Source: The Daily Chili"I feel strong, empowered and ready to take flight!", says Kimberley Leggett as the reigning Miss Universe Malaysia, showcasing her slender 1.75m frame in a dramatic, feathery gown at a recent press conference in Petaling Jaya.The black-and-white piece, courtesy of renowned fashion designer Jovian Mandagie, will be the national costume that the pretty 19-year-old dons on the stage at the Planet Hollywood Resort, Las Vegas, on 19th December, as she competes with a bevy of beauties from around the world at the Miss Universe pageant.Dubbed Kebaya Mandagie, the elaborate dress draws its inspirations from the Malaysian kebaya. It meshes elements like French and German lace, French tulle, ostrich and bird feathers to a dazzling effect. However, the crown jewel is the hand-drawn vintage batik at the bottom half of the dress. It was sourced from a shop in Pasar Payang, Terengganu, said Jovian."We really dig into our heritage for this," he said.The entire get-up, which weighs around 50kg and is supported by wires, is a sight to behold.Â On the sheer size of the gown, the designer explained: "We want her to stand out from the other contestants. Hence, we have come up with such a hugekebaya. I believe it’s the biggestÂ kebayaÂ that you’ve seen in Malaysia."It’s mystical, elegant and fierce, withÂ strong character. It’s also warrior-ish, because I believe that women of this era are powerful, brave and ambitious. These are the qualities that I see in Kimberley."The dress took three months to make. However, Jovian, 26, was coy about thÂ cost, merely saying that "it’s expensive".As for Kimberley, she was “blown away‘ at the first sight of the dress."I believe no one at the Miss Universe pageant has seen this kind of craftsmanship. It’s so cutting edge for Malaysian fashion and culture."I love it! I can’t wait to wear it at the pageant," she gushed.Jovian, noted for his couture collection, is the perfect guy for designing the national costume, said Andrea Fonseka, the National Director of the Miss Universe Malaysia Organisation (MUMO). If you refresh your memory, Andrea, 28Â , rocked a wedding dress by the Indonesia-born, Malaysia-based designer on her big day two years ago.“He understands women’s curves like no other,‘ she said.Also on showcase is a gem-studded headband from Sereni & Shentel. Made of Iban Pua’s print fabric and stones, the headbands will be part of Miss Universe Malaysia’s National Token Gift to other contestants in the pageant.