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Best in Gown--(L to R) Michelle Dee, Miss Universe Philippines, Diana Silva, Miss Venezuela, Karla Guilfu, Miss Universe Puerto Rico, Isabella Garcia-Manzo, Miss Universe El Salvador, Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Universe Nicaragua (and Miss Universe 2023)--72nd Miss Universe Finals

This past Saturday was the finals of the 72nd Miss Universe pageant, held in San Salvador, El Salvador. Out of the 84 contestants from all over the world, this year's pageant featured MANY firsts: There were two transgender contestants (Netherlands and Portugal), a curvy contestant (Nepal), two mothers (Colombia and Guatemala), the first contestant from Pakistan, the first black woman to represent Spain AND...the first time the country of Nicaragua has won the top title. 

Universal Beauty--Miss Universe Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios, gets crowned by last year's winner, R'Bonney Gabriel from USA--72nd Miss Universe Pageant

On that last note, Miss Universe Nicaragua, Sheynnis Palacios, bested the 83 other contestants taking home the final crown. Palacios is 23 years old, stands 5' 11" tall, and has a B.A. in Mass Communication. She is not a novice to beauty pageants, having won Miss Teen Nicaragua 2016 and placed in the Top 20 of Miss Teen Universe. Palacios also won the Miss World Nicaragua 2020 title and went on to compete in the Miss World 2021 pageant. 

Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Universe Nicaragua wearing her National Costume, the Zanate, a long-tailed blackbird abundant in Nicaragua--72nd Miss Universe Pageant

Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Universe 2023

Now, let's discuss THE EVENING GOWNS!
Sequined Ladies--During the Finals, the TOP 10 contestants competed in the Evening Gown portion of the contest, wearing their choice of gowns. Let's discuss my LIST from 1-10 of the gowns worn by this year's TOP 10. 

Let's begin with my TOP FAVORITE gown, from Miss Universe Phillippines:
1. Michelle Dee, PHILIPPINES--Michelle wore my top pick of the TOP 10 gowns, in this black stunner. The design featured a sheer nude illusion upper section highlighted by black jet sequins which then was finished off with a black side draped skirt showcasing a high side "slit". 

The design was a tribute to Apo Whang-Od, who is considered the last and oldest mambabatok (tattoo artist) of the Kalinga ethnic group. She is an icon known for preserving the rich cultural heritage of indigenous tattoo art. The gown was designed by Mark Bumgarner.

2. Diana Silva, VENEZUELA--Diana wore this gown for the Preliminary Competition, and while lots of contestants changed their evening gowns for the Finals, Diana decided to keep it the same (at the Preliminaries, she wore it with a feathered "Opera Coat" which she didn't include here). The shimmery design featured cascading layers of crystal fringe layered over a nude sequined base and was inspired by Venezuela's Angel Falls. It was a stunning gown designed by Venezuelan designer Richard Ramirez Castro.

3. Karla Guilfu, PUERTO RICO--Karla wore this strapless violet-hued gown featuring a nude illusion base covered in jeweled crystals. The look was finished off with a matching sequined shoulder-and-neck piece with falling crystal fringe. It was designed by Angel Guzman.

4. Isabella Garcia-Manzo, EL SALVADOR--At # 4, I have Miss Universe El Salvador and this white Grecian Goddess-style gown. I loved this for the fact that it didn't look like everyone else's (nude-and-sequins gown!) and it was chic, fashionable, and suitable for any "Red Carpet". The gown featured a gorgeous draped detail, exposed midriff, and stunning sequined trim.

5. Sheynnis Palacios, NICARAGUA--Designed by Venezuelan designer Nidal Nouaihed, this gown--worn by the eventual winner of the top prize!--was a beautiful VERY Miss Venezuela-type gown. It ticked off all the boxes of that perfect "Pageant Gown": The white colored sequined fit-to-flare shape and style, the horsehair at the bottom, the intricate jeweled off-the-shoulder neckline and bust details...oh, and of course, the DIVA back satin cape. It was Pageant Queen Drama! All she needed was the crown. 

Of note, this was a gown change from the preliminaries--for that, she wore this one above which was UBER SEXY!

6. Camila Escribens, PERU--Camila also changed her gown from what she wore in the preliminaries (she wore a sequined nude-and-yellow dress). For the finals she wore this turquoise-and-amethyst sequins-and-nude gown. Designed by Peruvian designer Jose Zafra of Zafra Couture, the dress was sexy and followed the trend of these nude-and-sequins dresses the pageant girls LOVE. I liked the gorgeous crystal work and undulating straps over the shoulder.

7. Anntonia Porsild, THAILAND--Anntonia probably takes the award for "Most Nude of the Nude Pageant Dresses", in this design, created by Thai gown brand Myriad Grand Monde and Designer Thinthananpachr Chantajaroenpon. The look consisted of, yes, a nude tulle base covered in crystals. More specifically, lots of the silver crystals were in the form of stars. The inspiration for the gown was the Stars in the Universe (Awwww!). It was quite a dress and most certainly, you had to have quite the body to pull it off...and Annotnia did.

8. Moraya Wilson, AUSTRALIA--Moraya also wore a nude-and-silver crystal gown but this time, it wasn't as nude as what the other women wore (at least there was that!). This gown, designed by Australian bridal designer Alin Le' Kal, was inspired by his "Eleonora" style featuring a perfectly fitting mermaid shape in tulle, with under corset and hand-beaded crystals throughout. It was probably the most "traditional" gown of the Top 10, but still quite pretty.

9. Camila Avela, COLOMBIA--Stop me if you have heard this before: It is a nude sequined gown! In my No. 9 (out of 10), is Miss Universe Colombia in this fit-and-flare strapless nude-white gown completely covered in hand-placed crystals. The design featured sequins framing the strapless neckline and boned inside to create the perfect upper body cinched fit. The dress, which she also wore for the Preliminaries, was designed by Colombian designer John Lecksell.

10. Athenea Perez, SPAIN--In my last place, is the beautiful Miss Universe Spain, Athenea Perez in this neon green sequined dress. The gown, designed by Puerto Rican designer Jose Karlo, continued on with the nude-and-sequined trend just like most of the Top 10 Semi-Finalists. The gown featured greenish-yellow crystals that climbed her body and looked like beautiful ocean coral. I liked the color and yes, I've seen this nude/sequins style before, but my real problem was the obvious visibility of her panties; it was just distracting, to be honest. For the Preliminaries, Athenea wore this...

Which I LOVED--and she probably should have worn it again for the Finals.

That's a wrap! On my Miss Universe 2023 Finals and Evening Gowns Recap! 


Montika said...

If you had told me before that a black gown would be the most impactful one on the Miss Universe stage, I would not have believed you! But here it is, a total standout that’s fresh, original, appropriate for MU, and has a unique cultural reference. Kudos, Philippines.