The Miss World 2013 pageant that has started in Indonesia is all set to witness a revolutionary change in one of its awards, the Beach Fashion award.

Unlike contestants in past pageants, the contestants of the 63rd edition of the Miss World contest in Indonesia won't wear bikinis for beach beauty round - one of the most anticipated aspects of the event.

The contestants will instead sport sarongs – a long length of fabric wrapped around the waist which is often worn by women on beaches. The women will be seen in 12 different variations of the traditional Balinese sarong and blouse.

Officials said the change in the usual trend of wearing a bikini during the pageant was meant to highlight the fact that Miss World is not only about the physical beauty of the contestants, but also the values of the culture.

"I think it shows that Miss World is a beauty pageant that not only just looks at physique, but also the heart. Thus, the concept of sarong is very nice," a representative of Miss Indonesia 2013, Vania Larissa, said.

The Beach Fashion session will also see contestants wearing gloves, another first for this section of the pageant.

A record 131 contestants from different countries have arrived in Bali to take part in month-long events of Miss World 2013 pageant; the finale will be held in Jakarta on 28 September. The pageant is taking place amid protests from Indonesia's Muslim hardliners, who have called it an offence to Islam.

Officials have not revealed whether the decision to replace bikinis with sarongs for the beachwear round was based on the opposition to the pageant. According to authorities, the idea behind using sarongs and gloves is to introduce the local fashion flair of Bali to the world.

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