Miss Argentina Barbara Cabrera brought the drama with a sky-high headdress inspired by Iguazú Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Cabrera, who has her own fashion line, didn’t shy away from having a major couture moment on the Miss Universe stage.
The pageant queen sported a sparkling bodysuit with sheer panels and rainbow details arranged in a design that resembled peacock feathers. She paired the look with white knee-high boots that matched the fringe cascading around her like Argentina’s famous waterfall.
Miss Armenia Kristina Ayanian used her national costume to make a powerful political statement.
Ayanian’s costume was designed to bring attention to the history of the Armenian genocide, which personally affected her refugee family, according to the Miss Universe presenters.
The bedazzled shield represents the “resilience and strength” of the Armenian people, and the white color used throughout the ensemble symbolizes a peaceful future.
Miss Aruba Kiara Arends’ colorful outfit was inspired by her country’s return to Carnival.
Arends sported a bright skirt of orange, green, and purple ruffles, as well as a blue-and-orange bikini top decorated with starfish. She topped off the look with a large gold sun hat.
During the costume contest, Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu announced that Arends’ outfit was made from recycled materials that had been used in Aruba’s Grand Carnival Parade.
Miss Bahamas Angel Cartwright looked like fireworks in the sky with her national costume.
Cartwright sported a metallic teal catsuit decorated with yellow detailing that ran from her arm down to one of her legs. But the wow factor was the multicolored fireworks that were attached to her costume and burst with yellow, orange, green, and pink feathers.
Sandhu said Cartwright’s costume references the night that the Bahamas gained independence 50 years ago and the country’s historic Clifford Park was filled with fireworks.
Miss Bahrain Evlin Khalifa’s national costume dripped in gold from head to toe.
Khalifa’s luxe outfit featured a regal gold cape, shimmering gold pants, a gold top that was covered in jewels, and a delicate gold headpiece to finish the look.
Sandhu said Khalifa’s costume represented the “golden celebration of the establishment of Bahrain as a nation,” noting that it is one of the richest countries in the world.
Miss Belize Ashley Lightburn brought the rainforest to Miss Universe with her costume.
Sandhu said Lightburn’s national costume paid tribute to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize, which is the first and only jaguar reserve in the world.
Her outfit featured a glittering green bodysuit with a flowing jaguar-print train that matched her knee-high jaguar-print boots. Attached to the back of Lightburn’s ensemble was a beautiful burst of tropical palm fronds and birds of paradise flowers.
Miss Bolivia Maria Camila Sanabria Pereyra sparkled in a national costume that was covered in silver and gold.
Sanabria Pereyra’s costume was made up of a flowing cape decorated with glittering silver coins and embellishments, and a dress that resembled strands of gold.
Sandhu said Sanabria Pereyra’s costume was inspired by the Bolivian city Potosí, which is the world’s largest silver deposit.
Miss Brazil Mia Mamede wore a shimmering fringe pantsuit inspired by Brazil’s ocean.
Mamede’s national costume sparkled with jewels in different shades of blue and sleeves covered in fringe. Her boots were designed to resemble the tail of a fish, and the ensemble was accessorized with a pearl perched on top of Mamede’s head.
Mamede’s “goddess of the ocean” costume symbolized the wealth and diversity of Brazil’s marine ecosystem, according to the Miss Universe presenters.
Miss British Virgin Islands Lia Claxton’s costume, which paid tribute to the national flower, looked fresh as spring.
According to Sandhu, Claxton’s national costume was inspired by the white cedar flower, which can be found in clusters throughout the spring and summer in the British Virgin Islands.
Claxton’s ensemble featured a yellow bodysuit with five voluminous baby-pink petals attached to the bodice. More flowers burst from the straps of her heels.
Miss Cambodia Manita Hang’s national costume was inspired by a goddess who educates people to love humans, animals, and nature.
Hang’s ensemble featured a green skirt decorated with the same print that adorned her crop top. She accessorized the look with a crown of flowers and sparkling green and red bangles that covered her arms.
According to Sandhu, Hang’s costume was partially inspired by the prehistoric art of the Funan era in Cambodia.
Miss Cameroon Mouketey Lynette Monalisa Jelly’s national costume was packed with special details that paid tribute to her country.
The baskets affixed to the back of Mouketey’s costume — which were decorated with beads in the red, green, and yellow colors seen on Cameroon’s flag — represented her country’s agricultural movement.
Mouketey also wore a flowing gold skirt and an off-the-shoulder crop top that were both decorated with shells. Her crown featured a map of Cameroon surrounded by a sparkling heart.
Miss Cayman Islands Chloe Powery-Doxey’s costume was inspired by the blue iguana, which is indigenous to her country.
Powery-Doxey’s costume featured a turquoise bodysuit with sheer sleeves and a bodice decorated in shimmering green and lavender circles to represent the iguana’s scales. Her ensemble also had a dramatic metallic-green cape that was covered with tropical leaves and flowers.
Blue iguanas were nearing extinction but have recently had a resurgence. The Miss Universe presenters said Powery-Doxey’s costume symbolizes the resilience of the Cayman Islands’ people.
Miss Chile Sofía Depassier looked as bright as the sun with her national costume.
Depassier sported a bedazzled bodysuit and bright-yellow feather headdress meant to symbolize the rising sun.
Sandhu said Depassier’s costume was inspired by Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. Once a year the desert is filled with flowers, a phenomenon that was represented with Depassier’s train — which was designed to look like petals.
Miss Colombia María Fernanda Aristizabál wowed the crowd with her Phoenix Queen costume, which included a pair of spectacular wings.
Aristizabál’s outfit was made up of a fiery red bodysuit, shimmering tights, and dramatic feathered wings in shades of red, orange, yellow, and gold.
According to Sandhu, Aristizabál’s ensemble was adorned with 1,100 Swarovski crystals.
Miss Costa Rica Maria Fernanda Rodriguez Ávila’s sparkling blue costume symbolized hummingbirds.
Rodriguez Ávila’s national costume included a glittering blue bodysuit, purple-and-turquoise wings, and a sparkling headpiece designed to resemble a hummingbird’s head and beak.
The Miss Universe presenters said Rodriguez Ávila’s costume symbolized “perseverance, stamina, strength, and tenacity.” It featured a recycled corset and wings, which are meant to “protest disposable fashion.”
Miss Curaçao Gabriëla Dos Santos celebrated the wives of fishermen with this sparkling blue costume.
Dos Santos wore a blue catsuit adorned with sheer panels and plenty of fringe. Her ensemble featured a dramatic train with ruffles in different shades of blue to represent the ocean, and she carried a basket filled with glittering fish.
It was announced during the contest that fishermen’s wives play a key role in Curaçao’s fishing industry. The wives help prepare the fishing nets, clean the catch, and help sell the fish as well.
Miss Ecuador Nayelhi González’s glittering gold costume paid tribute to the Inca Sun god.
González sported a gold dress covered in shimmering rhinestones, as well as a cape emblazoned with a large sun. She also wore a bold headdress decorated with green, purple, and yellow feathers.
According to Sandhu, González’s costume highlights Inti Raymi — a religious ceremony celebrating the first day of the New Year in the Incan calendar.
Miss El Salvador Alejandra Guajardo’s gold outfit embodied the history of her country’s currency.
As Miss Universe presenters explained during the contest, Guajardo’s backpiece was designed to look like her country’s old currency, the colón, and it was framed by cocoa beans, its even more ancient currency. Her gold bodysuit and boots matched the backpiece.
Guajardo also carried a scepter with a B inscribed on it to signify Bitcoin, as El Salvador was the first country to make it a legal currency, according to the pageant.
Miss Guatemala Ivana Batchelor included a re-creation of the pyramid Tikal, also called the Temple of the Jaguar.
As was announced during the pageant, Batchelor nodded to several parts of Guatemalan culture with her bedazzled bodysuit, crown, and elaborate accessory, which included a Mayan calendar.
The back of the outfit also featured a jaguar’s face, which symbolizes Mayan culture.
Miss Haiti Mideline Phelizor put her home country’s natural beauty on display with her costume.
Phelizor competed in a floral bikini top and a shiny skirt with a thigh-high slit.
Her backpiece was made of Royal Palm fronds, as it symbolizes Haiti’s independence, according to the pageant presenters. In addition, two swaths of fabric extended from each side of the train that were printed with a scene of Haiti’s trees.
Miss Iceland Hrafnhildur Haraldsdóttir’s ball gown was embroidered with the phrase “Your future, your choice,” making a statement about climate change.
Haraldsdóttir’s strapless dress had a fitted bodice, and scenes of Iceland were printed on the skirt. The top layer was in black and white and showed a city in decay, which Haraldsdóttir removed to reveal a colorful scene of greenery.
As Miss Universe announced, the ensemble encouraged people to think about how climate change is impacting the planet.
The backpiece of Miss Indonesia Laksmi De Neefe Suardana’s costume was designed to look like a ship.
Suardana paired a shiny, gold bodysuit with an oversized backpiece that looked like a sailboat.
A pale-blue train extended from the outfit, completing the illusion of a boat at sea, which nodded to the Indonesian history of sailing, as Miss Universe presenters shared during the pageant.
Miss Jamaica Toshami Calvin paid tribute to a Jamaican hero with her look.
Calvin’s costume, which consisted of a green dress with a feathered, high-low skirt and coordinating shoulder piece, was inspired by Queen Nanny, a Jamaican leader who fought against slavery, as Miss Universe presenters said during the broadcast of the show.
Knee-high green sandals and a white headpiece tied the look together.
Miss Laos Payengxa Lor’s ensemble popped with pink tassels, a pink headdress, and a bamboo backpiece.
Lor’s look was designed to represent the blending of different cultures in Laos, creating unity among the country’s people, as Miss Universe shared in its broadcast.
The Laos flag was embroidered into the center of the outfit, which also featured tribal fabrics from the country.
Miss Lebanon Yasmina Zaytoun’s shiny outfit evoked strength.
Zaytoun’s gold backpiece was shaped like a cedar tree, with green fabric flowing from the bottom of her bodysuit to complete the illusion, as the trees represent resilience in Lebanon, Miss Universe announced during the show.
Leaf-like detailing made of metal jutted out from Zaytoun’s sparkly bodysuit, turning her into a warrior goddess.
Miss Malaysia Cheam Wei Yeng evoked the look of Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in her home country.
Yang’s ensemble — which consisted of an oversized jacket that doubled as a train, a minidress, and thigh-high boots — was made with silver fabric to evoke the look of the granite on the mountain, as Miss Universe presenters said during the contest.
A metal headpiece tied it all together.
Miss Malta Maxine Formosa Gruppetta’s backpiece was made to look like a lira, which was her country’s currency before the euro.
As the pageant noted during the show, Gruppetta’s silver backpiece was an oversized coin, while her green minidress and coordinating train were designed to look like paper money.
Her headscarf and boots were also green.
Miss Mauritius Alexandrine Belle-Etoile embraced her country’s national flower, the Trochetia Boutoniana, and its French colonial roots with her all-red costume.
Belle-Etoile’s semi-sheer, red bodysuit was heavily embroidered with flowers along the bodice, and she wore an oversized flower as a headpiece and carried coordinating flowers in each of her hands.
A red train flowed out from her waist, adding a French flair to the look, as Miss Universe noted during its broadcast.
Miss Namibia Cassia Sharpley dressed as her country’s national bird, the African Fish Eagle, for the costume contest.
Sharpley’s desert-toned dress had a tiered, ruffled skirt, and she paired it with a layered backpiece designed to look like wings.
A coordinating headdress transformed Sharpley into the bird, which Miss Universe said is on Namibia’s coat of arms.
Miss Netherlands Ona Moody turned herself into a stroopwafel.
As Miss Universe presenters said during the pageant, stroopwafels are cookies that are beloved in the Netherlands, so Moody became one for the competition with a large, round skirt.
Her hat was designed to look like a cup of tea to go with the cookie, tying it all together.
Miss Nicaragua arrived in a crystal-covered pantsuit and floral headdress.
The blue shade of her outfit matched the color of the Nicaraguan flag, while the floral adornments represented Nicaragua’s national flower: the sacuanjoche.
Her bodysuit, which was semi-sheer with a long train, was also designed to represent womanhood and female empowerment.
Miss Nigeria donned a bird-inspired headpiece and a masquerade-themed outfit.
Her bralette, shorts, and neckpiece were all crafted from Puka shells. Her skirt, on the other hand, was made from feathers and tied around her waist with satin.
The movement of each piece was meant to mirror the pride, grace, and confidence of African eagles.
Miss Panama had one of the most colorful looks seen on the Miss Universe stage.
Solaris Barba’s outfit — called “Bridge of the World, Heart of the Universe” — puts a sparkling twist on the Indigenous practice of body painting. It’s covered in intricate beads and rhinestones that look like the traditional art, with a metallic headpiece and gloves that match.
When she turned around, there was also a giant heart attached to her back, which represents her love for people who visit her home country.
Miss Paraguay, on the other hand, wore one of the most daring looks of the night.
Lia Ashmore sported a blue bra with cutouts, sparkling underwear, an attached train, and strappy heels that almost reached her knees.
Her outfit was designed to mirror the Paraguay flag, with a star in front to represent hope and a lion’s head in the back to symbolize bravery.
Miss Poland took inspiration from her country’s national colors.
Aleksandra Klepaczka’s white dress represented loyalty and honor, while its red poppy embellishments represented love, sacrifice, and courage.
She also carried Poland’s flag behind her, and wore a giant poppy as a hat.
Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Cariño wore a futuristic two-piece inspired by a telescope.
From the front, you could see Miss Puerto Rico’s white crop top, cutout pants, and body sparkles.
But when she turned around, viewers got a better view of her backpiece, which was actually a screen displaying inspirational videos that celebrate scientific achievements.
Miss Russia Anna Linnikova channeled royal members of her country’s history with a minidress covered in precious stones and pearls.
Atop the white garment, she also wore a red velvet gown with short balloon sleeves. For accessories, she chose matching red heels and a crown from the Russian empire.
It was created with the help of the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Miss Seychelles Gabriella Gonthier transformed herself into a payanke, a species of tropical bird.
She wore a hat shaped like the bird’s head, a pearl-covered bodysuit, and armbands with giant wings attached.
The outfit was inspired by the Seychelles’ dedication to protecting the species, as the birds are only found across a few islands.
Miss Switzerland Alia Guindi’s train was decorated with embellishments designed to look like chocolate.
Guindi’s outfit paid tribute to chocolate in several ways, as the Miss Universe organization explained during the pageant.
In addition to the train, the outfit’s colorful skirt and top were made to look like fruit, while its off-the-shoulder sleeves nodded to cacao leaves. Her backpiece also looked like a cacao leaf.
Miss Trinidad and Tobago Tya Jané Ramey’s look nodded to the rich history of Carnival in her country.
A dress made of strips of gold fabric with rainbow polka dots acted as the base of Ramey’s outfit, but the showstopping element of her look was the oversized headdress.
It was designed to look like a Carnival jester, and it was dressed in the same dress as Ramey.
Miss Ukraine Viktoriia Apanasenko told Insider her “Warrior of Light” costume was inspired by the Archangel Michael, who conquers evil.
Apanasenko’s outfit consisted of a white dress with a gold bodice and a blue backpiece with feathers designed to look like wings that extended during her time on the catwalk.
Speaking to Insider, Apanasenko said she created the concept for the costume as she watched the war in Ukraine, and it was made over the course of four months with limited supplies and candlelight.
“I see a lot of broken lives. Some people lose their homes. Some people lost their land. Some people lost their parents or children,” she said of Ukraine. “But every time I see strong power inside of people. That’s why I choose a warrior, because it shows how Ukrainians fight right now for the future, for their freedom, for their independence, for every inch of our land, and for our history.”
Miss Uruguay Carla Romero’s sparkly two-piece was inspired by Candombe, an Uruguayan style of music and dance.
Romero’s two-piece had shoulder pads and a bikini-style top, as well as tassels flowing out from the top and the bottoms.
Her intricate headpiece stole the show, as it featured an oversized crystal and large feathers.
Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel nodded to the 1969 moon landing with her star-studded ensemble.
Gabriel’s outfit consisted of a silver bodysuit adorned with glowing red-and-blue accents, coordinating silver boots, and an over-the-top backpiece.
Large, silver stars jutted out from the backpiece, as did a re-creation of the moon. Gabriel also carried an American flag.
Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel took inspiration from her country’s athletic teams, elevating them with her bodysuit.
As Miss Universe presenters shared, Dudamel wore a burgundy bodysuit because Venezuelan sports teams wear the color when they compete.
She took the costume to another level with gold adornments and a gold cape, as well as a gold soccer ball she carried as a prop.