SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Universe 2019 Preliminaries: My TOP 15 EVENING GOWNS!

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Gown Fab--Miss Universe 2019 contestants during the Miss Universe 2019 Preliminaries Evening Gown Competition (L to R) Miss Universe Singapore, Miss Universe Philippines, Miss Universe South Africa, Miss Universe Indonesia, Miss Universe Puerto Rico Madison Anderson--Miss Universe 2019 Preliminary Competition, Atlanta Georgia

TONIGHT is the Finals of Miss Universe 2019...but on Friday, the Miss Universe 2019 Preliminary Competition took place and part of this was the Evening Gown Competition. 90 contestants from all over the world showed off their best Evening Gown looks. To be honest, it was a bit of a tackylicious mess (as a whole) with lots of bright colored cheap-looking sequined dresses or lots of silver and gold slit-up-to-the-cha-cha looks that were a bit off-the-rack-looking. I was disappointed. I almost felt as if we had gone backward--evening gown-wise--and were in the late 80's/early 90's Beauty Pageant time. But...within all those questionable taste level dresses, there were some standouts.

More Gown Pretty--Miss Universe 2019 contestants (L to R) Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon, Miss Universe Japan Ako Kamo, Miss Universe France Maeva Coucke, Miss Universe Croatia Mia Rkman, Miss Universe Honduras Rosemary Arauz--Miss Universe 2019 Preliminary Competition, Atlanta Georgia

Here are my TOP 15 BEST GOWNS of the 2019 Miss Universe Preliminary Competition:
1. Miss Universe South Africa Zozibini Tunzi--STUNNING. A breath of fresh gown air, after so many too-heavily-beaded cheap polyester-looking tacky neon-colored gowns. When Zozibini came out in this white gown with matching cape, it was like a Gwyneth Paltrow-Tom Ford moment at the Oscars. She looked elegant, divine, elegant, regal-like. And to top it all off, the cape (whose outer layer is white velvet) featured a gorgeous sequined black-and-white printed Xhosa-inspired patterning motif that just about made me swoon. This was Gown Perfection, custom-designed by South Africa's Biji-La Maison de Couture.

2. Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados--At No. 2 is this golden gown inspired by the Philippine Eagle designed by Filipino Designer Cary Santiago. This was the same inspiration for her National Costume, which was also designed by Santiago. The gown featured a fabric manipulated textured design, a fit-and-flare strapless silhouette with bird-and-wing-like details at the bust, and pleated lower half, creating a dramatic bottom skirt effect. This was one of the rare Miss Universe Preliminary Gowns that stood out for uniqueness and Haute Couture-like drama--and more importantly, didn't look cheap and tacky. For eagle-eyed pageant fans, they recognized that this was a gold version of what Gazini wore when she competed for Binibining Pilipinas, Miss Universe Philippines back in June:

 Gazini Ganados during the Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2019 pageant, wearing a pink Cary Santiago gown


3. Miss Universe France Maeva Coucke--This was my No. 3 favorite gown of the night, worn by Miss Universe France. The white see-through gown was striking, chic and was on another level of all the other see-through sequined dresses seen on display. It was designed by Lebanese Designer Ziad Nakad and featured hand-beaded jeweled sequins, feathers, and dangling paillettes. It fit beautifully and was very Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week!

4. Miss Universe Croatia Mia Rkman--One of the rare black gowns at the Miss Universe 2019 Preliminaries (in a sea of pink, blue, silver, gold)  this one worn by Miss Universe Croatia was a standout for sure. The gown featured a see-through netting base with heavy black sequined applique and multilayered tiers of organza creating a fabulously structured, dramatic shape. While her exaggerated hair bun was a bit TOO MUCHEEY, it didn't affect my gown critique.

5. Miss Universe Colombia Gabriela Tafur--Looking sublime, gorgeous in this silver sequined gown, Miss Universe Colombia was GOWN PERFECTION. This was a simple design that did the job of having stage presence, making her look elegant and modern. I recognized the Alfredo Barraza design since the Colombian designer is known for these styles of dresses; he does them VERY WELL! Once again, in a sea of off-the-rack polyester sequined dresses, this one stood out for looking expensive, well done and on another level.

6. Miss Universe Honduras Rosemary Arauz--In a gown by designer Lucia Rodriguez, Miss Universe Honduras made a strong impression on stage during the Miss Universe 2019 Preliminaries. The dress featured vertical silver sequined details laid on top of the silver iridescent fabric. The column gown fit her perfectly and included a dramatic (but not too dramatic) matching cape. Her slicked-back hair, clean makeup, and earrings added an air of regalness and were the right finishing touches. Whoever her "Glam Squad" team was, they did an excellent job overall!

7. Miss Universe Puerto Rico Madison Anderson--This contestant is in it to WIN IT! When Madison came out SLITHERING in this gold sequined gown, she might as well have ended the Evening Gown competition right then and there. I thought the gown, which was designed by Luis Antonio, was PERFECTION! The way the gold mirrored sequins were placed on the gown, as well as the UBER SEXY column shape, reminded me of the "Good Ol' Days" of the Miss Venezuela Pageant Alta Moda evening gown shows. Muy Bien Madison & Luis!


8. Miss Universe Malaysia Shweta Sekhon--Shweta wore this blush colored gown designed by Carven Ong and it was quite a stunner. The strapless design featured a blush-colored netting base with gold and silver jeweled appliques and had a side front slit and side-hip panels. It was a directional style for an evening gown, making it look more "High Fashion Runway" than "Beauty Pageant", which I liked. I wasn't a fan of the shoes or jewelry but other than that, I really liked the gown.

9. Miss Indonesia Frederika Alexis Cull--One word: Wow. Frederika took my breath away in this one-shoulder red and black sequined gown from Indonesian designer Tex Saverio. The design was inspired by the "Spirit of the Phoenix" and fire and featured a side-front slit as well as a shoulder "fall" drape. She looked Cher-like and ready to present an Academy Award...or get one herself! 

10. Miss Universe Singapore Mohana Prabha--DRAMAAAAA!!!! Miss Universe Singapore is definitely one of the Top Fashionistas of the 90 contestants, always bringing the FASHIOUUUUN!!! Here, for the Miss Universe 2019 Preliminary Evening Gown Competition, she slayed in this white sequined gown from Michael Cinco. The gown was part of a special collection done for the Ballet Philippines Gala (lower photo above) and featured a fitted column gown with dramatic "Elizabethan" kimono-like sleeves. She looked like a walking Couture Snowflake.

11. Miss Universe Japan Ako Kamo--Miss Universe Japan looked fabulous in this red fit-and-flare gown featuring black sequined applique and dramatic shoulder feathers. I loved all the details up top which framed her torso beautifully, especially with her hairstyle and makeup. She looked like a Bond Girl in the next James Bond film!

12. Miss Universe Mexico Sofia Aragon--Designed by Mexican Designer Fher Santos, this was another gown featuring dramatic sleeves. I thought she looked quite gorgeous in this white sequined design, giving absolute drama and queen-like presence on the stage. The dress was made to perfection, as I appreciated the finished hem lining (which you see at the lower middle part of this photo).


13. Miss Universe Bangladesh Shirin Akter Shela--I have to admit that Shirin is one of my top favorites of the 90 contestants and I was happy to see that she did not disappoint when it came to her evening gown choice for the Miss Universe 2019 Preliminaries. She looked elegant, sweet and modern in this off-the-shoulder nude-like gown with gold sequined swirls. The dress featured a nude-colored back cape to add a little bit of drama. I liked the styling--her hair, makeup, and great shoes. Well done Shirin!

14. Miss Universe Bahamas Tarea Sturrup--I actually liked this barely-there dress worn by Miss Universe Bahamas Tarea Sturrup. It was fun, super-sexy and made me notice her! The design featured a nude tulle base with flower-like sequin appliques covering her upper torso and then loosely sewn (or glued, perhaps) at her lower half. She looked very Cher (is this a Theme in Evening Gowns??!!). One complaint: Those shoes. No.

Lastly...
15. Miss Universe Vietnam Hoang Thuy--Speaking of SUPER SEXY and barely-there dresses...Miss Universe Vietnam gets my "This Gal Has Got Nerve!" and "THE BODY" to pull this off! In a gown by Vietnamese Designer Nguyen Cong Tri, Hoang slithered her way down the runway stage in this white chiffon design with nude tulle one-sleeved top featuring flower-like sequined appliques. This might as well have been an "Evening Swimsuit" since like 90% of her body was showing. I loved it! Especially for the fact that she was OWNING that stage and had a look of "What are Y'all Looking At?" You are looking at THE BODY of this year's Miss Universe, darlings! J Lo, you might want to get in touch with this designer ASAP!

...and Don't Forget about my "The Pageant Coloring Book" where you can create your VERY OWN Evening Gown Competition using my Fashion Illustrations! Click HERE to Purchase:

1 Response to "SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Universe 2019 Preliminaries: My TOP 15 EVENING GOWNS!"

Jehnsen said...

Hey Nick! I was curious as to why you did not post a review for Binibining Pilipinas 2019. I was waiting for it the whole time! Anyways, kudos to your insightful reviews, I've always waited for it every MU and Binibini edition