Yasha, a distinguished alumna of NIFT, New Delhi, and IIM Ahmedabad, Shweta's outfit exuded a perfect blend of tradition, diversity, and contemporary flair.
Born in Chandigarh and making Mumbai her home at the age of 16, Shweta Sharda is not only a model and dancer but has also showcased her talent as a choreographer on popular reality shows such as Dance India Dance, Dance+, and Jhalak Dikhla Jaa. Her journey reflects the diversity and dynamism that she embodies as India's representative at the LIVA Miss Universe competition.
Costume designer Nidhi Yasha, in an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, shared insights into the creation of Shweta's attire, revealing that the 22-year-old beauty "surrendered completely to the team" after the outfit was ready. The outfit, which took three months to craft, comprised an embroidered blouse paired with a heavily embellished traditional skirt, featuring intricate overlapping details.
Adding to the allure, Shweta adorned herself with ornate golden headgear and chunky accessories, creating a vintage glam look that resonated with a regal feel. The ensemble perfectly encapsulated the essence of India's diversity, cultural harmony, and secular identity, addressing the contemporary need for unity.
Miss Diva Org, the official page of the beauty pageant, provided a detailed description of the National Costume on Instagram, emphasizing its symbolism. Designed by Nidhi Yasha, the outfit symbolizes a "new, resilient India" that weathers storms and emerges powerful. The attire represents diversity, integrity, strength, and resilience, portraying an armoured goddess look with power shoulders and an engineered bodice highlighting the feminine form's gentle yet strong disposition.
The headgear, featuring a lotus halo, serves as a powerful symbol of coexistence among India's diverse religions and cultures, with the lotus being the national flower. The lower half of the headgear resembles a mystical golden peacock, India's national bird, showcasing handcrafted peacock feather embroidery.
The fluid Organza skirt and dramatic long trail added a touch of grace and contrasted beautifully with the structured upper body of the outfit. This design choice highlights how India thrives in its beautiful contrasts and successfully balances them. Nidhi Yasha explained that the fluidity of the skirt and the dramatic trail are symbolic of India's ability to thrive amidst diversities.