Saturday, December 31, 2011
Beauty Pageant Gowns--A 2011 Look Back at some of my Favorite, The Hoochies, and The Oh-Dear What Were You Thinking? This past year has been a "mixed" year in terms of evening gowns in the beauty pageant world. There have been some really good ones that displayed modernity, directionality, and a nod to the red carpet and what actual stars like Angelina Jolie or Charlize Theron would wear for an event such as the Academy Awards or Cannes Film Festival. However, for some reason, there still have been plenty of tacky-licious Hoochie Mammas, with plunging tops that reveal too much of the "sisters" and slits so high that well, one would be quite confused whether or not these ladies were running for Miss Universe or attending the Exxxotica Expo LA Adult Entertainment Show and Convention! Since I love discussing beauty pageants and especially the evening gowns here, I thought it would be fun to give you guys my List of the Top--and the Not-So Top Gowns, from some of the most important international beauty pageants, like Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Venezuela, Miss USA, etc., of 2011. So without further ado... The Best: Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011, from Angola: Simply perfect! One of my favorites of 2011. Leila wore a gold-colored strapless lace sequined gown with feathered detail. Now, I know that all of those details sound like a lot, and in the wrong hands it might have come out a MESS. But it did not. The gown was elegant and perfect for her skin color. She accessorized it with those gold stacked-heel pumps and kept it very modern with little-to-almost no jewelry. All these style ingredients helped her clinch the Miss Universe crown. Miss Mexico 2011, Karin Ontiveros, Miss Universe 2011 Pageant: Karin did not make the Semi-Final Round during the Miss Universe Pageant this past year but she did, in my opinion, wear one of the Top Gowns of the Year. This off-the-shoulder lilac metalized satin draped gown was modern and had a nod to the Grecian-Goddess trend. It didn't overwhelm her or take away from her beauty and looked "Red Carpet Hollywood Star" appropriate. Miss Venezuela 2011-2012 Irene Esser: This gown, by Venezuelan Beauty Pageant Designer KING Gionni Straccia, was fit for a QUEEN. A Venezuelan Queen. The gown looked like something one would see from an Armani Prive Haute Couture Collection--the silk lame, the hand-sewn Swarovski crystals and the perfect fit. I also loved it in that she won with a gown that had (GASP!) NO SLIT! A Beauty pageant Winner wearing a gown with NO SLIT?! Who would have thunk it? I would have. Miss New York USA 2011, Amber Marie Collins, Miss USA 2011 Pageant: Another one of my Top Beauty Pageant Evening Gowns of 2011 was this gown worn by Miss New York USA at the Miss USA 2011 Pageant. She didn't make it into the Semi-Final Round but with this gown alone, she should have! The gown was designed by the same designer who created Miss Venezuela's--Gionni Straccia. I love it's simplicity, lack of too-high HOOCHIE slit, and delicate and beautiful shoulder, underbust and torso sequin trim. This is "Pageant Gown Lite" and the direction most pageant gowns should be going. Miss Merida 2011 Yasmeira Gutierrez: Shimmering and simply stunning! This was one of my other favorite gowns from this past year's Miss Venezuela Pageant and well, one of my Top of the Year. It was a strapless silver-and-gold sequined silk organza gown from, yes, Venezuelan designer Gionni Straccia (he's on a roll here in my End-of-The-Year List). This is how I know a gown is good: I can see it on any top actress at the Oscars and see it end up in the "Best Dressed List" the day after. Miss Hungary 2011, Linda Szunai, Miss World 2011 Pageant: I absolutely loved this simple baby blue and turquoise strapless gathered bust empire-style gown, worn by Miss Hungary 2011 at the Miss World 2011 "Top Model" Presentation. This gown shows how you can do Elegant without any be-dazzler machine. It has CLASS written all over it. It's safe, yes, but still impacting. Miss Ghana 2011, Erica Nego at the Miss Universe 2011: Erica wore this during the Miss Universe 2011 Preliminary Evening Gown Competition and I touted it then as one of my favorite gowns of the Prelims. She didn't make the Semi-Finalist cut but to me, she still made an elegant impact with this strapless fuchsia and royal blue split-front empire style gathered bust gown. Gorgeous. Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011 Pageant: Alyssa, who was Miss California USA, wore this emerald green gown--from Pageant-and-Prom Fave Sherri Hill--for the Miss USA 2011 Live Telecast. And she won! As everyone knows, red-heads should wear this color like, ALL THE TIME! It suited her well and the gown, was yes, five minutes away from looking a bit "Pageant Betty Perfect" but somehow it still had enough Runway Couture in its fit and structure to deem it one of my favorites of 2011. Miss India Earth 2011, Hasleen Kaur, Miss Earth 2011 Pageant: In summing up my Top Beauty Pageant Gowns of 2011, I thought I should add a couple "Ball Gown/Princess" styles, since this almost became a trend of this past year. I really loved this pale blue-and-ivory gown worn by Miss India Earth during the Miss Earth 2011 Evening Gown Presentation. It was very Dior Haute Couture in its silhouette and Hasleen carried it well. I'm sure in the eyes of many pageant observers, it might not have been a favorite. But to me, it stood out as a vision of (semi) Haute Couture Fab-u-locity. Miss World 2011 Ivian Sarcos of Venezuela, Miss World 2011 Pageant: Finally, I had to add the Gianni Straccia gown Venezuelan beauty Ivian Sarcos wore when she won the Miss World 2011 title. To be frank, I wasn't a total fan. But...there was something about it that well, I still liked (the top section I think), and yes, the way the almost 6-foot-tall beauty carried it off. When she walked on stage there was no denying she was "in it to win it" and she made all the judges focus on her! If a Hollywood starlet wore this at the Oscars, she would get SLAMMED the next day and be on the Worst Dressed List. But for Miss World and their vision of the "Disney Princess Beauty", it was just right. The Oooh Girl What Were You Thinking? And now, I present to you my "Oh Dear" List. These gowns should be banned forever from beauty pageants, red carpet events,..heck even tacky Quinceañera's. A Note to any women wanting to enter a major beauty pageant and thinking about what evening gown style to wear: please don't EVER wear these. Miss Falcon 2011 Haydee Castillo, Miss Venezuela 2011 Pageant: designed by Luis Perdomo, this ivory satin gown was a mess. The too-high gathered halter-bust sections, the attached petal skirt, then a silver crystal trim waist tie? No, huney. Poor thang, she HAD to know she wasn't even going to be in the Semi-Semi-Semi Finals in this; she must have done something to make Osmel Sousa (Miss Venezuela Pageant Director) mad at her and therefore, she got this gown. Miss Turkey Earth 2011, Merve Saribas, Miss Earth 2011 Pageant: There is something SO TACKY about this concoction above that makes me want to go have many, many Martinis with her! Seriously. It's BAD! Poor Merve--who is just stunning--she was somehow coaxed into wearing this during the Miss Earth 2011 Evening Gown Presentation. Doesn't she have any fashionista gay friends in her homeland who should have advised her against this? It's so bad that the woman (on the left side, front row) in the photo is actually LAUGHING at what a mess this dress is! Miss Colombia 2011, Maria Catalina Robayo Vargas, Miss Universe 2011 Pageant: Oh Miss Colombia. You did it this time. You and this gown (if you would call it that) will enter you into the Drag Queen Hall of Fame. Ru Paul should be wearing this. Not Miss Colombia! It's a Halloween Orange strapless fan-pleated gown and... A gold and bronze stretch sequined jumpsuit. At the same time! It's sooo tacky and bad, it's Drag Queen Good! I need to see this on the female partner of a Figure Skating Ice Dancing Couple from Russia. Like TOMORROW! Miss Dominican Republic 2011, Dalia Fernandez, Miss Universe 2011 Pageant: Dalia thought she was entering the "Stripper of the Year" contest as opposed to the Miss Universe Pageant in this gown. That slit is SO high that well, I feel like she's about to see her gynecologist. Slits that high--up to the you-know-what--should be banned. Period. But then, if that wasn't enough, throw in the polyester satin fabrication and that too-plunging neckline. No Mija. No. Miss Mongolia 2011, Buyankhishig Unurbayar, Miss World 2011 Pageant: Speaking of plunging necklines. This is what I said about this dress back in my Miss World 2011 evening gown post: I can't even focus on the rest of the dress when THOSE things are so propped up and on full display; it's like "Here they are! Y'all want them?" How do you say that in Mongolian? Oh, here's a positive: I LOVE that sequined Disco headband!! So Olivia Newton-John "Let's Get Physical"! Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Finally here are my Top Three Worst: Miss Austria 2011, Julia Hofer, Miss World 2011: Julia Julia Julia...what bad curtain from your grandma back in Vienna did you use to make this gown? She's such a cute girl, why this awful 1984-looking dress? It was bad in 1984...and it's bad in 2011. Miss Belize 2011, Kadejah Tunn, Miss World 2011 Pageant: She is a Cha-Cha Queen, a Mambo Dancer and a come-hither stripper, all in one tacky dress. The low-rent fabrication, the side cut-outs, those tiered Carmen Miranda ruffles, then the open-toe gold pumps. Oh huney, I'm sure you're a sweet, sweet woman, but you have just made my "Oh Dear! Pageant Gown List" of 2011. Miss Belgium 2011, Justine De Jonckheere, Miss Universe 2011 Pageant: The very pretty Justine takes the prize as the WORST of Beauty Pageant Gowns of 2011 in this baby blue and ivory concoction. This is like Scheherazade got attacked by a tacky fabric store in Alabama! The slit, the one blouson sleeve, the connecting midriff trim, those tacky shoes, a CUFF (?), oh and that 1992 French Twist Up-Do? What. Were. You. Thinking? For all that, you get the "Nick V. 'Oh Dear!' Evening Gown" Crown for 2011. What did you guys think? What were your favorite--and not-so-favorite Beauty Pageant Evening Gowns of 2011? Did I miss any? Let me know! I'd LOVE to know your thoughts!!! And... Happy 2012!!! I'm looking forward to more Good and BAD Pageant Gowns in 2012!