Did you know that a Pinoy designer was behind Miss Universe 2022 R’bonney Gabriel’s national costume at the pageant?
While Gabriel represented the USA at the 71st edition of the tilt, the Filipino-American beauty queen counted on the brilliance of Filipino creatives for her pageant looks. Aside from her Pinoy-made evening gowns at the preliminaries and finals, the 28-year-old also tapped local fashion designer Patrick Isorena to create her eyecatching “Woman on the Moon” outfit for the national costume competition.
Interestingly, her NATCOS was inspired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “As a Houston native, where the NASA space center is located, I am proud to be from a city working to send the first female to the moon,” Gabriel wrote in an Instagram post about her outfit, adding that the purpose of the costume was “to inspire women in all spaces across the universe to dream big, shoot for the moon, and achieve something out of this world.”
Isorena shared his process of making the striking costume for Miss USA in a vlog posted on Sunday, Jan. 15. He showed how he decked out a massive spherical object to make it look like the moon by playing with light and shades of gray. In it are blue and red elements in reference to the American flag that easily matched her silver boots and headpiece.
“Syempre, nandito ang mga stars na nagrerepresent ng 50 states sa United States of America and syempre, we have the fireworks bilang Land of the Free,” he said.
“Ang kabuuan ng body ay sinisimbolo na parang astronaut or futuristic para doon sa mga taong nakapunta na sa buwan,” he added.
Overall, Gabriel’s national costume measures almost six feet. Due to its enormous size, Miss USA’s camp had some fears about its shipment from the Philippines to the United States. Without hesitation, her mom and dad decided to go to great lengths just to support their daughter in her Miss U journey. “My parents just took one for the team and they flew themselves after Christmas to the Philippines to pick it up and bring it on the plane and bring it over,” Gabriel recalled in an interview prior to the coronation night.
In a brief chat with PhilSTAR L!fe, Isorena shared the biggest challenges he faced when he made Gabriel's stunning NATCOS. "The most challenging parts were first, to have a design approved because I sent three designs and the 'Woman on the Moon' was the last one. Then, the actual making of the moon itself. Hindi kasi siya puwedeng magmukhang cartoons na moon or labuan, it will defeat the purpose. And the last was bringing it to the US," he said.
The latter part of Isorena’s vlog showed his meet-up with Gabriel’s parents in Manila, where they temporarily resided and repacked the costume. Thankfully, it got to Miss USA in one piece, right in time for the Miss Universe 2022 preliminaries.
The 71st Miss Universe tilt was held at New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in Louisiana, USA, where Gabriel was followed by Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel and Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez as first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.
Philippines’ Celeste Cortesi didn't make it to the semi-final round of the competition, putting an end to the country's years-long streak of placing in the beauty pageant's semi-finals from 2010 to 2021. At the 70th Miss Universe, Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Cebu City finished in the Top 5.