Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is about to bring pride to the country once again as the first-ever Filipino wax figure in Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. Of course, a feat like no other deserves an iconic rendering that befits a true beauty queen, which is why Madame Tussauds has enlisted the help of iconic fashion designer Michael Cinco to recreate his Swarovski embellished royal blue ball gown for Pia's wax figure. "Dressing up her wax figure and to represent our country [are] already an honor and a great experience in my career. It is an impalpable dream come true," Michael tells Preview. An ode to the equally iconic Albert Andrada Miss Universe winning gown, Michael's stunning creation was worn by Pia at the 2016 Miss Universe coronation night when she passed on the crown to her successor, Iris Mittenaere of France.
Below, Michael talks to Preview about the replica gown's similarities and differences to the original. Read on and find out.
When did you first find out that your design was chosen for Pia's wax figure?
"I received a message from Michelle Del Rosario telling me about a very confidential project for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. She told me that Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is preparing to have the first ever Filipino wax figure and they want to replicate Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach during her crowning moment in Miss Universe 2016 wearing a couture Michael Cinco gown."
How does it feel to have a dress of your design be displayed at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong?
"We all know that for years, Madame Tussauds wax museum featured and display life-size wax versions of many famous superstars, from the glamorous actors and actresses of Hollywood, [to] notable political and sports icons, and others. Now, it's the Philippines' turn to have one in the persona of Miss Universe 2015, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Dressing up her wax figure and to represent our country [are] already an honor and a great experience in my career. It is an impalpable dream come true."
What was your inspiration for the original design of the dress? Did you work closely with Pia on it?
"Yes, I worked closely with Pia. All my gowns have a different fairytale story that makes every woman happy in a magical way [and] in a worthy eye-catching fantasy romance drama that make will give her a grand entrance, where everyone will always be mystified. It focuses on feminine sophistication and modern impalpable luxury. Pia won in Miss Universe 2015 wearing my friend Albert Andrada's now iconic color of royal blue. I made a Swarovski encrusted ball gown in [the] same color of her winning gown that I now call the Pia Blue."
Could you tell us about the details of the replica? Will you be using the exact same embellishments and fabric as the original dress from the 2016 Miss Universe?
"The design will be the same replica of her original gown and I'll be using the same embellishments of crystals and same color and fabric, but the Madame Tussauds gown will have less volume and no train at the back. The team of Madame Tussauds from London discussed with me details of how they want the gown to be displayed in the museum and gave me specifications and measurements."
Can we expect anything different?
"All my dream gowns express my creative vision that represents a level of craftsmanship perfecting the quality required for couture. I still want everything to remain deliciously dreamy and couture classic. But the gown will look exactly the same."
Can you tell us about the process of creating the replica?
"First, I had to get the original pattern of Pia and I had to bring the same fabrics and materials I used for embellishments all in the same color as the original. The original gown is still in my archive so I [was able] to check the construction of the couture gown. The team from London gave me specifications and accurate measurements of the wax figure so I had to follow the new details."
If you could tell Madame Tussauds who to turn into a wax figure next, who would you choose and how would you dress them?
"That's a very good and tricky question. Of course that would be Michael Cinco dressed in Michael Cinco himself! That would be Impalpable! [Laughs]"
What would your message to Pia be after achieving this milestone for Filipinos?
"When Pia won Miss Universe [for the Philippines] after 47 years in 2015, she already filled pride and happiness among the Filipino people. It's the greatest feeling in this whole wide world. I just want to tell her to remain a great role model for Filipinos who are struggling in life to believe that anything in this world is possible if you believe in yourself. Remember to remain humble, put God in the center of your life, and continue to dream the impalpable."