Beauty queens from around the world brought glitz and glam to the Miss Universe 2023 preliminaries in their evening wear.
Held on Nov. 16, the stunning ladies made sure to leave their mark by showcasing their signature walk, charisma, and confidence in their journey to the highly coveted crown. While everyone dazzled onstage in their own ways, there were candidates who stood out and captured the attention of Filipino fashion experts. Here are some of them.
For celebrity stylist Randell Giel, who has worked with beauty queens Celeste Cortesi and R’Bonney Gabriel, Miss Ukraine stunned the most at the evening gown segment. He noted that although her gown didn’t have the usual style in pageantry, she was able to own the stage.
“Ukraine, for me, is the best in long gown that night. [I’m] a fan of Iris Van Herpen, and it's very unusual to wear an avant-garde dress on a beauty pageant stage,” he shared in a chat with PhilSTAR L!fe. “[S]he carried the dress very well when she's walking the runway. All I can say is wow!”
Philippines’ Michelle Dee was also among the favorites of Pinoy stylists. During the preliminaries, she donned a Mark Bumgarner creation in emerald green. It has sultry cut-outs, bedazzled with 30,000 green and black Swarovski crystals to resemble the skin of a green viper that symbolizes “wisdom, power, and transformation.”
Fashion stylist Eldzs Mejia also noted how Michelle stood out among the candidates: “It's so different from the usual beauty queen dresses.”
For his part, Giel shared how he “loves the waist illusion of the dress.”
“The details of the dress are very intricate, and knowing Michelle, she loves edgy style,” he told L!fe. “This gown really suits her well.”
Mejia and Giel also picked Guatemala’s evening gown, which is a shimmering string dress in blue and gold lime. It was designed by Alexandro Fajardo.
“What I love about the dress are the details, draping, and the color blocking of the beaded chains,” Giel said. “Everything is well executed.”
Guatemala's Michelle Cohn is among the history-makers of this edition as she is the first mother candidate to win the title in their country.
Mejia thinks Erica Robin, the first Miss Universe Pakistan titleholder, also stood out during the preliminaries.
The beauty queen wore an all-white ensemble adorned with white crystals surrounding the bust and the bodice. Created by Filipino designer Furne Amato, her evening gown was finished off with a bejeweled mesh veil.
Mejia also praised the pink burkini she wore during the swimsuit competition, which is not common to see on the Miss Universe stage.
For fashion stylist Gee Jocson, Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios made the most powerful stage presence among the delegates.
“Her walk was seamless. I love how she’s just enjoying herself. It looks light, fun, and confident. She belongs to the stage,” she told L!fe, adding that while most of the candidates looked "very stiff and calculated," Sheynnis was one of those who looked like they were “having the time of their lives.”
Sheynnis donned a long gown by Fernàn Joyas, who bedazzled it with over 100,000 crystals. Her outfit was inspired by the serene blue waters of Corn Island.
“I feel like being a Ms. Universe, you have to be relatable, easy to talk to, and [to] speak the truth and with [these] gowns they spoke their truth,” Gee said. “The gowns didn't wear them. It made me feel as if the gowns are part of them and, to me, that is beauty.”
The 72nd Miss Universe will hold its grand coronation night on Sunday, Nov. 19 (Philippine time) in El Salvador. The winner will assume the title of Miss Universe from reigning queen, R'Bonney Gabriel.
The much-awaited affair will be aired and streamed live on A2Z Channel 11, Kapamilya Channel, Metro Channel, and iWantTFC on Sunday, Nov. 19, at 9 a.m. (Philippine time). Same-day replays will be available at 9:30 p.m. on A2Z, Kapamilya Channel via Sunday’s Best, Metro Channel and iWantTFC. Replays will also be aired later in the week on the Metro Channel.