OPINION :: Stella Araneta has a lot of things to explain
In an interview with ABS-CBN, Madam Stella Marquez de Araneta a.k.a. SMA defended the choice of National Costume worn by Mary Jean Lastimosa at the 63rd Miss Universe pageant. There were some parts of her response that we could agree on, in particular she said that a national costume does not necessary mean a costume that we use or had used everyday. We also agree that the design should be something that is an attention grabbing, artistic interpretation of an existing costume.
Madam Stella went on by saying that the first time she tapped a foreigner to design a national costume was way back in 1999 and that was for Miriam Quiambao. She claimed that Miriam won the Best in National Dress because of her decision.
Well, Madam Stella’s incorrect recollection of the facts means she is simply out of touch with the reality. The truth is Miriam never won the Best in National Costume award. In fact, not a single Filipina won the award ever since the foreigners (actually just one foreigner – Alfredo Barazza of Colombia) began designing the national costumes (and evening gowns!) of the Filipinas at Miss Universe.
It looks like SMA is running out of ideas and her insistence to use Alfredo Barazza has been an annual contentious issue among Filipinos. An even bigger slap on the face of the Filipinos is her claim that the designs of the local designers are, in her words, “no good”. If that is the position of SMA, she should really think twice, or even thrice about her decision. The Filipinos deserve better because Miss Universe, at least in the Philippines, is a national passion. Local talents and fashion designers are willing to dress the best of the best for our Filipina queens.
With the conclusion of the 63rd Miss Universe Pageant in Doral, won by SMA’s compatriot from Colombia, Paulina Vega, Filipinos definitely need an explanation. Adding insult to injury, the winning gown of Paulina was also made by the same Colombian designer who created MJ’s white mermaid gown, where she scored lower than the former. Now, who is to blame for that?