Trend Watch: Miss Universe and Missed Promotional Opportunities

After arriving home from a five-day conference yesterday evening, a quiet supper and a bit of television sounded like just the ticket. Channel surfing, I happened across the broadcast of the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant, already in progress.


The contestants, of course, were exceptionally gorgeous women, long-legged examples of the female form with beautiful faces and dazzling smiles. Aside from their skin, hair and eye color, and some slight variations in height and proportions, the semi-finalists looked very much alike with their long, bouncy hair and dramatic eye makeup.


The evening gown competition was the opportunity for the women to display some personality and appear their most regal, but instead, was an interesting example of dress designs good, bad, and indifferent. Structured bodices, like the one on the evening gown worn by the winner, Miss Venezuela, create a silhouette that stands on its own quite separate from the body wearing it. It seems to me that the stiff bodice façade merely serves to hide the lovely form of the wearer. Other designs were so poorly conceived that, in their worst iteration, caused Miss USA to trip and fall, and to have to hold the overlay of the skirt away from her body as she gingerly navigated the stage. Perhaps not crediting the gown designers is not a bad thing, particularly with noted dress designer Robert Cavalli serving as one of the pageant judges.


              [Miss Universe 2008]


The jewelry worn by the contestants, as jewelry does so well, added to their dazzling appearance. With her structured yellow gown, Miss Venezuela wore a pair of shoulder-duster earrings. I have searched online for a clear photo of the earrings to drop in here, to no avail, although, sadly, there are plenty of sites (including YouTube) featuring the tumble of Miss USA. The first runner up, Miss Columbia, wore a beautifully constructed gown of lawyers of metallic fabric that she gracefully whirled around her body during the evening gown competition. The gown was beautifully accessorized with a princess-length gemstone necklace. Again, I have no photo to share or to use in discussion of the effectiveness of the jewelry.


   [Miss Venezuela in a publicity photo in her swimsuit with hoop earrings.]


I don’t know if the jewelry worn by the finalists was real or faux, but it seems to me that there is missed promotional opportunity here. If jewelers supply the jewelry for the contestants to wear with the hope of gaining some exposure for their work, with the exception of the designer of the winner’s crown, the hope was not borne out.


  [Left, the Mikimoto crown. Right, the 2008 crown designed by CAO Fine Jewelry.]

The official crown used since 2002 was created by Mikimoto, featuring a phoenix rising. For this year’s pageant, a new crown was created by CAO Fine Jewelry of Viet Nam, the host country, and includes the design of a crane. In designing the crown, at least one jeweler every year has the opportunity during the pageant to display jewelry designed to adorn the woman selected as most beautiful in the universe. I end this blog with a sample of the wallpaper currently available on, which wallpaper features the 2008 crown as the symbol of the pageant. That is a promotional opportunity well utilized indeed.


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