Once again, Filipino creativity is on full display in Miss Universe.
Scores of Pinoy-designed national costumes and gowns were featured during the Miss Universe preliminary competition on Thursday (Manila time). The pageant's 71st edition is ongoing in New Orleans, USA.
One of proudly Filipino creations was the eye-catching “woman on the moon” national costume of Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel. The fabulous outfit was created Patrick Isorena, who previously designed Gabriel's flower bedecked Miss Texas costume. That floral number eventually won best in state costume at the Miss USA 2022 pageant.
Isorena first made a big splash in international pageantry in 2021 when he designed the gold Agila costume of Miss Grand International 2021 Samantha Bernardo, according to beauty queen maker Rodgil Flores.
“R’Bonney’s team connected with me via instagram through her friend last year," Isorena related to ABS-CBN News. “Sobrang overwhelmed ako kasi napili nila ulit ako for the Miss Universe national costume. Nakakatuwa din dahil she is half-Filipino who wanted to bring Filipino culture to the competition. She also got a Filipino designer, Rian Fernandez, for her evening gown.”
By Isorena’s estimate, Miss USA’s costume, inspired by man’s first landing on the moon in 1969, weighs around 12 to 15 kilos.
"The moon central design is 36 inches in diameter. Malaki talaga but lightweight because it’s made of natural fiber," said the designer, who also recalled how Gabriel’s Texas-based parents personally picked up the national costume props in Malate, Manila after Christmas.
“Hindi madali kasi bumigat siya dahil sa metal framing, pati 'yung lights and battery, rhinestones and silver casing on her body, and the headdress and shoulder plates bedecked with pearls to highlight her roots from the Pearl of the Orient," Isorena recounted. “We had to repack twice due to airline restrictions! Pero the moon made it to Miss Universe!”
In her social media post, Gabriel explained the theme of her national costume.
"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. The purpose of this 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,” she said.
Isorena, who is also rooting for Miss Philippines Celeste Cortesi, believes that Miss USA has so far made a good performance in the pageant. “It helps that she’s also a designer. No bias but she will make it as a finalist!”
Other Filipino designers of Miss Universe 2022 candidates include:
- Louis Pangilinan, who designed the evening gowns of Miss Great Britain and Miss Malta;
- Kirsten Regalado, who created Miss Iceland’s white global warming-inspired national gown and also designed for Miss Saint Lucia;
- Joey Galon, who styled Miss US Virgin Islands;
- Furne Amato, who created Miss Bahrain’s stunning evening gown;
- Carl Andrada, who designed Miss Seychelles‘ evening gown and Miss Mauritius’ national costume and evening gown; and
- Ehrran Montoya and Rian Fernandez, who are cited as designers of Miss Spain and Miss Cambodia, respectively.