Philippine bet Mary Jean Lastimosa wears a modern terno by Colombian designer Alfredo Barazza during the preliminary competition of the 63rd Miss Universe pageant. Photo by Ginger Conejero, ABS-CBN News
MANILA - Miss World 1993 second runner-up Ruffa Gutierrez said it is time for Filipina beauty queens to wear gowns by local designers when they compete in international pageants.
Gutierrez made the statement after top local fashion designer Cary Santiago lamented that Mary Jean Lastimosa, the country's representative in this year's Miss Universe, will still wear a gown by Colombian designer Alfredo Barazza.
Agreeing with Santiago, Gutierrez said: "Hopefully they will start using Filipino-made gowns and national costumes. Kasi all our designers are talented, more talented than the other designers from all over the world."
"Bakit ayaw nating ipakita ang kahusayan ng mga Pinoy? Dapat isuot nila 'yung Pinoy na gawa na damit," he added in the interview on the sidelines of a press conference for her endorsement, Cosmo Skin Premium Collagen. "Kasi magagaling tayo. Hindi na tayo kailangang manghiram pa ng damit na nasuot na ng iba or hiniram lang. So sayang lang 'yung chance na maipakita natin 'yung mga mahuhusay na designers kung hindi natin ipinaparada ang sarili nating gowns, sarili nating costumes."
Recalling the time when she competed in Miss World in 1993, Gutierrez said: "I want Mang Ben Farrales to make my national costume. It was Sarimanok, nakita mong Pinoy talaga. 'Yung gown ko, wala akong choice. At least maganda naman 'yung gown, nagwagi naman siya."
Ariella Arida wore an Alfredo Barazza creation when she competed in Miss Universe in 2013. Photo by Darren Decker, Reuters
Meanwhile, Gutierrez believes that the Philippines has a "strong chance" in winning this year's Miss Universe title, noting how Lastimosa has prepared well for the pageant.
"Well MJ, I think she's well-prepared. She's been in pageants several times already. Of course, being the representative of the Philippines, we are all here to support her," she said.
"Based doon sa nakita ko sa kanya sa Binibining Pilipinas pageant, I believe we have a strong chance. So I'm going to be with all my gay friends and we are all going to watch on Monday, and we're all going to cheer for her. I think we have to show also our Philippine representatives that we are here to support her no matter what, para magkaroon sila ng confidence," she added.