Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Pageant Gown Fab 2014: The Best of 2014--Check out who made my End-of -the-Year Beauty Pageant Gown List

Time for my End-of-the-Year "Sashes and Tiaras" Fashion Roundup!! Yes, kids, it's that time of the year when we discuss "The Best of 2014", and naturally, I want to talk about the Best Beauty Pageant Gowns of 2014. I've narrowed it down to some of my favorite gowns from the more "top" international pageants such as Miss World, Miss International, as well as Miss Venezuela, Miss USA, Miss Lebanon and Miss World Philippines, among others. I wish I could include "Miss Universe" in her but since the pageant won't happen until next year on January 25th, then it really doesn't count as part of the "Best of 2014".

So...let's have a look-back at the Beauty Pageant Gown Highlights of 2014. Oh, and of course, I'll have an "Ayyy Mija!"/Uh Oh of 2014 Pageant Gown Recap in a separate blog!

Miss World 2014----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miss South Africa--and eventual Miss World 2014--Rolene Strauss: Loved this powder pink off-the-shoulder gown in a "Lite Mermaid" shape designed by Casper Bosman of Casper Designer Wear of South Africa. The torso draping/gathering was just right and the softly flowing multi-tiered bottom half added drama and fluidity. And that sweetheart neckline framed Rolene's PERFECT face and hair. All that was missing was, yes, a Miss World crown. And she got it.

I also loved the light blue sequined gown she wore at the Miss World Top Model/World Fashion Designer Dress presentation (above photo). The gown fit perfectly, perfect length and had a wonderful column-to-flared silhouette.

Miss World Philippines Valerie Weigmann: I absolutely loved Valerie's choice for evening gown in the Miss World 2014 Finals. She also wore this Michael Cinco-designed gown for the Miss World Top Model/World Fashion Designer Dress presentation. The lemon yellow paillette over ivory tulle and organza ball gown was perfect and so on-trend. It was definitely one of favorites of 2014.

Miss South Sudan Awien Kuanyin-Agoth: One of my top faves from this year's Miss World was the gown and printed cape worn by Miss South Sudan Awien Kuanyin-Agoth. The ensemble was designed by Jennifer Akese Burney of Akese StyleLines and it was MARVELOUS! Awien definitely made a GOWN statement in this! One of my favorites!

Miss Lebanon Saly Greige: Saly wore a gorgeous ocean blue silk gazar with sequin detail ball gown for the Miss World 2014 Finals. It was sublime; the beading, the shape, the fit...Beautiful!

Miss World Thailand Nonthawang Thongleng: Nonthawang stood out at this year's edition of the "Miss World" with her sexy gold crepe and sequined one shoulder gown and Victoria's Secret-like supermodel styling and overall presentation. Among all the "I'm a Sweet Girl" Gown Parade that happened at the "Miss World 2014", Miss World Thailand brought enough Supermodel Stomp to make the other women look like dated Pageant Betty's.

Nonthawang also looked EXCEPTIONAL during the Miss World Top Model/World Fashion Designer Dress presentation, where she wore the canary yellow silk draped gown with an ivory-colored "under-dress" in the above photo. Chic, Cannes Red Carpet of the best!

Miss World Venezuela Debora Menicucci and Miss World Russia Anastasia Kostenko: I loved BOTH of the gowns worn by Miss World Venezuela Debora Menicucci (a Gionni Straccia design) and Miss World Russia Anastasia Kostenko. Debora's gown was exquisitely made and had perfect stage-wattage with its silver/blue sequined over nude illusion torso ending in a full ombre feathered explosion. This gown could have easily looked like a Gay Pride Float but under Straccia's wonderful design hands, it looked fabulously chic. And Anastasia's emerald green ball gown was a definite standout; it was elegant, regal and looked very well made and could have easily been from an Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad Couture collection.

Miss World Australia Courtney Thorpe: Courtney wore one of my favorite gowns of 2014 in terms of beauty pageants during the Miss World Top Model/World Fashion Designer Dress presentation. This teal chiffon gown featured a heavily sequined bodice and shoulder "cape" pieces that fell to the ground. The style was dramatic, runway fab and was styled well with her hair up and small earrings.

Miss International 2014--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miss International Puerto Rico--and eventual Winner of Miss International 2014 Valerie Hernandez: Valerie won the pageant wearing this ivory and gold gown with sequined "fire" detail and a sheer-and-sequined neckline. I thought this belonged in the Best of 2014 Pageant Gowns blog because it was a very nice gown; very impacting, and she completed the look well with the simple drop earrings and perfect updo hairstyle.

Miss International Thailand Punika Kulsoontornrut: The beautiful Punika got the 2nd Runner-up title at this years Miss International in Japan while wearing this white satin and silver sequined gown. The silver crystal overlay was exquisite and I especially loved the shoulder details. While I wished it wasn't SOOOO plunging and the "sisters" weren't so much on display...I still think she looked elegant and perfectly pretty in this. The Miss Thailand Organization seems to really have its Gown situation down to a perfect "Style Science". Kudos to them.

Miss USA 2014-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miss Louisiana USA Brittany GuidryBrittany wore what I thought was THE BEST gown of the Miss USA 2014 Finals. I know that some people on the web weren't such fans but I don't care: I LOVED IT! The color was stunning; the fit was perfect; the jeweled drop-shoulder bodice and empire-waisted multi-layered georgette skirt was sublime. Brittany looked regal and almost on a whole other level than the rest of the contestants. And maybe too regal and too unapproachable and therefore, she ended up with the Third Runner-Up position in the end. But for her Gown, she gets FIRST...

Miss Iowa USA Carlyn Bradarich: Carlyn was another absolute stunner in terms of her beauty as well as her gown. The black velvet column gown is regal, emphasizes her statuesque frame and the neckline sequin detail is beautiful. She looked CLASSY and sexy all at the same time in this gown. It's a perfect example that there's no need to show Tacky-licious Cleavage and have a SLIT to your nether regions to get attention. 

Miss South Carolina USA Christina Zapolski: Six foot tall stunner Christina Zapolski wore a Mermaid-style strapless ivory colored gown featuring a sequined torso and multi-layered organza bottom half. This gown fit Christina perfectly and was one of my favorites of the Miss USA 2014--and of 2014. She looks like the "Dream Child" of models Christie Brinkley and Elle Macpherson.

Señorita Colombia 2014-2015/Miss Colombia Universe 2014---------------------------------------------
Miss Sucre--and eventual Miss Colombia Universe 2014-2015 Ariadna Gutierrez: Ariadna wore a gold and creme sequined gown with nude illusion, plunging neckline and tulle back godets. I liked this gown so much I placed it here on my "Best of 2014" list. Ariadna looked VERY "Sofia Vergara at an awards show red carpet". She got first (a 9.9 !) in Evening Gown scores from the judges and I think that was well deserved.

Miss World Philippines 2014-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Contestant #19--and eventual Winner of Miss World Philippines 2014--Valerie Weigmann: This was my FAVORITE evening gown of the Miss World Philippines 2014 beauty pageant. When Valerie stepped onstage with this strapless apple green "Empire"-style gown with jeweled applique bust section, it was like "Done & Done!"; she looked majestic, runway chic, modern, and like a winner. Valerie looked like a top Hollywood actress on a red carpet of a big Hollywood event--while lots of the other contestants just gave you "Pageant Betty". It was almost unfair and pretty obvious who got the best gown and who probably was the favorite (at least in the pageant organizers and who-gets-what-gown decision-making). This HAD to be in my "Best of 2014" Pageant Gown list.

Miss Lebanon 2014-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This year's edition of the Miss Lebanon 2014 pageant featured an entire Evening Gown Competition featuring evening gowns from Lebanese Couturier--and Red Carpet Fave--Zuhair Murad. ALL the gowns were from his most recent Zuhair Murad Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 collection. Each and every one of the gowns were handmade and would cost in the $100,000-$400,000 if you were rich enough to order them (or famous enough to wear them for free for a top awards show!). I realize that these gowns may not go under the typical "Beauty Pageant Gown" dept. since these are truly High Fashion Runway styles, but since they were worn in a beauty pageant, that was close enough to make it onto my list. While it was difficult to chose my favorites, here were some:

3rd Runner-Up Aya Hodroj: Stunning red strapless side draped ball gown

"Miss Lebanon 2014" contestant Elizabeth Matar: One shoulder side draped silk gazar turquoise ball gown

First Runner-Up Elsa Hajjar: Stunning black sequined gown with ivory silk gazar over-skirt with black "zebra"-like sequined detail

2nd Runner Up Rouba Monzer: Strapless silver silk organza and tulle ball gown with "window-pane"-like crystal detail 

"Miss Lebanon 2014" contestant Sherine Nasr: One shoulder silver sequined column gown with side front high slit.

Miss Venezuela 2014-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Miss Anzoategui Edymar Martinez: Edymar got the second-place title of "Miss Venezuela International" at this year's edition of the famed Miss Venezuela beauty pageant. She was almost-Miss Venezuela, and in fact, she was THE favorite to win the top crown (well, she almost got it!). Edimar's gown was a blush colored sequined gown from Venezuelan designer Hugo Espina featuring over 17,000 hand-sewn crystals. Whoever had to count those: bless your heart! The gown was gorgeous, impacting and very Red Carpet on-trend (look at that back!). If she never wears this again, she should give it to the actual Miss Venezuela to wear for the Miss Universe pageant! Definitely one of my Best of 2014!

Miss Falcon Jennifer Saa: 6' 1" tall model Jennifer was one of my favorites of the Miss Venezuela 2014 pageant finals; she was Model Perfection, had the air of "I'm Above You!" (she's six foot one!) and works the runway like no other!  She was picked as one of the Top Ten but didn't proceed from there. Let's just say that my advice is that she needs to take a one-way flight to Milan Italy and never look back! But moving on--her mint green-and-silver sequined gown with white cape was designed by Alejandro Fajardo. The gown itself was AMAZING and I don't think it needed the sequined cape. If anything, the cape would have been fine but just white silk chiffon--plain and no sequins.

Miss Apure Skarliz Coa: Skarliz was one of my favorite contestants (so gorgeous!) at this year's "Miss Venezuela 2014" beauty pageant, and this gown was actually also one of my faves. It was designed by Valentina Cedeño. The dress featured a high neck column design with a sheer crystal-encrusted center front and neck section.It was modern and sexy. 

Miss Amazonas Maira Alexandra Rodriguez: Maira got the third place title as "Miss Earth Venezuela" and she actually got to wear this for the "Miss Earth 2014" finals this year. Her one shoulder ivory silk crepe and tulle gown was from designer Julio Mora. I liked the gown and especially the crystals strategically strewn throughout the gown's neckline, sleeve, and side. The only thing that bothered me were those over-the-top crystal-encrusted platform heels: SO not necessary. Other than that: it was one of the best Pageant Gowns of 2014.

Miss Zulia Erika Pinto: The stunning Erika Pinto wore this Gionni Straccia-designed gown for the "Miss Venezuela 2014" finals. This ivory gown with sequin paillette embellishment was modern and impacting. The nude illusion PERFECTLY matched her skin color. Note to all those Figure Skating Costume Designers who cannot get it right: it can be done!

Miss Cojedes Isabella Arriaga: Isabella's gown was designed by Alejandro Fajardo. I thought it was a very dramatic, red carpet-worthy gown; something I can see Sofia Vergara wearing at a big awards event. The dress had a semi-mermaid silhouette and was white and gold panels with crystals throughout. Poor Isabella had A LOT of trouble walking in this gown as for some reason, the sides were buckling under and getting caught with her shoes and impeding her walk. She kept trying to kick the darn train but to no avail. But I didn't mind that--the gown was stunning enough to make the "Best of 2014" cut.

**NEXT: The "Uh Oh of 2014 Beauty Pageant Gown" List....


laila seprado said...

Hi Nick! I've been a fan of your blog and await your take on the year's best and worst pageant gowns.If you have the time, kindly feature the most recent celebrity wedding of Filipino actors Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes (I know right? The name is crazy). It was a major fashion moment for us here in the Philippines since the gown was designed by the marvelous Michael Cinco. Cheers!

TJ Parino said...

Hoy nakakahiya ka. Wag ka dito manlimos ng pansin!

Kasal yon hindi fashion event.

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