Michael Cinco dresses at Cannes over the years, from Aishwarya Rai to Pia Wurtzbach

Filipino designer has been creating gowns for big stars from his Dubai studio

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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. His creations have been worn by Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Kylie Jenner, Madonna, Mariah Carey and others.

But the Cannes Film Festival holds 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, Cinco has been dressing some of the biggest stars to have walked the red carpet at one of the world's most prestigious film festivals.

Cinco collaborated with Rai Bachchan once again the following year, with the actress and L'Oreal ambassador wearing a butterfly-inspired dress featuring a three-metre-long train. The crystal-smothered ensemble 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,” Cinco tells The National. “Watching these glamorous actresses from all over the world in Michael Cinco is a dream come true.”

A number of stars have been seen in Cinco dresses this year too.

Cambodian actress Yubin Shin wore a voluminous “black liquid” dress for the premiere of the black comedy Kinds of Kindness, by Oscar-nominated director Yorgos Lanthimos. The satin ball gown is from Cinco's Japan-inspired spring/summer 2024 collection.

Indian actress Deepti Sadhwani was spotted in a Cinco creation, a bright yellow crystallised gown, at the premiere of Bird, starring Barry Keoghan.

Cinco also collaborated with model and former Miss Kosovo Emilia Dobreva, whom he's dressed at Cannes before. Dobreva wore a look from the Cinco's spring/summer 2004 collection, a shimmering black satin number.

On Wednesday, Dubai Bling star Farhana Bodi attended the premiere Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo) in a striking custom-made blue gown by Cinco. The shimmering gown was accentuated by sculptural swirls that broke out on the side and extended in a dramatic train.

Also at the premiere of The Count of Monte Cristo was former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach-Jauncey, who wore a voluminous princess gown in pale blue designed by Cinco.

The satin ballgown featured a sheer upper and sleeves embedded with Swarovski crystals all over. Cinco said the dress was custom-made for the Filipina model, who he's dressed on many occasions.

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,” Cinco told The National in 2019. “I loved watching classic Hollywood films. One of the best films I've ever watched was My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn, and that inspired me. 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.”

Updated: May 23, 2024, 7:56 AM