We are still obsessed about the “Perla” dress
While it’s been postponed many times due to the pandemic, Binibining Pilipinas 2021 was certainly worth the wait. Apart from crowning this year’s set of Filipina beauties and its all-female hosts, the beauty pageant didn’t disappoint when it comes to its evening gown presentation. Filipino design talent reigned supreme at the contest’s segment. Specifically, one of the dresses that walked the pageant’s stage made a special impact, we are still obsessed about it.
We are talking about the gown Binibining Pilipinas 2021 first runner-up Gabrielle Basiano wore. Dubbed as “Perla,” the gown was serving Cher realness with that hood detail. The dress has such great stage presence that it helped her to bring home the Best in Long Gown award.
“I choose to wear a hooded gown dedicated to the current situation our world is facing right now,” the beauty from Borongan, Eastern Samar said. “As the world is covered with uncertainties and challenges, the hood symbolizes the hope of unmasking all our worries, and going forward, towards a pandemic-free world.”
Made by Ken Batino and Jevin Salaysay, the “Perla” dress marked the debut of the design duo in the Binibining Pilipinas stage. According to them, the design was planned way ahead of the competition, December 2019 to be exact.
“The reason why we added a hood on it is because I and Jevin are both neophyte designers in Binibining Pilipinas, so we took the risk of leaving a mark,” Ken tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We offered something new and different from the usual pageant gowns that we see on stage.”
They started crafting the dress in February 2020, and it took them weeks to finish it. Everything in the dress were done by hand and Jevin hand-stitched thousands of pearls of different sizes on it. The knitted hood was made from scratch, from the net up to every single strand of the pearls that was all hand-sewn. Swarovski crystals were added to make the dress glimmer when all the lights are focused on it.
Ken and Jevin went above and beyond and even created a mock gown of the same cut and design (without pearls) so Gabby can rehearse. No wonder she looked so at ease when she presented it on the stage.
Prior to designing pageant gowns, Ken was a fashion stylist. He started working in the industry in 2010 and decided to pursue designing when he worked with Willie Revillame for “Wowowin.” He was in charge of planning, designing, and creating every costume for the show in 2016. In 2018, he established his fashion label My Fren and after a year, Jevin became a part of the brand.
“Fashion in pageantry is no longer just about sparkling and flowy dresses, or the ones we are accustomed to,” Ken muses. “Fashion in today’s pageantry has become a revolution. It has become a platform not just to showcase the talent and ingenuity of Filipino designers, but also to champion the Filipino history, culture, and tradition.”
Banner photo credits:
Photography: Advan Ramirez
Creative direction, design, and styling: Ken Batino and Jevin Salaysay
Beauty: Eugene Tiongson
Hair: Fhedz Nepomuceno Cordero
Pageant Camp: RL’s Angels by RL Lacanienta