Sashes&Scripts’ Picks for Preliminary Evening Gown Round

99.99% of this year’s preliminary gowns this year were beaded until the costureras/ beaders went blind! But despite that there were a number of standouts in this segment.

In alphabetical order:
* Canada – not your usual pageant gown but it definitely made enough impact with the way she carried the gown.
* Dominican Republic – black is always unforgiving in pageants but she selected an Oscar red-carpet-worthy  gown for the prelims.
* Guyana – the yellow gown made her a standout, you remember her in her gown pick due to the dashing hue of her dress.
* Korea – looks better in motion than in photos, one of the best pageant gowns of the night.
* Panama – not the best gown overall but she carried it with aplomb.
* Philippines – gold is her color. Hopefully if she does change her gown for the finals, it will still be in gold.

* South Africa – a “love it or hate it gown”, it was a daring choice and it was haute couture perfect. It reminded me of a John Galliano design worn by Linda Evangelista in the late 90’s.
* Sweden – if the snow queen would pick a pageant gown, this would be it. It wasn’t overwhelming that it allowed the wearer to be on focus.

* Thailand – arguably the best sparkly gown of the evening.  The back bustle with the tulle train beaded with thousands of Swarovski crystals was a throwback to the father of modern day haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth.
* Venezuela – the best performer of the night. She gown wasn’t the best gown but she carried it with charisma.
For more on my personal picks on the evening gown and swimsuit preliminaries just head over to the Sash Factor Live video below:


The Miss Universe 2017 Song Selection!

This post is to put to rest the speculations on the Miss Universe soundtrack/song speculations this year.

Instead of the usual opening, there will be a change in the opening number. The candidates will be split into 3 groups: the Americas, Europe with a special video presentation, then Africa with Asia and the Pacific countries.
The Americas will include the continental North and South American countries plus the Caribbean to be accompanied by the popular Luis Fonsi song, “Despacito”.

Candidates from Europe will comprise of the second portion of the introductions accompanied by Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill”.

After Europe, then comes Africa with Asia and the Pacific countries with K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag”. We don’t have enough information yet on the swimsuit song or if the rumored J. Balvin song “Mi Gente” will be used. What is sure though is that superstar Fergie will be performing her song “A Little Work” for the evening gown.

For the final look, Rachel Platten’s “Broken Glass” will be used with her performing the song.

Rumor Mill! Miss Universe 2017 Top 15 to become Ambassadors of Philippine Tourism?

It helps to know a lot of well-connected people in Las Vegas as we’ve just heard juicy rumor for everyone!

According to our moles here in Las Vegas & California, Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo is set to have a meeting with the Miss Universe officials to discuss having the top 15 semifinalists of this year’s pageant to become Ambassadors of Philippines Tourism. This would be in line with the efforts to promote the local weavers’ crafts, Mindanao Tapestry, that is being spearheaded by designer Renee Salud. What we have heard is that the top 15 girls would be toured to the Philippines and visit sites in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao that weren’t featured in the last Miss Universe pageant in Manila. Rumor has it that the Secretary herself and Renee Salud are to visit Las Vegas before the finals.
Now, let’s just take this rumor with a grain of salt. If it doesn’t materialize, no harm done. But if it does, perhaps this will pave the way for another Philippine hosting of the pageant. 2018 or 2019, perhaps?
EDIT (8am, November 22):
A US-based friend snet us this message: Mama Rene’s entourage is in Canada right now. He will be in New York on the 23rd and will have 2 shows, nov 25 and 26. They are flying to Vegas on the 27th.
So there might be some truth on this rumor afterall…

Rachel Peters’ Sarimanok Costume

There have been some debate over the Sarimanok national costume of Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters: people are on the fence on it.

The Sarimanok costume (which at first I erroneously posted as an Ibong Adarna inspired costume) was made by designer Val Taguba. Some criticism on the costume stemmed from the lack of coherence of the skirt with the rest of the ensemble. While others say that it looked like something was missing, that the costume lacked research hence it looked like some details was not there. On my part I though that despite the critics blasting the costume, Rachel carried it well. Yes, I agree that there could have been more feathers on the skirt part to really set off the entire costume. Yet I find that it did the job it set out to do: shock & awe.
Rachel’s killer bod was in full display in the costume specially with her mile-long legs in full display with Jojo Bragais’ gladiator heels. I loved the feather treatment on the tanga though I would have liked that it extended to the skirt to tie it much better. Another thing I would have loved that the headdress had a stabilizing strap on Rachel’s head so that she wouldn’t have to keep on balancing it up with her hand.

Overall the costume was ok, and it was different. Anything new and different must be viewed with an open perspective. It might not have been at first glance very striking but it allowed the focus to shift on the wearer rather than on the costume. I was looking for something new and different and it delivered.

Mariel and Laura: Our Humbling Losses in MI & MW

The results of the Miss International and Miss World pageants is a humbling one for Filipino pageant fans. Binibining Pilipinas International Mariel de Leon and Miss World Philippines Laura Lehmann went in with high hopes but their efforts yielded unfavorable results.

Mariel who has the face of an angel was perfectly fit for the Miss International pageant, who is known for favouring doll-faced beauties. Perhaps she could have placed better in a more slimmed-down body for the competition. Or had she worn her Binibining Pilipinas national costume instead. But it is difficult to ignore the Mikimoto curse that has been on going since 2012. Laura made it to top 40, which was the lowest placement the Philippines had since 2011. While Laura may have not figured well in majority of the fasttracks, her 5-way tie for the BWAP win was commendable. She just wasn’t what Julia Morley wanted for her pageant. Perhaps it wasn’t their time or they competed with more prepared girls or perhaps others had better luck… Others may argue that it is because of some fans being rude and ill-mannered on social media brought bad vibes on Mariel and Laura.

The two Aces & Queens girls may not have made a huge dent in their respective competition, nevertheless we are proud of how they fought to represent the country. They gave their best and that is all we can ask of them.

What to Expect in the Miss Universe Preliminary Show

Sashes&Scripts blogger Jesson Capuchino is now in Las Vegas and he is ready to give you very exclusive content on the Miss Universe 2017 preliminary competition!

Here are the things that you should be looking out for:
* The 92 candidates will be introducing themselves in 11 groups of 8 girls. This will follow the old introductions  of previous preliminary competitions. Format would be name, followed by country.
* Contrary to previous rumors, there will be a swimsuit competition which will be followed later on with the evening gown.
* On each segment the girls are grouped into 15 to 16 girls. Miss Philippines/Russia will be in the 5th group, Colombia on the 2nd group, Thailand/ Venezuela/USA/Vietnam on the 6th group, Indonesia on the 3rd group and Mexico/Myanmar on the 4th group.

* The backstage is divided into 2 areas: the hair and makeup area and the changing/ waiting area for the candidates. Each of the candidates are to be given a space with their country names labeled on the table and a wide mirror for them to touch up their makeup.
* Reigning Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere, Nick Teplitz and Stephani will be hosting the preliminaries.
* The preliminaries will start at 7pm Las Vegas time on November 20th, so that would be November 21st at around 11am, Manila time.

Miss Universe Mauritius Angie Callychurn & the Filipino Connection

Miss Universe Mauritius Angie Callychurn looked ravishing duing the national costume show and why wouldn’t she, her national costume was made by a Filipino designer.

Wearing a creation by Miami based Filipino designer, Kirsten Regalado, Angie walked the stage proudly and radiantly. It can be remembered that the national costume of Miss Mauritius in Miss Universe 2016 was also made by the Filipino designer. Even my good friend Earl Veloso helped by creating the hand-painted Ravanne she carried, which is a traditional Tambourine-like musical instrument.

Angie was hand-picked by Miss Universe Mauritius organisation to compete at Miss Universe 2017. But this mass communications graduate is no stranger to pageants. She competed previously at Miss Supranational 2016 where she placed among the top 25 and was also named Miss Supranational Africa. With her participation in Miss Universe this year, she looks serious in trying to put her country in the semis…and she just might.