It was in the yesteryears when a gown has actually saved the day for the Philippines instead of ruining it. Interestingly, it was in the 80s when Bb. Pilipinas tapped the Filipino designers to create fabulous evening dresses for Filipina delegates. Not that they haven’t done it before but it was in that particular decade the gowns of Filipina beauty queens stood out and was way ahead of its time.
During the Miss Universe 1980, Rosario “Chat” Silayan was ranked fourth in the interview and sixth in swimsuit and she need to be in the Top 5. But when she walked onstage wearing a light blue Renee Salud creation, Chat was assured of Top 5 finish after garnering the second highest vote in the gown competition.
During the Miss Universe 1984, Desiree Verdadero was ranked fifth in the interviews but she made a comeback after placing third in the swimsuit and the evening gown contests. Desiree’s multi-colored gown was also designed by Renee Salud and is said to be inspired by Maranao fabric. The gown was so fashion forward that it was put in an exhibit recently and there was a general consensus that it can even still be used in today’s Miss Universe contest!
In Miss Universe 1987, Geraldine de Asis missed the Top 5 with a very slim margin. Her scores were dragged by her interview and swimsuit where she was ranked sixth in both. Although she failed to advance any further, the Louie Mamengo dress of Geraldine was actually the one that tried to buoy her as she ranked 4th in the gown segment.
These days, Pinoy fans are constantly complaining the quality of the designs used by their delegates at Miss Universe. They believe that the gowns designed by foreigners ruined the chances of their delegates. In retrospect, the 80s has shown that it was the gowns that actually saved the Filipina candidates and it took Filipino designers to hit just the right sweet spot.