The argument could be made that beauty pageant contestants don’t wear all that much besides smiles, heels, bikinis and hair spray.
Though that argument has merit, a tremendous amount of fashion decisions and wardrobe changes go into these contests, as David Profeta, costume designer for the 2012 Miss USA Competition, airing Sunday, June 3, on NBC, explains.
In addition to the 51 women (representing 50 states and Washington, D.C.) bringing custom gowns with them, the pageant includes a portion where they model dresses.
“We are going to do a fashion show, a runway show,” Profeta says of this year’s theme. “We will take the dresses to the sponsors and add elements to make it more of a fashion show, more of a runway look, venturing out and we will get accessories to embellish the dresses.”
Since the event airs live from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, precisely what the women will wear was not known at this writing. But Profeta, who frames the look of the show, explains how certain aspects of the contest are set.
Last year’s pageant, its 60th anniversary, had contestants in red, white and blue cocktail dresses and gowns with silver and gold frocks sparkling among them.
Sherri Hill is the dress sponsor, and she will work with pageant officials to create this year’s catwalk theme. Chinese Laundry provides the heels, while the bikinis come from the Australian company Kooey (last year’s red, white and blue versions were by Kandy Wrappers).
“The fitting of them is always an interesting challenge,” Profeta says. “There are some guidelines that NBC puts out that we have to make sure there is enough overage on the backside. [With] the tops, you can see cleavage on front but not side. You have to be covered.”