Miss Canada 'floored' by response to hockey-inspired dress
Published Friday, January 23, 2015 1:18PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 23, 2015 1:54PM EST
When images of Miss Canada's hockey-inspired dress started making rounds online Thursday, Chanel Beckenlehner was tied up in Miss Universe rehearsals – where cellphone use was prohibited.
When she left and finally got a chance to check her phone, the Caledon, Ont. native said she was "floored" by the response.
"When I came home last night my inbox was flooded," she told CTV News.
"It is amazing the coverage that the national costume has received," she added.
Beckenlehner wore the eccentric dress Wednesday for the "National Costume" round of the Miss Universe 2015 pageant in Miami. Contestants were expected to wear attire that best represents their home country.
Beckenlehner's costume paid tribute to Canada's national pastime. It featured a Stanley Cup crown, hockey stick wings, a maple leaf-adorned corset, knee-high boots tied up with hockey laces and a working scoreboard attached to her back.
Not only did pictures of the dress go viral, rising to the top of Reddit and trending on Twitter, but the beauty pageant competitor says it shocked the crowd in Miami.
"When I came out on stage there was a huge gasp in the audience, which was awesome. That was a surreal moment for me," she said."
Reviews of the dress have been polarizing: some were quick to criticize it, while others jumped to its defence.
But Beckenlehner says even her competitors were impressed by her unconventional approach to the event.
"They loved it cause it is something different and out of the box," she said.
"Typically at Miss Universe, the national costumes are huge -- they have a great stage presence, there's a lot of feathers and bling."
Some of her competitors' looks included: Miss Great Britain in a skimpy version of the Queen's Guard uniform, Miss Ireland in a dress inspired by Celtic warrior garb and Miss Venezuela outfitted to resemble the country's national tree.
Canada's representative last year, Riza Santos, went for the more traditional Mountie-inspired look.
Beckenlehner dress was designed by Alex Kavanagh, a Toronto-based TV and film costume designer, who often works in the horror film industry. She was the brains behind the costume for Jigsaw, the villain in splatter franchise "Saw."
Costume came from list of 30 concepts
Kavanagh and Beckenlehner sat down together back in August to discuss potential designs. Beckenlehner was looking for a costume that touched Canada's "pulse" and would be easy to identify.
The pair bandied about some 30 concepts, six of which were selected for sketches. Outfits inspired by the Canadarm and Hudson's Bay were also in the final running.
But eventually Beckenlehner settled on the sport that is synonymous with Canada.
"We have such a strong fan base for all of our Canadian hockey teams and you see little kids growing up on hockey rinks," she said.
"When everything came together I knew that I had a winning costume and I was so excited to present it on the world stage."
Reviews aside, Beckenlehner says her goal was to build hype for Canada and her Miss Universe bid, something she believes she has achieved.
"Whether that’s good reviews or bad reviews, we're still getting talked about," she said.
"At the end of the day, mission accomplished."
With files from the Canadian Press and a report from CTV Toronto’s Zuraidah Alman