From his studio in the Dubai Design District, Filipino designer Michael Cinco has been sending his lavish, ornate dresses to some of the biggest events around the world. Worn everywhere from beauty pageants to film festivals and awards shows, Cinco's creations have grabbed headlines and the designer has dressed everyone from Lady Gaga to Beyonce, Kylie Jenner, Madonna and Mariah Carey.
This year too, Cinco's designs are making news from the Cannes Film Festival red carpet, with him having dressed Miss Kosovo and Dubai resident Emilia Dobreva, as well as Indonesian actress Raline Shah among others.
Cannes has a special place in Cinco's heart. Ever since Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wore his design — a voluminous blue gown from his Impalpable Dream of Versailles collection — in 2017, causing quite a stir, Cinco has been dressing some of the biggest stars to have walked the red carpet of one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
Cinco collaborated with Rai Bachchan the following year once again, with the actress and L'Oreal ambassador this time wearing a butterfly-inspired dress featuring a three-metre-long train. The crystal-smothered concoction took 3,000 hours to craft, and was meant to represent a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
"It has been always my dream to see A-list Hollywood and international stars wearing my couture creations on the red carpet. Watching these glamorous actresses from all over the world in Michael Cinco is a dream come true," Cinco tells The National.
A number of stars have been seen in Cinco dresses since, with a few more set to make their appearances before the festival concludes on May 28.
Cinco, who moved to Dubai from the Philippines in 1997, established his namesake label in 2003. While a bulk of his customers — about 90 per cent, he estimates — are from the Gulf, with the rest primarily from Russia, Europe and the US, his influence is growing thanks to high-profile events such as the Cannes Film Festival.
"My dream to become a designer started when I was a kid. I loved watching classic Hollywood films," Cinco told The National in 2019. "One of the best films I've ever watched and that inspired me to be a designer was My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn. It was like a dream, with the most beautiful costumes I'd ever seen in my life. When I watched that movie, I knew I would be a fashion designer some day."