Gowns by Dubai designers shine on Miss Universe Philippines stage

Filipino-American Chelsea Manalo is crowned winner at glittering Manila ceremony

From left, Victoria Velasquez Vincent wearing Furne One and and Ahtisa Manalo in Michael Cinco creations. Photo: Miss Universe Philippines / Facebook
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Designers based in Dubai have been turning heads in Manila during a glittering ceremony on Wednesday to decide who will represent the Philippines at Miss Universe 2024.

On a night when Filipino-American Chelsea Manalo was crowned as the nation's representative for the global pageant later this year, two contestants in the evening gown competition shone wearing creations by Filipino designers Michael Cinco and Furne One, both of who have ateliers in the UAE.

Ahtisa Manalo, who was later named second runner-up, walked the stage in a shimmering red off-shoulder dress with trailing sleeves by Cinco, whose studio is based in Dubai's Design District.

Ahtisa also sported a flattering one-shoulder dress with a daring slit by Cinco during the preliminaries held a day earlier.

One, who owns Amato Couture also at D3, lent his design prowess to Victoria Velasquez Vincent, who reached the top 10. Vincent wore two of the designer's works. The first gown – a blue dress with a prominent wing detail on the bodice – appeared during the preliminary rounds.

Vincent advanced to the contest's final evening gown competition on coronation night, where she wore a daring sheer red gown by the Dubai designer. “The cut is basic to emphasise Vincent's body proportion,” One told The National.

Although he has been based in the UAE for a while, the Filipino designer said it was important for him to “support my country and community”.

Both One and Cinco aren't strangers to Miss Universe, with their designs often being worn by beauty queens. They've also dressed representatives from other countries over the years.

At Miss Universe 2022, Miss Universe Bahrain Evlin Khalifa wore one of One's gowns. Cinco's gowns were a hit during the 2021 version of the contest, when he dressed contestants and even some judges.

Last evening's ceremony in Manilla was open to the Filipino diaspora for the first time and 53 hopefuls gathered from across the pageant-obsessed nation to take part. Last year's winner Michelle Marquez Dee returned to the stage to crown her successor.

Reigning Miss Universe Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua will crown her successor on September 18 when the beauty pageant returns to Mexico.

This year's pageant will feature the return of Belize, Botswana, China, Cuba, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, New Zealand and Samoa. Iran is also meant to send a representative for the first time, but under the title of “Miss Persia”.

Although there is plenty of time before the finale, some competing countries have already selected their representatives.

Updated: May 23, 2024, 6:34 AM