Every first Monday of May, the Metropolitan Museum brings together an exhibition of fashion with an opening gala/night that is dubbed to be the Superbowl of Fashion. This year’s event was so magnanimous that it is considered one of the biggest Met Gala to date. It is no wonder that days after, it still floods social media with almost a million tags on Instagram.
Today’s #FashionFridays post is all about five standout haute couture gowns that, if re-imagined creatively, would be standout pageant gowns.
I have been complaining (okay to some extent, whining) about the lack of fashion-forwardness of pageant gowns used in the Philippines. And unlike the exorbitant and crazy pageant gowns used in Miss Venezuela, the pageant gowns used in Binibining Pilipinas or Miss Philippines Earth are still a far-cry. In order to help feed the creative juices of our designers, I listed down 5 Spring-Summer 2018 gowns from haute couture shows that could easily be a good pageant gown if they are interpreted correctly. While this list may show you photos of the gowns, I do suggest that you try to look for the actual shows on the internet and see them in motion.
1. Ralph & Russo – this black velvet gown with draping that evokes those of Charles Frederick Worth or Charles James makes any pageant girl a bombshell… a true “Jessica Rabbit” or Marilyn Monroe with a dash of a red lip. Of course avoid the mistake that Demi Leigh Nel-Peters in doing one in lime green velvet (that didn’t photograph well on her). Imagine this in rich saturated jewel colors of red, purple and deep indigo blue. Throw in some opera gloves and you get old world sex appeal in spades.
2. Valentino – if you wanna go the “showstopper route”, then you gotta wear something in red. And nobody does red like Valentino. This ballgown in layers of silk organza would just be eye-popping on-stage. It moves as you walk, it brings tons of drama and it will be perfect for those perpetually tanned. Just a little bit of editing on the silhouette, especially on the upper torso and you will have a fabulous gown for any pageant.
3. Armani Privé – it’s silk, it’s ombré, it’s beaded, but more importantly it’s Armani. Nobody knows sartorial elegance as well as Giorgio Armani and this gown brings a healthy dose of that. What makes this design standout is how very on-trend satin gowns are for this season. If you can imagine this in a negligé / serpentine silhouette with ombré effects then you can see how this would be a good pageant gown. More so if you do it in shades of pink, purple and blush… the dash of purple being the 2018 color of the year would make it more modern.
4. Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior collection may seem lackluster but her homage to Surrealism and Dali offers several gems. This optical illusion gown is just one of those that can be mined for pageant gowns. It can create optical shapes and curves, it can make you look taller and more statuesque, it can be an eye-popper. This type of black & white gown has been successful for Andreina Goetz, Carolina Gomez and Lola Odusoga in Miss Universe… all of whom made at least top 6.
5. Zuhair Murad – yes I know it’s a caftan gown but hey look at how transparency and feathers are cleverly translated into the design. Plus no more of those tacky lace applique’s! Instead it relied on beadwork and embroidery to add something new to the transparent gown trend that has been overdone in pageants.
For designers and pageant girls out there, if some of these designers sound new to you, I encourage you to look at their work to get a feel of the latest trends in fashion. Aside from these names, I also prompt you to look at designers like Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera for more inspiration.
Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week has finished last July but Sashes&Scripts still has a couture hangover. With couture pieces costing about US$100,000++ for a fully embellished one, we scoured the net for ones that can be used as national costumes. These pieces below are from the world’s best fashion designers like John Galliano, Oscar dela Renta, Balmain, Donatella Versace, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Will you be willing to shell out at least US$100,000 for one of these?
Who says Iris Mittenaere’s reign as MissUniverse isn’t exciting!
Ladies and gentlemen, look at these photos of the reigning Miss Universe walking the catwalks of Paris for designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Iris modeled two looks of the designer’s Fall/Winter 2017 Haute Couture show! It’s Paris Haute Couture this week (July 2 to July 6) following the Menswear Fashion Week in Milan. Earlier in the year, Iris wore a Jean Paul Gaultier haute couture original at the Cannes Film Festival. Here’s another trivia for you, Jean Paul Gaultier used to work in Manila back in the 70’s for Cardin and it is here where he learned how to speak English!
The show took place at the 325 rue Saint-Martin in the third arrondissement of Paris, the headquarters of the world-famous designer. Famous French personalities such as Carla Bruni, Flora Coquerel, Sylvie Tellier, Catherine Deneuve, and Anggun attended.
For most pageant insiders, the name Pablo Galicia Mendez has been a player in the beauty pageant scene for quite sometime. However for most pageant fans, he is still relatively known not to many. So today, we are featuring this master couturier and put him in the spotlight for a fashion feature.
His name came to recognition back in 2013 when he designed the gold terno that Binibining Pilipinas 2013 1st runner up Pia Wurtzbach wore during the national costume competition. Since then, he has become to be a designer who created masterful pieces that were technical and wildly creative while maintaining an old-world couture sensibility. In one of the national costumes he made, he used hundreds of vintage embroidered handkerchiefs to create a haute couture terno for Binibining Pilipinas 2016.
One of his latest pageant masterpieces were the national costume and evening gown that Binibining Pilipinas 1st runner up Charmaine Elima wore for the 2017 edition. The evening gown was Greek goddess inspired. It was a take on the one shoulder/ single sleeve trend that is a timeless classic at the red-carpet. The gown features an exaggerated sleeve on a heavuly crystal-encrusted a-line bodice. A lovely feature of this gown is how it flatters the shape of the wearer by creating a long silhouette for the wearer. This design actually is very international pageant appropriate…and as I have said before, this gown could compete with the Miss Colombia gowns in Miss Universe.
Pablo’s designs aren’t your typical run-off-the-mill clothes that so many amateur designers seem to blurt out these days, his is a carefully thought of designs that you would be proud to own in your wardrobe. His creations showcases masterfully crafted pieces that screams quality and refinement in technique.
Next time you are thinking of a designer for a wedding, debut or any important formal occasion, keep the name Pablo Galicia Mendez in mind.
With a lavish and ambitious costume such as the La Reina Emperatriz terno, the next phase is to find a designer to collaborate with to make this vision into reality. This is where Sir Pablo Galicia Mendez came in. It was this symbiotic partnership that made a flat 2D illustration come to life.
What made this tandem a perfect collaboration was the fact that there were much discussions involved on the material, color and execution. Unlike other designers who are too strict in their vision, the ‘La Reina Emperatriz‘ costume was borne out of constant fine tuning which kept the creative juices flowing. The design itself was a living evolving creation. It was as much as Sir Pablo’s as it was mine. This is where the creative sensibilities of two merged to come up with a magnificent overall outcome for the original design.
What he did was to bring new ideas of embossed embroideries (like those of Marian and Sto. Nino statues), brass embellishments, stones and crystals mixed with 3D printing to make this a totally fresh take on the traditional terno. Through his connections in the industry, he was able to find artist/ painter Jeffrey Catuira who did all the 3D printing on the costume (mainly located on the sides and back panels). Throughout weeks of back and forth discussions, we were able improve, alter and polish on the design. Eventually the design was simplified so instead of layers, it became just a single layer in ecru. The crown was a bit of an overkill and was dropped and the stiffness was lessened. So when it was time to submit original designs for BPCI to see, the design was met with immediate approval.
In fact, Conchitina Bernardo even exclaimed that this was inspired from Santo Niño. The costume was jokingly nicknamed ‘our lady of Araneta’ (Nuestra Señora de Araneta in Spanish) due to its overall design, despite the fact that it was the Santacruzan that first inspired it.
The final terno was made from a structured material embellished with baroque gold metal brass, heavy embroideries with crystals and stones, plus 3D painting. Topping the costume was a baroque gold brass headdress that is a representation of the halo of Saint Helena.
Such creative endeavor are quite rare to see nowadays. For me this was not just an exercise of creativity but a proof that when two or three or four minds come together to collaborate, the outcome is always a labour of love… While this isn’t my first rodeo (so to speak), I am nonetheless intrigued if such possibility will present itself again in the future. But if it does, I already have a design in mind and it will be an exercise of one’s haute couture sensibilities once again…
When I was asked to conceptualize a lavish Philippine national costume, the first that came to mind is how we are fascinated with the religious pageantry of the Santacruzan. It is no surprise that I heavily drew influences on that Philippine tradition of the Sagalas for a unique terno.
The national costume that I sketched and conceptualized using computer graphics was the birth-child of a brainstorming session with our Sash Factor head, Larry Elima. He wanted something that is inspired by the Nuestra Señora La Laval, but worked around it so as not to offend religious sensibilities. Instead we thought of a lavish La Reina Emperatriz costume that hasn’t been done before in Philippine pageantry that borrows elements from religious statues.
Did you know that the Reina Emperatriz and Reina Elena are one and the same person? Saint Helena upon the ascension of Emperor Constantine was honoured with the title as Queen Mother of the Holy Roman Empire. And that in Santacruzan when there is more than one lass being considered as Reina Elena the other can be bestowed with the Reina Emperatriz title, which are of equal importance. The difference in depiction of the two is that the Reina Elena would usually carry a gold cross and a bible while the Reina Emperatriz is decked with a crown and a scepter.
The design that I conceptualized for the Reina Emperatriz went with several permutations and revisions to arrive at its final version. I first came up with a trapeze silhouette that is reminiscent of the Santo Nino statues usually found in Philippine ancestral homes’ altars. Originally, the design was to have it in silk gazar with a circular cape as outer layer of the costume. The circular cape was to be decked with lace appliques and laser cut flowers then hand-sewn with crystals. A headdress that is patterned from the halos of religious statues adorns the head with a gold crown (TRIVIA: this idea came to me first back in 2013 when I illustrated a white La Emperatriz costume I would have loved to see on Ariella Arida in Moscow). The design was rendered in blue, black and then gold to which the gold option was the one that struck us the most.
It got several more edits before it was finalized. When both I and Sir Larry were satisfied with the design, we agreed that this would be the one we will present for a lass planning to join Binibining Pilipinas 2017. During our meet up in Manila on September of last year, we finally showed the design to its eventual co-designer, Pablo Galicia Mendez.
I hope my Thai online friends would not take offense with my lack of understanding of the Thai national dress. With that out in the open, I am marveled at the splendor of the national costume reveal of Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane.
If my memories of my college subject, Asian Costume History, serves me right, Chalita is wearing the Thai Siwalai dress which is a formal attire worn by royalty. While I am floored by last year’s TukTuk costume, I am more awe-struck with the richness of this year costume for it reveals a thorough love of the Thai customs and traditions. This Thai silk ensemble is embellished and beaded to perfection reminiscing the Balmain haute couture outfits of Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit of Thailand. Those Balmain outfits were hand-finished, embroidered and beaded by the best workers at the House of Lesage (which is now owned by the same owners of Chanel). Here are a couple of videos from @team.chalita showing off the costume…