Peru, Bolivia At Odds Over Pageant Costume

Karen Schwarz is representing Peru in the Miss Universe pageant. In the event's national-costume competition, she wore an elaborate outfit inspired by an Andean ritual called the Devil's Dance. Blovians say the dance originated in their country. A Peruvian newspaper discovered a pageant contestant from Chile first wore the outfit more than 25 years ago.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

A South American nation wants to make sure its brand survives and that's today's last word in business - battle of the dresses. At the center of the battle is a woman named Karen Schwarz. She became a contestant for Miss Universe, representing Peru. And she wore a dress in the national costume competition.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Her elaborate outfit was inspired by a ritual called the devil's dance, which comes from the Andes Mountains. But then one of Peru's neighbors, Bolivia, said that is not a national Peruvian costume. Bolivians say the dance originated in their country. And this dispute has gone from cosmetic to political with both governments weighing in now.

MONTAGNE: Finally, a Peruvian newspaper looked into the history of the dress. It discovered that this wasn't the first time the dress has been worn in the competition. The first candidate to wear the outfit over 25 years ago was from Chile.

MONTAGNE: And that's the business news from NPR News.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: I'm Renee Montagne.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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