Philippine flags are always high in the air during Miss Universe season! In addition to our beauty queens being first-rate, frontrunning performers, our designers are seizing the spotlight too, acclaimed as the hearts and hands behind the some of the most show-stopping gowns to sweep the Miss U stage. In fact, Filipino creations have already sparked trends in the pageant world, influencing designers worldwide! (Case in point: Mak Tumang's ultra-iconic Lava gown worn by Catriona Gray.)
There are already so many designers to celebrate, yet each year, new talents break through, like the 21-year-old Kennedy Gasper who designed Miss Cameroon's National Costume for the recently-concluded pageant. Each and every one of them is living proof of the creative Pinoy spirit!
Here, we've rounded up ten Filipino pageant designers who should definitely be on your radar. Take a look:
1. Albert Andrada
Albert Andrada is the creative behind Pia Wurtzbach's winning blue gown. While this might be one of his most recognizable creations, his work isn't confined to the pageant world by any stretch. Albert has designed for Filipino elites, A-list hollywood celebrities, and even Arab royalty. He was even quoted to have mused that the Queen of England should be next on his to-dress list!
2. Mak Tumang
Mak Tumang's Lava gown has been etched onto our brains for the rest of eternity. It's the key visual for the Catriona effect, which makes perfect sense: It's a stellar, daring dress that's unique from head to toe. Aside from his epic pageant gowns, Mak has also dressed local showbiz constants and Filipino elites.
3. Michael Cinco
One of the most prominent Filipino designers out there, Michael Cinco needs no introduction. He's dressed a long, long list of Miss Universe hopefuls and outgoing titleholders in his opulent creations, in addition to being a go-to for multiple Hollywood stars.
4. Furne One
Furne One Amato is the creator behind both evening gowns Rabiya Mateo brought to the 2020 Miss Universe pageant. He has dressed just about every major female popstar working today. Fun fact: Furne also created two looks worn by Ariana Grande in the music video for God is a Woman!
5. Rian Fernandez
Rian Fernandez has created a handful of gowns for various Miss Universe pageants over the years in addition to his work as a bridal designer. He dressed Miss Universe Cambodia in both 2020 and 2019 pageants, as well as Miss Thailand in 2016. His adventurous designs also walked the New York Fashion Week runway in 2019!
6. Kirsten Regalado
The designer behind Rabiya's Philippine flag-inspired promotional Sunrise gown, Kirsten Regalado is a Fil-Am designer who also creates national costumes! In this year's pageant, she made Miss Armenia's evening gown, as well as the national costumes of both Miss Mauritius and Iceland.
7. Benj Leguiab IV
Benj Leguiab IV is a Ilocano and Kapampangan designer who specializes in both bridal and evening gowns. His designs often incorporate bejewelled curved patterns, making each dress resemble a tiara or a crown. This year, he dressed Miss Cameroon 2020 in a stunning longsleeved silver creation.
8. Jian Lasala
Bridal and evening gown designer Jian Lasala designed the standout sculptural dress worn by Miss Belize. Miss Cambodia also wore his creations twice over the course of the competition. Jian's modern, unique works have also walked the runway of Korea Fashion Week!
9. Joel Escober
In a stunning feat, Filipino designer Joel Escober designed an entire 13-15 gown collection for the Miss Universe Japan pageant's finalists. He describes his designs as "soft, feminine, and elegant with a little fierce direction".
10. Joey Galon
Joey Galon has dressed Miss Universe Belize and Miss Universe Ireland, numerous Miss USA candidates, as well as Miss Universe Thailand. In addition to his pageant and bridal work, Joey's gowns have walked the Oscars red carpet!
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