Eighty of the world's most beautiful women paraded on the Miss Universe stage wearing their glittering evening gowns in front of the distinguished committee, and as always, there were hits and misses.
The preliminary competition and coronation night held last Dec. 11 and Dec. 13 (Philippine time) in Eilat, Israel were a sight to behold as every candidate brought out their biggest guns for the pageant, wearing the most glam and buzzed-about outfits.
Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu was a clear favorite among stylists Nasia Cammayo Reyes and Aldrin Ramos. Reyes was particularly blown away by the new queen's metallic fringe train that she wore during the preliminary round, which she said "suited her perfectly."
Her coronation night gown may look simply and ordinary, but for stylist Luis Espiritu, the way she carried her gown is what made it a standout.
"Loving the less skin look. Overall the look, the presence and confidence created the mark of a true queen," he said.
Our very own Beatrice Luigi Gomez, who wore a creation by Francis Libiran to both events, also made it among their picks. "Miss Philippines was a runway queen in that undeniably fabulous asymmetrical bejeweled gown in powerful red. It fit her perfectly and accentuated her long gams," said Reyes.
"Bea is a supermodel and beauty queen in one and that is how I saw her in that asymmetrical Francis Libiran gown. It showed her warrior woman demeanor, sporty vibe, and fighting spirit. I liked how the gown was designed to accentuate her long legs and lean frame. Nothing overpowering. The beaded fringe shoulder detail also added a playful touch to the look."
Ramos, Lovi Poe's go-to stylist, thought her cutout dress suited her figure well. The stylist also added that Gomez's bun "was something new and different in a good way." He added, "I just wish the bun was smaller though."
For Espiritu, Gomez's legs stole the whole coronation night look.
"The legs were beautifully towering," he said describing Gomez, who wore a beaded Francis Libiran number for the finals night. "What this well-thought-of look did was really spotlight on the contestants best asset. Her well shaped, proportioned, and almost perfect legs took the stage by storm," he added.
Meanwhile, Reyes loved Miss Thailand Anchilee Scott-Kemmis's gown in the preliminary competition. "You can trust that the Thais will always deliver, style-wise. Miss Thailand looked simply exquisite in her flattering draped asymmetrical gown—no need for any extras." she said.
Reyes, who has styled the likes of Ellen Adarna, AC Bonifacio, and vice president Leni Robredo, also picked Miss Vietnam Kim Duyen Nguyen Huynh and Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane as her favorites. She liked Vietnam's "Cher reference" and bold confidence as she walked the stage; while South Africa's minimalist look by Filipino designer Ezra Santos "still let her beauty and poise radiate."
Colombia has "sexiness, style, and elegance combined" said Espiritu. Her bustier gown, which she wore to both nights, "wasn't overwhelming" for the stylist. "Loving how the cleavage revealed just enough."
Like any formal event, you can expect to see glittering gowns and cascading embellishments, and this pageant was no exception. But for Ramos, Miss Singapore and Miss Japan stood out in a sea of intricate beadworks and slits.
"I think Singapore and Japan just showed us that you can be fierce and fearless without all those glitz and extra thigh-high slit," he said, wishing that Singapore's gown would have been better without embellishments.
Reyes, on the other hand, named Miss Puerto Rico and Miss Honduras as risk-takers, saying, "You don’t see a sweet lilac gown often on the Miss Universe stage and Miss Puerto Rico just rocked that. It was a fresh take on the usual fierce looks we see."
She also mentioned that while Miss Honduras wasn’t the first one to sport a turban on the Miss Universe stage (as seen on Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi during her final walk), seeing her wear one to match her Louis Pangilinan gold dress "made her shine all the more as she sashayed on stage."
That said, both stylists loved how the beauty queens played a little more when it came to their outfits.
"I like how more contestants have veered away from the usual gown styles we’ve already seen in the past. Overall, it’s still about glitter and shine but the girls’ personalities spoke louder," said Reyes.
For Ramos, the flowy chiffon gowns were "a breath of fresh air on the Miss Universe stage."
"It has a light, super feminine, and fresh effect yet still looking empowered, like that of Bolivia and Paraguay. Capes, whether in chiffon or other fabric, were also common this year, which adds drama if used appropriately. Overall, I love that we see variations now on the Miss Universe stage. I, personally, was scstatic of that gown worn by Paraguay and Bolivia, which i hope will continue in the years to come; chiffon, with minimal cutouts and beadworks. FRESH!"
Paraguay, who wore the same gown at the finals, also caught Espiritu's attention. For him, she made a statement without showing too much skin. Espiritu noted that she looked "very elegantly ethereal."
"Finally something that doesn't have to be 'skin' bearing. Very elegantly ethereal though it would have looked more sophisticated if she acted a little more refined rather than modeling it," he said.