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Gown Throwback: A Not-So-Fashion-Exciting Evening Gown Top 10 at Miss USA 2017 Finals--Mandalay Bay events Center Las Vegas

Last night were the finals of Miss USA 2017 in Mandalay Bay Events Center at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Las Vegas. Fifty one contestants representing all 50 U.S. states plus District of Columbia competed for the top crown and a chance to represent the USA at the Miss Universe 2017 pageant. And the winner was...

Back-to-Back: Miss USA 2016 (and former Miss District of Columbia) Deshauna Barber crowns Miss District of Columbia USA Kara McCullough as Miss USA 2017--Mandalay Bay Events Center Las Vegas

Miss District of Columbia USA Kara McCullough! Kara is 25 years old, stands 5' 10" (178 M) and was born in Naples Italy. Because of her father--who worked in the U.S. Marine Corps--she was raised in various places including Sicily, South Korea, Japan and Hawaii. Oh, and did I mention she's also a RADIOCHEMIST! Now, Kara might be interested in the study of radioactive materials but she's also no stranger to beauty pageants: She was 1st runner-up at the Miss District of Columbia USA beauty pageant TWICE, in 2015 and 2016, where she was the first runner-up to last year's Miss USA, Deshauna Barber.

Beauty and Brains: Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough

Kara caused a little bit of controversy in the Twittersphere with her answer to a question regarding health care in which she said that it should be a privilege as opposed to a right for all U.S. citizens. But this blog isn't about that, it's all about THE GOWNS! And the controversy here is how MEH the Top 10 gowns were...

Sequins and Slits: Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough--Miss USA 2017 Finals, Mandalay Bay Events Events Center Las Vegas

Honestly, this was ONE OF THE MOST LACKLUSTER Evening Gown showings at a Miss USA Finals in a LOOONG time! They were dated, semi-Pageant Betty and in terms of FASHION, or fashion-forward...look elsewhere darlings 'cause you wouldn't find it here. It was as if we had regressed back to the late 1990's/early 2000's in terms of Gown designs. Only ONE of my Top Ten Best Gowns from the Preliminaries made the Final 10 and if that wasn't enough, two of my "UH Oh/Worst" picks made the final Top Ten (Yikes!)

So...I guess, the evening gowns had little-to-no effect on the judges in choosing the 10 semifinalists, which I suppose is fine, since all 10 semifinalists seemed to be some of the most intelligent women in the contest and, in addition, perfect representations of the tagline "Confidently Beautiful". Well, even though the style (or lack thereof) of the contestants Evening Gowns might not have been important to the judges, they are still important to me here on my "Sashes And Tiaras" blog!

So here's my RECAP of the Ten Semifinalist's Gowns--from Worst to Best:

Miss Minnesota USA Meridith Gould: Meridith did an OUTSTANDING job last night at Miss USA 2017. She had a strong stage presence and in addition, answered the questions perfectly and eloquently. No misstep there. Oh, and she looked like a toned Goddess in Swimsuit. It's her gown that I thought was problematic. Back in my recap of the Preliminary Competition, I placed her gown as one of my least favorite and that sentiment didn't change in the Finals. She revealed that this white organza, tulle and applique design was a combination of TWO gowns that she liked. Well, kids, that might have been the problem: It looked it. The top was this sequined bustier/leotard with neckband and Breast-a-licious front cut-out and then the bottom were pants AND a matching overskirt. It was A LOT to say the least and really overpowered her. I get the "J Lo-on-the-Latin Billboard Awards Red Carpet" look she was going for (very popular with Lebanese designers like Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab) but it was a Too-Mucheey mess. On a good note, she didn't wear those tacky "Stripper" platform heels. On a not-so-good note: NUDE??? Really??!! With a WHITE gown?? 

Miss New York USA Hannah Lopa: Red-haired Hannah is next on my list of least favorite gowns for the 10 Miss USA 2017 semifinalists. I'll start with the positive: I liked the emerald green sequins over nude tulle but...she was almost-nude underneath! I could literally see her PANTIES! (Yikes!). Maybe I'm too old-school but I just don't want to see panties. I get the see-through style but it really isn't supposed to be really SEE-THROUGH (it should have been lined to the bottom, in a nude colored lining of course). And then, if the see-through-ness of that wasn't distracting enough...

We get SMOOSHED-BOOB Syndrome with a waaaay too revealing neckline. She's too gorgeous too wear something so "Real Housewives of Atlanta"-like. Period.

Miss Alaska USA Alyssa London: First off, Congratulations to Miss Alaska USA Alyssa London, who was a definite spoiler and surprise in making the Top 10; quite an accomplishment all on it's own. The gown was designed by herself with the help of Joey Galon Atelier. Galon had quite a night for himself since he not only created Miss Alaska USA's gown but also Miss Hawaii USA and...

Outgoing Miss USA Deshauna Barber's beautiful lavender gown (LOVE!)

I will say, of the 3 gowns, Miss Alaska's was the least successful however. I appreciated Alyssa honoring her Native American/Tlingit heritage with the ceremonial robe aspect to her gown. The sequin work and images of Tlingit patterns and whale's tail were quite impressive, but I didn't think that the reveal was effective. This was VERY hard to pull off from a technical design perspective, and the robe that transitioned into a train ended up being clunky and dragged the look down. In addition, the dress itself was a bit "been there, done that" Pageant Gown. But kudos to Alyssa for showing her Alaska Native/Native American heritage in her evening gown! 

Miss Missouri USA Bayleigh Dayton: There were several issues I had with this gown. First, the style was dated. I am also not a fan of those "pick-up's" as they are called (the horizontal folding and pleating and picking-up of the fabric). The Pick-up detail + the satin = Prom 1995. In addition to all this, the gown was just too heavy looking; she looked like a red swirling Christmas ornament and/or bell. I just want to see a little FASHION, a little fashion-forward-ness, a little inspiration from the Haute Couture shows of Zuhair Murad, Elie Saab, something!

Miss California USA India Williams: When I saw this white sequined gown on the beautiful Miss California USA in the Preliminaries, I was not a fan. I was disappointed. India is so pretty, so tall (six feet!) and statuesque and the gown was too Miss Teen USA "Sweet" and Prom-like. She needed something more "Runway Fab" in my eyes. The neckband was useless, the crystal waist trim was too low, and overall, this gown just wasn't a WOW. If she had worn something like this, I would have jumped from my couch and given her a standing gown ovation...

Miss Falcon Jennifer Saa at Miss Venezuela 2014--But, alas, I just stayed seated bored to tears.

Miss New Jersey USA Chhavi Verg: Seriously kids, what is happening with these women picking the most boring traditional oh-so-meh gowns??? If there was one contestant who could bust out in a fab Runway-like gown, it would have been the exotic Chhavi Verg, Miss New Jersey USA. She looked nice and very safe. And maybe that was the point. If so, she gets a TEN for that, but this choice of a black sequined halter gown was just nice, and that's about it. I would have loved to have seen her in something more like this:

Zuhair Murad Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014--Notice that I'm not even referencing anything recent; these gowns are from 2014! The women (and their pageant glam squad) need to be a bit more creative with their gown choices and pageant gown designers/manufacturers need to start getting "inspired" by gowns like the ones above. ASAP.

Let's just get to some of the better ones from the Top Ten:
Miss Tennessee USA Allee-Sutton Hethcoat: Allee-Sutton wore one of my Top Ten Favorite Gowns back in the Preliminary Competition earlier in the week. And she wore the same one for the Finals last night. In terms of style or silhouette, there was nothing really Earth-shattering Fashion Diva about it, but it looked beautiful nonetheless, especially the fabrication. The halter-style gown fit her well and the sequin-over-nude fabric looked expensive and nice. From head to toe, this was a perfect Miss USA look. She looked like a top actress walking the red carpet of a top awards show. 

Miss South Carolina USA Megan Gordon: Megan is so beautiful--she reminds me of a Somali or Ethiopian model like Fatima Siad or Kadra Ahmed Omar. While I also wished her choice of gown would have been more runway fab and directional, this royal blue design wasn't a bad choice. The gown featured flower sequin applique, a nice v-neckline (not too revealing) and slightly dramatic overskirt. The style was Pageant Predictable but I think what I really liked was the strong color. It was impacting on stage and at least looked more of this century as opposed to the past.

Miss Illinois USA  Whitney Wandland: Whitney was quite a star at last night's Miss USA 2017 Finals. At only 5' 7" tall (compared to the glamazon heights of Miss California USA and Miss Minnesota USA!) but I have to tell you she exuded the confidence, air and SUPERFAB runway walk that made her look like a six foot tall Supermodel! I also liked her choice of this gold sequined fringe gown. Many people have made comparisons to the gown last year's Miss USA Deshauna Barber wore to win the crown:

It was gold and had that "Liza With a Z"-like sequined fringe. The style and golden color was impacting for Miss Illinois USA and she WORKED it on the stage. If I had to pick my favorites (I didn't have many in these Top 10), this one would have been up there.

Miss District of Columbia USA Kara McCullough: The eventual winner of the Miss USA 2017 crown wore this white and sequined gown for the Finals Evening Gown Competition. This was one of the better dresses in my view of the Top 10 Semifinalists. The gown featured gold and silver jeweled sequin top and a white flowing skirt with side-front slit. The gown was very effective onstage and Kara utilized the silhouette and that slit very well. The colors were also quite nice for Kara and her skin tone. I also like the bit of Cleopatra Drama in the overall look. Again, this was not a super fashion-forward gown but it wasn't tacky, it wasn't revealing too much cleavage and it was a good choice for her.

If I did have some criticism...(Take a guess what that could be?)...YEP: Those shoes! Putty colored platform heels are NOT--under any circumstances--the right shoe choice when wearing a white and golden gown. Come to think of it, I'm not sure when there is a good style time to wear putty colored platform pumps. Were there no gold strappy (NON PLATFORM!) shoes available?? Oh well. Who cares. She won!!

Congratulations to Kara and to the Miss District of Columbia USA organization for back-to-back Miss USA wins!! Now, STEP AWAY from the Putty COLORED Platform Heels!

2 Responses to "SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss USA 2017 Finals: The EVENING GOWN RECAP!"

Hamster Nice said...
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Hamster Nice said...

Btw, Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber's purple lavender gown is the same gown worn by Miss USA Brittany Ann Payne (California) in Miss Earth 2015 in Vienna, Austria where she ended up 3rd runner-up (Miss Fire 2015) to Miss Earth 2015 Philippines' Angelia Ong (Iloilo representing Manila).