SASHES AND TIARAS.....65th Miss Universe Preliminary Competition EVENING GOWNS: Top 15 Best Gowns!

Universal Gowns: Contestants for Miss Universe 2016 compete in Evening Gown--Miss Universe 2016 Preliminary Competition

Last night was the 65th Miss Universe Preliminary Competition for Miss Universe 2016, held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila Philippines. The Preliminaries are the most important pre-Finals competition since this is were the Top 12 Semi-finalists are picked for the Final Night this upcoming Sunday. All 86 contestants competed in Swimsuit as well as Evening Gown in front of judges, which included Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993 and Riyo Mori, Miss Universe 2007.

Which One Was my No. 1 Gown? (L to R) Miss Universe Vietnam Le Hang, Miss Universe Ukraine Alena Spodynyuk, Miss Universe Venezuela Mariam Habach--Miss Universe 2016 Preliminary Competition

There were lots of shimmering beautiful gowns (as well as a couple of CRAY-CRAY ones!) But if there were themes, they would have been A) More Is More, B) The 80's Are Back! and C) SEQUINS SEQUINS SEQUINS! Well, now that we got that out of the way, it's time for my Top 15 Best Evening Gowns from the Miss Universe 2016 Preliminary Competition!! And stay tuned for my Number 16-30 Runners-Up Gowns Post!

Let me begin with my No. 15...
15. Miss Universe Cayman Islands Monyque Brooks: Monique wore this canary yellow lace gown at the Preliminaries. The gown was designed by Indonesian designer Anaz Khairunnas of Anaz Couture. He also designed a gown that Miss Universe Indonesia wore at the Governors Ball Gala. I loved the color, the unusual style and drama--good drama! I also appreciated the fabulous back draped flourish.
Score: 8.90

14. Miss Universe Belize Rebecca Rath: Rebecca wore this blush colored gown with back overskirt. The style featured zebra-print like sequin detail on the column gown and the overskirt was iridescent organza. It was chic, fit beautifully and I thought was one of the Top 15 Best of the night.
Score: 8.99

13. Miss Universe Brazil Raissa Santana: Raissa is one of the strong favorites for the crown and her performance at the Miss Universe 2016 Preliminaries only solidified her standing. In terms of the gown, it was this very intricately sequined sheath. The gown featured an off-the-shoulder style and very expensive-looking flower embroidery that we only see from Couturiers like Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad; it was stunning! It wasn't designed by any of those designers but by Alexandre Dutra and Kudos for the amazing sequined applique work! He also designed the $19,000-costing gown that Leila Lopes wore when she won the Miss Universe 2011 title. With that said, I wasn't a fan of how she wore her hair; it was clunky and dated. But since her hair has nothing to do with the gown, she still made my Top 15.
Score: 9.15

12. Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina: Maxine wore this emerald green gown from Filipino designer Rhett Eala. Maxine has been wearing many of his designs for her time during the 65th Miss Universe. She's his muse, one would say. This gown featured a sequined top section and "Chicago: The Musical"-worthy fringed bottom half. the gown was not as dramatic or had the "Oh No She Didn't!" effect as some of the other contestants (Hello "Miss Venezuela" and "Miss Thailand"!), but it was stage-effective and looked nice on her. I have a feeling she might "bust out" with a more "You Go Girl!" gown for the Finals...we'll see.
Score: 9.25

11. Miss Aruba Charlene Leslie: I thought Charlene was one of the Top Standouts of the Miss Universe 2016 Preliminaries. She looked FABULOUS in both Swimsuit and Evening Gown. In terms of the latter, she wore this white column gown that featured bands of sequins juxtaposed with bands of satin. It fit her perfectly and she looked like a Top International Beauty Queen who already had her (Fill in the blank) crown; elegant, classy, on-point. Oh, and her chignon hairstyle was EVERYTHING "vintage" Miss Venezuela. Someone trained this woman right!
Score: 9.30

10. Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar: Andrea wore this golden gown from Colombian designer Alfredo Barraza. I have been reading some of the Pageant Fan Blogs on the web and many are thinking it was not a good pick (I'm being nice). Personally, I thought she looked beautiful and the gown was STUNNING. The strapless sequined applique design was fitted with a flared bottom section and featured scalloped stiffened tiers beginning at the hip. It was very Haute Couture in its silhouette and fabrication. Muy Bella.
Score: 9.45

Now, even with that...I still wished she would have worn THIS:

9. Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere: Iris wore this sunburst yellow sequined off-the-shoulder gown and she looked like a movie star from head to toe! I LOVED her side swept hair, her delicate accessories (just earrings and a bracelet)...her PERFECT choice of strappy shoes (Look Ladies: NO TACKY PLATFORM HEELS!!). The "Mermaid Lite" shaped gown fit beautifully, looked exquisitely made and stood out marvelously with that color. Definitely one of the BEST Gowns (and contestants) of the night!
Score: 9.55

8. Miss Universe Indonesia Kezia Warouw: Kezia wore this strapless gown for last night's Miss Universe 2016 preliminaries. She looked like an actress at the Cannes Red Carpet. I loved this gown for its simplicity and clean elegant silhouette.  It reminded me of a Couture creation from Armani Prive. It was actually designed by Indonesian designer Ivan Gunawan and featured a stiffened bustier and full skirt with high side slit and thousands of Swarovski crystals:

Close up Detail of Miss Universe Indonesia's Preliminaries gown

It was one of the best gowns and therefore made my Top 15 List.
Score: 9.55

7. Miss Universe India Roshmitha Harimurthy: The minute Roshmitha walked onto the stage in this red gown, I gasped; The gown was so elegant, beautifully made and perfect for her. The lipstick red silk crepe gown featured gorgeous bead work, side front slit, long sleeves and plunging neckline (but not too plunging). I loved the shape and especially the solid softly draped overskirt. In case you are wondering, it designed by "Project Runway" Season 14 designer Swapnil Shinde. Congrats to Swapnil for such a gorgeous design.
Score: 9.60

6. Miss Universe Jamaica Isabel Dalley: Isabel is one of the MOST BEAUTIFUL women of the Miss Universe 2016 pageant. She looked resplendent in this red sequin, tulle and feathered gown. The jeweled applique work was out of control gorgeous and the manner it was placed throughout the dress was strategically impressive. Normally, I might not been a fan of the plumage but I LOVED it; it was used delicately and like a quiet "exclamation point" for the dress. Perfection darlings.
Score: 9.65

5. Miss Universe Georgia Nuka Karalashvili: Nuka is a working print and runway model and well, if you had any doubt, all you had to do was witness her performance and entrance in the Miss Universe 2016 Preliminaries Evening Gown Competition. I LOVED her ivory gown so much that it made my Top 5. The dress featured multi-jeweled silver and blue sequins and paillettes--heavily beaded at the top but then delicately placed throughout the rest of the dress. It also had a cascade draped overskirt that was not overwhelming and worked seamlessly with the rest of the design. A GORGEOUS contestant wearing a GORGEOUS gown!
Score: 9.70

4. Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane: Chalita wore this original gown design from Thai designer Adhit Dhirakittiwat "Joe Surface". The minute she stepped on stage, Chalita got my attention with this dramatic Couture Runway-worthy style of a gown. It was a bit over the top, but just RIGHT over-the-top! I loved the silver applique over clear organza crinoline, the fitted halter-style bustier and exploding tulle netting back overskirt. This is the kind of gown that makes little boys dream of being A) Fashion Designer or B) Drag Beauty Queens (smile!)
Score: 9.75

I also loved that it reminded me a little bit of this...
Madonna in 1995 Atelier Versace Mario Testino ad

Now, speaking of Beauty Queen/Drag Queen Fabulousness...
3. Miss Universe Venezuela Mariam Habach: One word--WOW! Mariam--who is a BIG FAVORITE to win the crown--entered the stage in what first looked like a ballgown with a sequined top and feathered bottom skirt. Then...slowly but surely, she looked to the right and then to the left and VOILA: Time for the REVEAL darlings! : She unsnapped the feathered white/blue ombre shaded feathered skirt and...

With a twirl, showed the inner sequined column gown hiding underneath. It was a MAJAH Pageant Moment. And if you don't believe, go watch the Preliminaries and hear the "Oh No She Didn't" gasps and hootin' and clapping from the audience. This gown was designed by Venezuelan designer Nidal Nouaihed, who also created her National Costume. For all the sequins, feathers and THAT reveal...
Score: 9.80

2. Miss Universe Vietnam Le Hang: We're down to my Top 2 Favorite Gowns. At number 2, it's Miss Universe Vietnam. This gown was INCREDIBLE! The Mermaid shaped gown featured nude backing, silver sequin applique, fitted long sleeves, scooped and squared neckline and finally, a very dramatic train. She looked like the Queen of a COUNTRY and that anyone five feet close to her should bow down (I would!)--and that gown. Seriously, this needs to be in a fashion museum, like yesterday! In addition, it was very smart for her to do her hair sleek and pulled to the back, clean and chic and keep the accessories to almost nothing--except earrings. When you are wearing a gown like this...who needs anything else...except a crown perhaps?
Score: 9.90

1. Miss Universe Ukraine Alena Spodynyuk: I literally got up off my couch and started doing my own "pretend Pageant Gown Runway Walk" when Miss Universe Ukraine entered the stage with this red sequined silk gazar gown. First off, she looked GORGEOUS and reminded me of 2014's "Miss Universe Ukraine" and her well-chosen Zuhair Murad Haute Couture gown. The coral-like sequin detail was exquisite, the fit: perfection. I loved the slightly pouf'ed sleeves, open back and to top everything off, her hair and makeup were FLAWLESS. I'd swear this was another Zuhair Murad Couture gown but I couldn't find it in any of his collections (and trust me, I looked!). Maybe it's a knock-off and a VERY GOOD ONE at that! Whether it was a real Zuhair Murad or was still--hands down--THE BEST GOWN of 2016 Miss Universe Preliminary Competition.
Score: 9.95

**UP NEXT: My No.s 16-30 Runners-Up Evening Gowns of Miss Universe 2016 Preliminaries!!

14 Responses to "SASHES AND TIARAS.....65th Miss Universe Preliminary Competition EVENING GOWNS: Top 15 Best Gowns!"

Unknown said...

Miss Ukraine gown is from Ziad Nakad Couture

Unknown said...

Miss indonesia desinger by ivan gunawan of course he is indonesian, simple but glamour with 1000 swarovskib crystal.

Unknown said...

Việt Nam we so proud of you! Le Hang����

Unknown said...

Go Miss Universe Jamaica. Drop it pon them!

Remson Fatalla said...

No Great Britain? Why?

Brett Mann said...

Correction: The Zuhair Murad Haute Couture gown you're referring to was worn by Miss Ukraine 2014, 2nd runner-up to Paulina Vega, NOT by last year's Miss Ukraine as you stated.

Unknown said...

i love gown jamaica

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Miss Vietnam's gown is from Vietnamese designer Chung Thanh Phong.
Miss France's gown is also from another Vietnamese designer Hoang Hai.
Miss Ukraine's gown is from Ziad Nakad Haute Couture Autumn Winter 2016. He does not have his own style, just a combination of Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry Nick but you included certain countries ONLY to satisfy people from those countries because you know they visit your blog A LOT. You always do that, sorry, but it's kinda obvious.

Nick Verreos said...

Dear Анатолий Вечканов-
Top countries have top contestants that usually equate to top gowns. I pick the gowns I think are the best from my fashion design perspective. If I was only choosing based on readership I would have obviously included USA and not countries such as Jamaica and Cayman Islands! But thanks for reading my blog :)

Nick Verreos said...

Great information Vuong Nguyen! Thanks for including it here!

Nick Verreos said...

You are ABSOLUTELY right Brett Mann! Thanks for the correction and for reading my blog!

Unknown said...

Agree with you.. I thought it was one from Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad