Japan's candidate for the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant, 25-year-old Emiri Miyasaka, will wear a different costume to the finals this month in the Bahamas after her original design received widespread criticism as being "too extreme."
Shocking pink stockings, panties and a garter belt completed the ensemble of a black leather kimono cut off to reveal everything below the waist, a look that received a flood of criticism both domestically and from across the globe. Voices of protest also came from the obi and kimono makers, who were not informed of the design of the costume beforehand, ultimately leading to a decision to redesign the dress.
Miss Universe Japan officials announced the decision on their website. They said the new costume would feature a kimono of the "original length," covering the lower half of Miyasaka's body and hiding her panties and garter. The pattern on the kimono itself will not be changed.
The costume was originally designed by Frenchwoman Ines Ligron, the director of the Miss Universe Japan office, who was given the job by Miss Universe Organization owner and U.S. real estate mogul Donald Trump himself. Sources say Ligron was inspired by a Christian Dior collection of kimono-like garments. She ordered the kimono to be made by Yoshiyuki Ogata, owner of a company that is pushing for a revival of traditional-style Japanese clothing.
The costume, which was revealed to the world on July 22, drew criticism from over 2,000 people including comments that "Japan will be misunderstood" and "the garter belts make it look like something a prostitute would wear." The obi manufacturers, who were not informed of the kimono's design beforehand, complained, "Had we known it was going to look like that, we would have never provided them the obi," a disapproval that ultimately led to a decision to redesign the costume.
In reaction to the complaints, Ligron initially stated on her blog that "It has surely created a huge PR buzz around the world which was the concept. The conservative and fashion-dinosaurs are criticizing her costume, meanwhile the fashionistas love it. I care only about the movers and shakers in the fashion industry."
Ogata was also assertive on his blog, posting: "That the kimono is a symbol of the humble Japanese woman is a delusion created by modern-day Japanese."
Yoshitaka Tsujimura, board chairman of Shizuoka's Tsujimura College of Japanese Clothing, said of the design, "Our entire faculty was shocked at how obscene it was. For those who have never seen a real kimono, it may be fine, but to us it just looks like someone's efforts to strip the garment into something lewd and cheap. This woman is going to be representing our country, and she has no right to ruin the image of 'proper Japanese clothing.' I'm quite frankly relieved to know they've decided to change the design."© News reports