Filipino designers shine in Miss U pageant
Filipino designers once again shone at the latest beauty pageant that hooked millions of viewers from around the globe.
Rian Fernandez designed the gowns that Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel wore at the 71st Miss Universe pageant held in January 2023.
Wearing Viva Magenta, the color of the year that depicts universal harmony and character, USA’s Gabriel glowed during the preliminary competition in an edgy yet sophisticated halter top, peek-a-boo trumpet dress with a detachable oversized cape shawl.
Meanwhile, Cambodia’s Manita Hang’s purple and blue gown represented royalty and serenity. Fernandez fused a tailored suit with the fluidity of a beaded sheer flair skirt.
Bahrain’s Evlin Khalifa wore a hijabi gown by Furne Amato.
Great Britain’s Noky Simbani greatly impressed in a magenta body-hugging halter gown with a side slit fully hand-embellished with beads, sequins and premium crystals. Malta’s Maxine Formosa Grupetta wore a sunny, medium-tulle garment, revealing a floor-grazing fully-beaded and crystallized gown with high slits. Both gowns were from the Louis Pangilinan Fashion Empire Collection.
Spain’s Alicia Faubel slayed in an off-shoulder floor-length nude gown with shimmering details by Leo Almodal.
Mauritius’ Alexandrine Belle-Etoile and Seychelles’ Gabriella Gonthier graced the preliminary competition in a body-fitting shimmering lavender and sexy-fitting glittering gold creation by Carl Andrada.
Celeste Cortesi looked poised in a sky blue gown courtesy of bridal and couture Oliver Tolentino. The Beverly Hills-based Filipino designer created a strapless floor-length gown with a mini-train for the Philippines’ Miss Universe 2022 bet. The dress impressed with its
see-through fabric, thigh-high slit and art deco pattern accentuated with beads, gems and crystals.
There was much online chatter about how the stage lighting may have affected the look of said blue gown. Tolentino agrees that lighting may have distorted how it registered onstage versus how it looks in person. “Celeste walked with ease and confidence and everyone should be proud of her as I am,” he said.
Fernandez also designed Gabriel’s velvety, fully handcrafted, figure-hugging, shoulder-studded black gown, which represented competence and sophistication. The gunmetal accents epitomized strength, remarkable resilience and the power of the United States of America. The black onyx and the glass mirror drops were symbols of reflection and self-growth. The fringe skirt depicted the movement of life with blue sapphire Swarovski stones that stood for the new era of emerging women. The piece was a vivid portrayal of a phenomenal Queen.
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