MANILA — Catriona Gray was a stellar vision of the Philippines’ colorful heritage as she took the Miss Universe stage Monday night during the pageant’s national costume competition.
With her goal of representing the Philippines’ diverse cultures, Gray put together elements identified with the country’s three groups of islands, as seen in Instagram posts from Vogue Thailand and photos circulating among fan groups online.
She sported a gigantic parol backpiece (Luzon), a nude bodysuit with intricate Pintados pattern (Visayas), and handmade brass accessories and T’boli headdress (Mindanao).
“I want to represent the Philippines in all forms,” Gray told ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo. “When people see the Philippine sash, it’s just a word on a sash, but really, we’re made up of so many different places and so much different aspects to our culture.”
The ensemble was designed by Jearson Demavivas, in collaboration with Gray, Carlos Buendia, and Jojo Bragais, according to the beauty queen.
Explaining the meticulous process of coming up with the showstopping look, Gray said: “Kuya Caloy (Buendia), he has this passion for the country, and for history, and for architecture, and for the arts, because he has background in theater. So whenever I have an artistic vision, I always go to him, and feed off each other’s energy, so it just came up that way.
“And then we presented it to Jearson, and Jearson did a sketch. We tweaked it. We researched it. It was really important to me to make sure na lahat ng aspects ng national costume were authentic. We researched talaga. We consulted historians.”
The December 10 national costume showcase was one of the pre-pageant events leading up to coronation day on the 17th at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
If Gray succeeds in being crowned Miss Universe, she would be the fourth Filipina to do so after Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, Margie Moran in 1973, and Gloria Diaz in 1969.