Last April 30, the Philippines’ most prestigious pageant crowned its new set of beauty queens who will represent our country in six international competitions. This year’s pageant also solidified the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc.’s (BPCI) collaboration with the country’s best fashion designers.
In most cases, a candidate can choose a designer to dress her for the National Costume Competition and the Evening Gown Competition. Her beauty camp or trainer may also pick a designer with whom they have an established relationship. It’s crucial that the right pairing be made from the start.
In previous editions, all candidates competed in this portion—this year, only the Top 25 semifinalists did. Interestingly, the winners’ gowns had similar design elements, which just goes to show that certain silhouettes and styles work best for a pageant.
Katarina Sonja Rodriguez (Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2017) wore a gown by Francis Libiran. Inspired by the ocean, it was beautifully executed and the draping of the pleated fabric on the skirt was masterfully done. Katarina’s clean, side-swept hair, minimal jewelry, and stunning makeup gave it a fresh and modern beauty-queen look. Everything highlighted her beauty and youthful energy.
Chanel Olive Thomas (Bb. Pilipinas Supranational 2017) told designer Odelon Simpao that she wanted to be like Barbie and Audrey Hepburn combined. The strapless cut, beaded bodice, mermaid silhouette, and pink color could have easily gone into prom territory, but her height, proportions, and styling gave the gown the sophistication and elegance needed to be fit for a beauty queen.
Maria Angelica de Leon (Bb. Pilipinas International 2017) had Cary Santiago design both her national costume and evening gown, which was a deep red mermaid gown. It was easy to see why she won Best in Evening Gown—her dress fit her like a glove, showing off her tall, curvy figure. The intricate pleating on the bodice and skirt that fanned out so elegantly were inspired by the bird-of-paradise flower. With flawless makeup and long wavy hair, she had a quiet sophistication that wasn’t in-your-face fierce, but was still very goddess-like.
The audience gasped when Charmaine Elima (1st Runner-up) walked onto the stage in her Pablo Mendez gown with crystals and sequins, and a side drape with more crystals. The color highlighted her morena features and complemented her black flowy hair.
When Elizabeth Clenci (Bb. Pilipinas Grand International 2017) came out in a slinky white asymmetric gown with dramatic fall detail by Jaz Cerezo, she commanded attention. Her clean updo with high bun and silver dangling earrings finished the look. Although she is one of the shortest candidates, she looked tall, which definitely gave her an edge.
Jennyline Carla Malpaya (Top 25 semifinalist) was in Jontie Martinez’s chartreuse gown, which featured intricate full-on embroidery and a chiffon cape for maximum drama. On the wrong girl, this could have easily upstaged and swallowed her. But Carla showed it off with ease.
Ruffa Nava (Top 25 semifinalist) is a model and it showed. Her blush/gold halter gown with a side-to-back chiffon cape by John Cliff could potentially be tacky, but it was executed beautifully. It allowed Ruffa to work that chiffon and glide through the stage.
This article originally appeared in Manila Bulletin.
All photos courtesy of BPCI unless otherwise indicated.