Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray has time and again emphasized it took an entire team to realize her and many Filipinos’ hopes of bringing home another crown from the international pageant.
Designer Mak Tumang, whom Gray has credited for his “brilliant” ideas and execution of her Miss Universe gowns, has been one of the driving forces behind the Filipina’s headline-making bid in the competition.
With his muse’s trending and applauded performance, Tumang, too, has earned himself a wide new audience. There has been a surge of inquiries and requests from potential clients, he said, since Gray debuted her first Miss Universe gown in the preliminary competition.
That gown, inspired by the eponymous magical bird of the well-loved Filipino epic “Ibong Adarna,” was considered by fans and pageant pundits as pioneering, in terms of incorporating nationalistic elements into its design.
The same was the case for Gray’s “Mayon” gown during coronation day. Matching the beauty queen’s signature “lava walk,” the dress, too, resembled lava with its fiery red color.
Speaking with ABS-CBN News’ Dyan Castillejo, Tumang spoke at length about the process of creating Gray’s dresses, including their brainstorming, sourcing materials from overseas, and the painstaking execution of hand-placing hundreds of multi-colored stones to complete patterns.
Tumang, who previously shared on Instagram that he had created three growns for Gray’s Miss Universe bid, also addressed fans’ speculation as to the third dress and why the beauty queen was unable to wear it throughout the competition.
“Supposedly, it was a preliminary option. Dapat gagamitin siya sa Thai night, kaso that night, ginamit ‘yung mga Thai designers,” he said.
Tumang was referring to one of the pre-pageant events, where the candidates participated in a fashion show highlighting Thai silk used in creations by local designers.
Here’s the full interview of Tumang, where he also talked about his tearful reaction to seeing Gray wearing his creation on the Miss Universe stage for the first time, and what he now looks forward to after the team’s triumph in the pageant: