Miss Maristella Okpala, Nigeria’s representative at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant has won the prize for the best national costume.
Wearing a costume inspired by a “Mmanwa”, a traditional Igbo masquerade, Okpala explained that the costume sought to celebrate the rich heritage of Nigeria.
On her Instagram page, Okpala explained the significance of her beautiful costume:
This beautiful creation is inspired by a famous traditional masquerade of the southeastern tribe of Nigeria called “Mmanwu”.
It is made of African Beed’s, stones, crafts.
Mmanwu is a female masquerade costume that’s designed for ceremonial and festive purposes to celebrate the rich Nigerian cultural heritage paying closer attention to the strength women possess.
The 3ft tribal mask with the colorful ancient back cape
With Mmanwa’s Face boldly crested on the mask and cape.
It represents the beautiful Mmanwa who fought tirelessly to stop girl child mutilation and child slavery while the colorful patterns and embellishments portray the African dashiki which offers a visual appeal and forms meant to invoke the ancestral spirits.
I picked this particular costume because I see a self-reflection of my cause in this Mmanwa who protects children and women against any form of abuse
Finally, this costume pays attention to the strong will of women in attaining whatever height they want to attain, no matter the challenges faced while reaching their desired goals.
The mmawu costume was created by Filipino designer, Kennedy Jhon Gasper.
Watch as she walked in it:
Congratulations to Miss India, the newly crowned Miss Universe 2021 @harnaazsandhu_03 . Fashions Finest Africa wishes her the best.