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SASHES AND TIARAS.....65th Miss Universe Finals EVENING GOWNS Recap!

Sequins, Satins and See-Through: Miss Universe 2016 Top 6 in Evening Gowns--Miss Universe 2016 Finals, Manila Philippines

This past Sunday night (Monday morning in the Philippines), a new "Miss Universe" was crowned. This was the 65th Miss Universe Pageant and even though we are a full month into 2017, it was "Miss Universe 2016" as opposed to "Miss Universe 2017" lots of news outlets and blogs keep saying, incorrectly. Now...who won?? 

La Belle de France: The new Miss Universe--Miss France Iris Mittenaere--gets crowned by outgoing Miss Universe Pia Wiutzbach--Manila Philippines

The gorgeous representative from France, Iris Mittenaere beat out 85 other contestants for the top crown. The 24 year-old, 5' 8" (1.73 M) tall beauty is a native from Lille France and represented Nord-Pas-De-Calais at her own national "Miss France 2016" pageant. Iris represented her nation with "Showgirl" pride donning a actual "Folies Bergere" sequined and feathered boa ensemble as her National Costume...

From Miss Universe--Iris Mittenaere "Miss France" during the "Miss Universe 2016" Pageant, Manila Philippines

She's a dental student at the Lille 2 University of Health and Law and supposedly, she wants to become a dentist after she graduates. If she ever does become a dentist, she might just end up being the most popular one in France! Well, for now, she will have to put that aspiration on hold since she will now move to NYC where the Miss Universe Organization is headquartered and spend a year traveling around the world.

A Big Deal for Europe: In winning the "Miss Universe" title, Iris became the second woman from France to win the coveted international title after Christiane Martel won Miss Universe 1953, breaking a 63-year title drought. Iris is also the first European winner since 2002, when Oxana Fedorova, who was from Russia, won that year's "Miss Universe", though she was later dethroned and replaced by Panama's Justine Pasek, her First Runner-up.

And the Winner Is....(L) Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pellesier and (R) Iris Mittenaere--Miss Universe 2016 Finals, Manila Philippines

And if that wasn't enough, the last time before then that a European beauty had won "Miss Universe" was in 1990, when Norway's Mona Grundt won (I happened to be there in Los Angeles attending that year's Miss Universe!). Miss Universe hasn't been known as a beauty pageant to favor the European ladies, and instead was known as more Latina-centric with 6 of the last ten winners coming from Latin American nations/territories.

And now, let's discuss the GOWNS!!!
Gown Gorgeous: Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wutrzbach (L) crowning Miss Universe 2016 , France's Iris Mittenaere--Miss Universe 2016 Finals, Manila Philippines

If you have been keeping up with my "Sashes and Tiaras" Blog here, I've been very busy covering several of the 65th Miss Universe "Gown Events". Luckily for us Pageant fans, there were lots of events for the contestants to play "dress up" during their almost month-long stay in the Philippines: I commented on the glorious Terno Fashion Show HERE, Governors Ball Dinner Fashion Show HERE, as well as the Preliminary Competition HERE and HERE. But now, it's time to discuss the gowns at the Finals.

Before I discuss the Top 9 Finalist's gowns, I have to talk about the stunning Pia Wurtzbach, the outgoing "Miss Universe" and what she wore:
Pink Pia: In the beginning of the Final Live Telecast, Pia Wurtzbach "Miss Universe 2015" was introduced by host Steve Harvey and they had some semi-uncomfortable-but-fun banter regarding his hick-up from last year (which I was present for in Las Vegas!). More importantly, she made her entrance in this gorgeous bubblegum pink strapless gown from Sherri Hill. I absolutely LOVED this gown, its shape and those tri-folded dramatic side drapes. The fit was on-point and so was her hair and makeup. It's so funny how outgoing beauty queens (almost) always look so much more "Style Refined" and less "Pageant Betty" after spending a year as Miss Universe and when they are giving up their crown; it's like they've been style educated during the entire time. This was a definite Gown Winner!

Ballgown Pia: Another gown winner was this very impressive dress Pia wore in the Finale when she had to do her Final Walk and crown her successor. She chose this royal blue (same color as the gown she won in last year) super-sized ballgown from Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco, known for his UBER Couture creations. The gown featured meters and meters of sequined fabric--the sequined applique done by hand of course--and pointed bustline...

Universal Ballgown: Once again, I thought she looked amazing and this was a beautiful choice. She obviously wanted to make a grand entrance in her Final Walk and in addition, this is a fabulous "Goodbye" as well.

And now, onto the Top 9 Finalist's Gowns:
Sequined Beauties: (L to R) Miss Haiti, Miss Thailand, Miss Philippines, Miss Colombia, Miss Kenya, and Miss France--Miss Universe 2016 Finals, Manila Philippines

Golden Top Three: All top three finalists wore shimmering golden gowns (a coincidence?)-- (L to R) Miss Colombia, Miss France and Miss Haiti--Miss Universe 2016 Finals, Manila Philippines

Let's start with the Winner's Gown:
Miss Universe France (and eventual Miss Universe 2016) Iris Mittenaere: Iris wore this almost see-through shimmering gown from Vietnamese designer Hoang Hai. I thought she looked stunning in this creation that featured silver and gold sequins on a nude tulle base with long sleeves. It fit her to perfection and was "Miss Universe" right! She also wore one of my favorite gowns of the Preliminaries--a yellow design--created by Hoang Hai as well.
Score: 9.89

Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane: Chalita wore MY FAVORITE GOWN of the night of the Top 9 contestants--this one shoulder black design. When she stepped onto the stage for the Evening Gown competition, she SHUT IT DOWN! I loved the Haute Couture drama, the simplicity of the silhouette, the overt homage to traditional Thai dresses...and that back cape was EVERYTHING! She looked like a DIVA, from head to toe!
Score: 9.95

Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar: Andrea was my next favorite in this strapless golden gown from Colombian designer Alfredo Barraza. She also wore this for the Preliminaries and I put her as one of my Top 15 Favorites for that. The color was perfect for her and I loved the elaborate and beautifully placed jeweled appliques. I also liked the scalloped tiered details. It was dramatic, queen-like and one of the best gowns!
Score: 9.50 

Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier: Raquel wore my next favorite gown of the Top 9 in this golden design by young Colombian designer Diego Fernando Marin Mendoza. I thought she looked like a shimmering column in this gown--all six feet tall of her (and more with those heels!). I liked the scale-like design, crystal bodice and nude illusion panel. The interest at the shoulders made for a really nice 3/4 shot--from waist up. This was a non-fussy gown that still was "Pageant Right".
Score: 9.00

Miss USA Deshauna Barber: Deshauna wore this red sequined gown for the Finals, created by Sherri Hill, of course. This gown was different from what she wore for the preliminaries and I thought slightly better than that one. It just oozed a little more "Sexy Glamour", fit her nicely and the nude illusion color was on-point with her skin coloring.
Score: 8.90 
But part of me still thinks she should have worn the same gown she wore at the "Miss USA" Preliminaries:
Deshauna Barber "Miss District of Columbia" and "Miss USA" at the Miss USA 2016 Preliminaries

Miss Universe Mexico Kristal Silva: Kristal wore this silver gown for the Miss Universe 2016 Finals--the same style she wore for the Preliminaries, where I placed her in my Top 30 of that Evening Gown Competition. I liked the sequined applique and how they were heavier at the hem. It was a beautiful gown and right for her. We see less and less of these super high slits (they've been replaced by see-through gowns I guess!) and while it was a nice change to see one, I wished it wasn't sooooo super high.
Score: 8.50

Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina: Maxine wore this strawberry red gown from Filipino designer Rhett Eala. Rhett designed most (if not all!) of her eveningwear worn during the 65th Miss Universe. The gown featured a heavily beaded bodice in silver crystals that then cascaded down the center front panel--from heavy to light. the dress had a fit-and-flare silhouette. I liked the dress but it just wasn't "Miss Universe" impacting enough; it seemed more right for "Miss Teen (fill in the blank)" as opposed to the TOP TOP Universal Queen. I don't know, I just wanted more Couture! More Drama! (See Miss Thailand)
Score: 8.45 

Miss Universe Kenya Mary Esther Were: Mary Esther wore this red "Mermaid" style for the Final Night--a change from what she wore in preliminaries. While this was a much better choice than her other gown (also red!), and I liked the dramatic godet panels at the bottom, the "heart"-shaped illusion panel in front was cheesy to say the least and so un-Couture. Once again, I would have rather seen a white column one shoulder DIVA Grecian-Goddess like gown for her. This felt a little Barbie-like--which I guess makes sense since she said she was known as the "Black Barbie Doll" during her time in the Philippines.

Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell: Lastly, Miss Universe Canada wore my least favorite of the Top 9 Gowns on Final Night with this white "mermaid" style. The dress featured a super big "Mermaid" bottom section, fitted torso with sequins and applique, sweetheart neckline, nude illusion and (if that wasn't enough!), a neckpiece. It was A LOT, overwhelming, kind of Tacky-licious and waaaaay too 1980s Pageant Betty. These women have to think "Will this be appropriate for the Oscars Red Carpet?" And if the answer is "Helllssss No!", then re-think your gown choice. On a good note, Siera's hair and makeup (accentuating those Elizabeth Taylor-like eyes!) was perfect!
Score: 7.00

Congratulations to the new Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere from France!!!

Stay tuned for my BEST (and Uh Oh!) of 2016 (and early 2017) PAGEANT GOWNS Blog!!! WHO...will make my List??? 

Au Revoir for now!

8 Responses to "SASHES AND TIARAS.....65th Miss Universe Finals EVENING GOWNS Recap!"

Lili said...

Thailand was my favorite, too. I have to admit that I LOATHE gowns with sheer skirts, so I was really disappointed in France's gown.

liyabanana said...

I heard that there was some drama surrounding Maxine's gown: she had a zipper malfunction early morning of the pageant so they had to change her gown! She was supposed to wear this gown by Cherry veric apparently-

Arjan said...

I'm still hoping for a post about the worst dresses during the preliminary competition of this years Miss Universe Pageant.

jose manalo said...

Post the worst gown in miss univerze

auleleilucky said...

nick you were mentioned on Thai tv

superjong said...

i love all your reviews nick!!! stay fab!

Lanz16 said...

Hi Nick! The one who designed Miss Kenya's gown is a Filipino designer Benj Leguiab-IV .
Just a info to add to your blog entry ;)

Here's the designer's FB account

kenneth r jackman said...

I liked the gown Venezuela wore in preliminaries but thought the big "revile" skirt was tacky. BUT the gown she had on during the crowning of MU was UGLY!!! Blue and white beaded fringe...... Yikes!