Miss Universe Philippines 2021 preliminary dresses: The stories behind what they wore

Published September 29, 2021, 11:51 AM

by John Legaspi

Here are the stories behind some of the gorgeous dresses at the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 preliminary competition

Culture-imbued fashions, that is what pageants are all about these days, especially in the Philippines. The recent Miss Universe Philippines 2021 preliminary competition is no exception with its show-stopping gowns made with Philippine culture in mind. This year’s set of beauties worked with Filipino fashion designers to craft the perfect pageant gowns to truly kick off their journey to the crown, and they’re just far from being just pretty, sparkling dresses. Here are some of the pieces that merged style and heritage last Sept. 26, 2021, at the pageant’s preliminary showcase.

Leren Mae Bautista in Louis Pangilinan (Laguna)

Leren wore a Louis Pangilinan piece that pays homage to “the Lovelorn Enchantress living in the dormant volcano in Los Baños, Laguna,” Maria Makiling. The garb presents a myriad of embellishments, from beads and crystals to sequins, and its silver-tone perfect compliments the Filipina’s beauty.

Katrina Dimaranan in Martin Bautista (Taguig)

Dubbed as “Tapis,” Katrina’s gown is an ode to “the capabilities of a Filipina woman and the ideology of how a woman should act and behave.” Inspired by Filipina historical figures like Gabriela Silang, and Tandang Sora and artistic visions of Sabel, and Dalagang Bukid, Mark Bautista crafted a black piece with a corset and tulle decked with crystal fringe embellishments.

Maureen Wroblewitz in Mara Chua (Pangasinan)

Much like a sea nymph, Maureen’s dress by Mara Chua is inspired by the designer’s “childhood summers in Bantayan Island where jellyfish and seaweeds normally line the beach every end of summer.”

Victoria Velasquez Vincent in Furne Amato (Cavite)

After crafting the gowns for the reigning queen Rabiya Mateo at the Miss Universe 2020, Furne Amato is definitely a great choice of a designer with his dramatic, couture take on pageant dressing. And what she made for Cavite’s Victoria is certainly a stunner. The beauty queen shared that the dress arrived only days before the prelims and that she only practiced her walk wearing it twice.

Maria Ingrid Teresita Santamaria in Rajo Laurel (Parañaque City)

Noted fashion designer Rajo Laurel looked to the goddess of beauty in crafting this breathtaking piece for the Parañaque City beauty Sam. An homage to Aphrodite, the designer created a divine dress with a draped mother of pearl silk charmeuse, featuring “hand draped plissé detail on the bodice and outlined this with metallic paillettes” and a “pleated nautilus style skirt.”

Kheshapornam Ramachandran in Alfie Desamparado (Iloilo City)

Dubbed “Habol Panapton,” Kheshapornam’s dress features the intricate pattern of Iloilo’s local fabric hablon. Designer Alfie Desamparado replicated it through meticulously rendered patterns of the beadwork. According to him, “this hablon-inspired gown represents the unity of the Ilonggos, its vibrant colors project our diversity as a people, and its craftsmanship and dynamic appeal hope to highlight the city of love’s woven and unparalleled rootedness in its culture and the arts.”

Kristen Delavin in Louis Pangilinan (Masbate)

Masbate beauty Kirsten, adored by many as Kisses, wore the love of her supporters with a dress designed by Louis Pangilinan. The blue garb “took inspiration from the Province’s Marine Sanctuary.” According to the designer, each detail on the dress represents the people from the province who are behind the beauty contender, giving the dress the perfect name “Tinatangi.”