While Nueva Vizcaya’s representative, Gillian de Mesa, looked stunning in a velvet red frock for the evening gown portion of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant held last April 30, fashion designer Gian Henderson revealed through his social media pages that the beauty queen was actually supposed to wear a different dress that night.
A day after the pageant, Gian shared photos of Miss Nueva Vizcaya’s original pearl-encrusted evening gown the beauty queen was meant to wear during the pageant. He explained that the Miss Universe Philippines organizers rejected the gown at the last minute in an alleged conflict with a sponsor.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, Gian shares that, “Miss Universe Philippines did not allow my gown with pearls to be part of the evening gown segment because of their jewelry sponsor [Jewelmer]. The gown was approved when we submitted our sketch so we as designers proceeded in making the gown for our candidates, and on the last minute, the girls were advised to not have pearls in their gown when the requirement was to create a gown that 'COMPLEMENTS PEARLS'. Sana nung umpisa palang sinabihan niyo na ang mga designers na 'NO PEARLS!!!'. O kaya gumawa kayo ng segment ng [Jewelmer]!”
The gown in question, called the “Queen of the Orient Seas”, is a two-piece bejeweled creation embellished with pearls, Swarovski crystals, and rhinestones. The gown's hem was trimmed with bright green ostrich feathers and boasted a sultry high slit in front.
However, Michael Barassi who was part of Miss Nueva Vizcaya’s glam team and the designer of her national costume, took to Facebook to air his thoughts and clear the matter regarding the issue. In a post entitled "The Truth", Michael shares, “The [Queen of the Orient Seas] gown by Gian Henderson was not allowed to be worn by the MUPH org. a day before the competition due to its pearl details. Please do note that there were also other candidates whose final gown was rejected. It wasn’t necessarily a sabotage to our candidate. The red velvet gown was a last minute mutual decision of the whole team. It wasn’t a gown made for her and definitely not a gown intended for the finals night but it was the one that flattered her the most among our choices. To put an end to this controversy, we felt sad that Gian’s gown wasn’t worn but we also don’t feel bad about the red gown either. Again, we are genuinely happy with her placement regardless of what gown she wore. Still we are grateful to have Gian Henderson as our designer for her supposedly gown for the finals night.”
Gian also shared through a Facebook live the same day that regardless of what happened, he still sincerely thanks the Miss Universe Philippines Organization. "Everything happens for a reason and whatever it is, it's just going to be the start of something better, something new, and more opportunities to come [...] I'm still thankful to the Miss Universe Organization and everyone to the team who allowed me to be part of this journey even though the gown did not pursue its purpose."
As of writing, we’re yet to hear of an official statement from Miss Nueva Vizcaya herself on her thoughts regarding the matter.
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