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Rabiya Mateo packed over a hundred looks for the Miss Universe pageant—her stylists tell us what to expect

By Camille Santiago Published Apr 14, 2021 7:04 pm

Rabiya Mateo has only been in the US for a few days, and yet the queen is already giving us more reasons to be excited for the Miss Universe 2020 coronation night with her gorgeous pre-pageant looks. And get this: she has more outfits to show us!

In an interview with one of her stylists Em Millan of Team Rain x Em, she shared that Mateo brought over a hundred outfits with her to Hollywood, Florida, where the pageant will be held on May 17, 2021. These clothes were made by Filipino designers from all over the country just for the beauty queen herself.

“What we wanted this time was to showcase Filipino talent,” Millan told PhilSTAR L!fe. She said that months ago, the beauty queen herself announced through social media that she was looking for designers who could collaborate with her team for her Miss U outfits—all they had to do was send a sketch of a design that they envisioned for Mateo.

“Our job was to filter which ones can really showcase the Filipino talent in that global arena,” Millan said. They chose sketches that showed excellence in fashion design, innovation, technical skills, and creativity.

“You’ll see that we will be pushing the boundaries on fashion and what Filipinos typically see as ‘queens.’ Hindi lang sila laging naka body con cocktail dress—we will challenge that,” she added.

Mateo’s first look was a pearl-embellished modern barong and trousers by Marc Rancy and Chino Christopherson. “We want to achieve a look that is chic without losing the cultural integrity of the traditional barong,” Rancy wrote. Christopherson, on the other hand, thinks that women who can pull off a barong “exudes confidence.”

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Two days later, Team Rain x Em shared another set of photos of Mateo looking tall and confident in a backless teal wrap-around terno with floor-length Maria Clara sleeves adorned with pearl and seashells by Marlon Tuazon of Pampanga.

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The whole styling process for the pageant was quite challenging because of the pandemic, but still rewarding. Because of COVID, all meetings had to be done virtually and Millan and her co-stylist Rain Dagala even had to quarantine for a week to make sure everyone’s safe during the fitting. “We just had one window to fit more than a hundred clothes na babaunin nya.”

Millan shared that as early as January of this year, they have already started with the preparations. “Start of the year pa lang, nag-propose na kami ng ideas sa Organization. So, pati the call to the designers, pag-ipon nung mga sketches, production, delivery—kasi as far as Dagupan, Cagayan, Davao ang mga entries,” she said. 

But what can we expect in the coming weeks?

“I think the first two looks really set the tone,” Millan said. “Expect that we will continue pushing the envelope in terms of fashion,” she added. She mentioned different executions of Filipino textiles, different ways of wearing them, different embellishments, modern executions of traditional silhouettes.

“We want Filipinos to form opinions in terms of fashion, and that’s what Rabiya wants also,” Millan said.