Filipino designers share stories about working with Miss Universe Canada team

Published May 24, 2021, 1:10 PM

by John Legaspi

Fashion designers Jaggy Glarino and Rian Fernandez show support for Michael Cinco

Miss Universe Canada 2018 Marta Magdalena Stepien with Rain Fernandez and the suit designed by Jaggy Glarino for Nova Stevens
After Michael Cinco released his statement on social media about the “sabotaging” allegation sparked by the team behind Miss Universe Canada 2020 Nova Stevens, two Filipino designers also shared their story to support the Dubai-based Filipino couturier’s claims of the team being “vile” and “ungrateful.”
First is Filipino designer Jaggy Glarino. It is noted that Nova wore some of his pieces for the editorial shoot Cinco had prepared for the beauty queen in Dubai. But it seems the collaboration didn’t end there. According to Glarino, he was approached by Cinco on behalf of Miss Canada’s team if he could dress her for the preliminary interviews, days before the event.
“I, alongside the styling duo of PH’s Francis Chee and Vhee Co, we’re all beyond ecstatic to be approached by the Michael Cinco to do this, that we were able to accomplish the ‘impossible’ in two days,” Jaggy posted. “I mean, a custom deconstructed suit set matched with a custom pair of size 10 shoes from May Lee and a pair of custom earrings from Eric Manansala, in just two days! Amoy rugby pa yung sapatos noong dumating. (The shoes still smells of fresh glue when it arrived)”
Jaggy and his team went above and beyond to have the pieces taken to the US. They even consulted fellow fashion designer Bessie Besana to include it in his luggage as he is on his way to the country to watch the Miss Universe 2020 pageant live.
“Sadly, the suit did not make it in time because the person who was supposed to get the suit from me in Chicago was not responsive,” Bessie commented.
“To cut the story short, the look didn’t make it to the close door interview. It was a missed opportunity really, a waste of time, money, and effort. A lesson learned the hard way,” Jaggy said.
Next to share his side is Filipino designer Rian Fernandez. But unlike Jaggy’s, Rian’s story happened way back in 2018. The experience was so terrible that, according to the designer, it almost cost him his life!
“Around September 2018, where Marta was just crowned as Miss Universe Canada, Denis Martin Davila (the director) and I were already discussing the gowns for Marta Magdalena Stepien. To make sure that Marta will have several options for her preliminary and final gowns (and other functions like red carpet and dinner events), I made five in colors of deep red, blue, green, gold, and nude. I have shown these gowns to Denis, Marta, before the fitting. They said they were excited. So, my team and I went to Thailand on Nov. 28, 2018, for Marta’s fitting, then went back to Manila on the 30th. And returned to Thailand again on Dec. 9, 2018 to make sure that Marta will get all the assistance,” Fernandez posted. “My team and I stayed in Thailand for weeks… all expenses for my team [were] shouldered by me! The gowns were made out of love for the reason that Denis promised me that I will get the exposure and media mileage.”
“But alas, the preliminary competition happened and I was shookt that Marta is wearing a Michael Cinco (M5) creation. I have nothing against M5 because he is an icon! My point is, we were promised by Denis that Marta will wear me to the preliminary and final competition because we have a group chat of continuous updates on how the five gowns are going,” the designer added. “Since this happened, I asked Denis to return to me all the five gowns so that other ladies can wear me on the final night, even just for an OOTD backstage so that people will see the creations that my team and I worked hard for! Denis didn’t return the gowns (except for the one Miss Cambodia wore… the deep red gown) for he promised me that Marta will really wear me for the finals, but you all know that it didn’t happen and Marta still wore M5.”
According to him, the stress and the feeling of being cheated made him question his skills as a designer, and caused his body to paralyze.
“It was the scariest moment of my life. Luckily, there was this supporter of Catriona [Gray], a licensed physical therapist in Dubai, who helped me. If not, I might not have seen the light of day,” he said. “After that incident, I never received any explanation or apology from their team. I know that I shouldn’t be counting the cost of that dreadful experience (both financially, mentally, and psychologically) because I wanted to be part of Marta’s Miss Universe journey.”
“Let this be a lesson to all of us Filipino designers. Never shall we be scammed again by this MUC organization! To you Denis and your team, please have some gratitude and a little sense of professionalism when dealing with people who want to help your queen. Please have a little shame. May this be the end of your swindler personality,” he ended.
Read Michael Cinco’s reaction to Miss Universe Canada’s claims here.