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EXCLUSIVE: The Dresses That Didn't Make It—Catriona Gray's Designer Shares Sketches Of Miss Universe Gowns!

The most awaited pageant in the universe happens in just a few hours! With the beautiful and intelligent Catriona Gray representing our country, the Philippines has a high chance of bagging the crown this year. 




Philippines, mahal kita. ??????♥??? I wanted a touch of patriotism in my evening gown as an ode to our beautiful country. Thank you @tesserajewelry for bringing my vision to life and for @ton_lao who always let's me express my artistic vision! ? Wanted to also thank Col. Nolasco & his team, Ms Liza, Sir Ronald and Hannah's Beach Convention center for the unconditional support! ?? Along with Cong. Joey for the support from Albay, can't wait to come visit soon! ?? Even though we're doing a whole day of interviews, it hasn't sunk in pa!!!! ??????? So so grateful for everyday! Check out my Instagram stories for more! Love you all! ???? #CatrionaGrayMUP2018

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Catriona Gray winning the Binibining Pilipinas pageant last March.


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It was just this week when Catriona's Ibong Adarna-inspired evening gown trended on the Internet. The standout dress she wore to the prelimenary competition, intricately made using feather-like gold thread embroidery, was designed by Filipino designer Mak Tumang. He will also be creating the beauty queen's final gown for the Miss Universe 2018 pageant proper.



IBONG ADARNA ?????? The Blazing Siren by @maktumang My preliminary gown was inspired by the 'Ibong Adarna': a prominent Filipino folklore that is a mythologicalnous bird. Story goes, the Ibong Adarna's enchanting voice can enable complete healing to anyone who hears it. Some artists liken it to the mythological Phoenix where it recurrently regenerates itself by arising amidst a spectacle of flames and candescence. This makes it a fitting symbol of resilience, rising and rebirth. ?????? My earrings were designed by me and executed by @tesserajewelry as another ode to the Philippines with the Philippine sun and golden South sea pearls, our national gem. ???? Thank you to @maktumang for his amazing craftsmanship and exquisite execution of this gown, to @justine.aliman19 and @ton_lao for styling in @bragaisjojo heels and @tesserajewelry. Thank you to mamang @hairbybrentsales and @jellyeugenio for teaching me to slay my hair and makeup! And to @carlosbuendiajr, the man behind my walk ?? I love you all!!!

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Photo: Mak Tumang


The designer was ecstatic with how well-received his Adarna: The Blazing Siren dress was, underscoring that it was important for him to showcase the country's rich heritage and culture through his creations. In fact, he even hinted that all his pieces for Catriona were inspired by the Philippines! 

"Working with her [Catriona] feels amazing," the couturier shared in an exclusive interview with Metro.Style. "As someone who is also passionate about their craft, it is a joy to work with someone who is also as dedicated and ardent as I am. But what I love about her [Catriona] is despite her knowledge and creativity, she trusts me with all her heart. And I think that's the most beautiful thing about this collaboration."


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The design process

The couturier and the beauty queen closely collaborated in coming up with the final looks for the competition. Mak shared that he created a total of seven concepts and shortlisted three before bringing them into life. (Fun fact: He designed Catriona's evening gown for the finals before the preliminary!

 "I first presented the Finals gown [which is yet to be revealed]. Then, I showed the Prelimenary gown, which is the Ibong Adarna concept. Catriona then presented her ideas, and asked me to develop her concepts—Warrior and Pearl of the Orient. I then created other options like the Las Islas Filipinas, Region Del Sol, and Bandila." 

Below are some screenshots of their conversation:

Their conversation on March 30, 2018. According to the designer, the concept of the Ibong Adarna-inspired prelimenary gown was born four days after he sketched Catriona Gray's gown for the Miss Universe finals.

Photo: Mak Tumang


A screenshot showing the list of concepts that Catriona and Mak had in mind.

Photo: Mak Tumang


A conversation showing Catriona's feedback on Mak's sketches.

Photo: Mak Tumang


Earlier this week, Mak shared sketches of the Miss Universe dresses that didn't make it to the final cut. As aforementioned, each piece was carefully researched to represent the Philippines. Will Catriona's final dress for the pageant resemble any of these? We'll have to wait and see—for now, take a look at these gorgeous sketches!


Bandila (Flag)


Photo: Mak Tumang


Del Mar (From the Sea)

PhotoL Mak Tumang


Las Islas (The Islands)


Photo: Mak Tumang


Region del Sol (Region of the Sun)

Photo: Mak Tumang


The 67th Miss Universe pageant airs on December 17, 2018. 


Lead photos via @catriona_gray and Mak Tumang