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Nick Verreos

Runway Report

SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Earth 2017 LONG GOWN COMPETITION Group 2: Best & Uh Oh's!


SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Earth 2017 LONG GOWN COMPETITION Group 2: Best & Uh Oh's!

 Gown Medals: Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2 Winners (L to R) Miss Earth Nigeria Eucharia Akani (Bronze medal), Miss Earth Peru Karen Rojas (Gold medal), Miss earth Costa Rica Fernanda Rodriguez (Silver medal) and Miss Earth Philippines Karen Ibasco (Silver medal)--Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2
All photos courtesy of Miss Earth Facebook 

Well kids, it is indeed the start of the "International Pageant Season"! Last week, I discussed my TOP 15 FAVORITES for the Miss Grand International 2017 which is happening in Vietnam (Read HERE!)...and at the same time in another Asian country--this time the Philippines--the Miss Earth 2017 beauty pageant is happening. The 17th edition of the Miss Earth contest is occurring with 87 contestants from all over the world competing for the coveted crown with the Final Crowning Night taking place on November 4th at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Metro Manila Philippines.

Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2 Winners (L to R) Miss Earth Nigeria (bronze), Miss Earth Peru (Gold), Miss Earth Costa Rita and Miss Earth Philippines (Silver) flanked by the reining Miss Earth 2016 from Ecuador Katherine Espin (second from left)--Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2

In advance of the final night, lots of pre-final pageant event competitions are occurring including the Swimsuit, Resorts  Wear, Talent and the one that I am most interested in (naturally!) here in my "Sashes & Tiaras" BLOG: The EVENING GOWN COMPETITION. The "Long Gown Competition" as it is called (as opposed to "Short Gown"??) is happening in separate sections with 3 different contestant groups competing...

Satins and Sequins: Contestants from Group 2 of Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition--Joy-Nostalg Hotel and Suites Manila Philippines

In each of these contests, the top contestants get medals (Gold, Silver, Bronze) which will give them points helping them gain better spots in the Finals (similar to Miss "World" I am guessing).
The first "Long Gown Competition" occurred on Tuesday night with "Group 2" consisting of 29 ladies. The winner (or Best in Long Gown)--according to the judges--was Miss Earth Peru, with the Silver going to Miss Earth Costa Rica and Miss Earth Philippines and the Bronze going to Miss Earth Nigeria.

Good Gowns or Not-so-Muchee? Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2 Contestants

There's no way of beating around the bush: I do not know who the judges were but...I did not agree so much with the Top Four (well, only just one!), as it has become a tradition here in my BLOG, below are MY TOP Favorites of the Group (Top 10) and five that were just A MESS. Before I show you my list, I have to say that these were not a group of UBER FAB Couture Gals. I know this isn't Miss Universe or Miss World and therefore these contestants might not have the caliber of design and money backing them so I did give a little "slack" for that but a fashion designer/pageant fan/red carpet commentator, I had to "judge" adequately.

Here's my Top 10 Best from Number One to Ten: 

1. Miss Earth Nigeria Eucharia Akani: OK, first of all,, is it A LOT? Yes. But, is it still really kind of fabulous? DOUBLE YES! I like this for many reasons: It looks AMAZING and impacting. She looks like a PERFECT beauty queen. It fits well. The length is also PERFECTION and to-the-floor! The silver is on-point and just right for her skin color. I love it. I would have given her THE GOLD!
Score: 9.15

2. Miss Earth Angola: Ermelinda Demantos: Loved this look from head to (almost) toe. The blush/golden colored shimmering gown was red carpet perfect, looked refined and well-made and not so "fire friendly" (some of the other gowns were MAJOR polyester-get-near-a-match-and-they'll light up messes!). I really liked her slicked back hair but...those UBER-stacked heels (is that what I see peaking from the center front slit?) are really not making me happy! PLEASE Ermelinda, dump those things and go for non-platform strappy heels (and just have a seamstress hem-up your gown. ASAP.
Score: 9.00

3. Miss Earth Colombia Juliana Franco: I liked the blue color, the one shoulder-like silhouette and nude illusion insets. Was this a but "Figure Skating Costume"? TOTALLY. But, listen, compared to a lot of the other gowns I saw here, this was VERY NICE. TRUST ME! It fit well, wasn't so tacky, wasn't HOOCHIE, had stage presence, the length was correct and her hair was modern and not so "Pageant Betty".
Score: 8.98

 4. Miss Earth Spain Ainara de Santamaria: I liked this gown and it was one of my favorites of this group for its simplicity, non "cray-cray" detail and pure and elegant fit. I also liked the emerald and light green sequined detail. Oh, and yes, the length was JUST RIGHT! It was simple, beautiful and impacting.
Score: 8.97

5. Miss Earth England Charlotte Brooke: Miss Earth England wore this golden-hued gown with silver crystals featuring a fitted column gown over a full overskirt. The style was elegant, impacting and almost Paris Haute Couture-like (almost). Her styling, however, was the unfortunately aspect which didn't elevate this gown to a position of fabulousness and grandeur; her hair was droopy, her make-up was inelegant...she looked too simple and "basic" yet her gown was "Red Carpet Cannes Film Festival". I gave her points more for the gown than her personal styling. It was still better than most of the others...even the ones who got some of the Long Gown medals.
Score: 8.70 

6. Miss Earth Chile Sofia Manzur: Since I had to pick my Top Ten here in this group, some of these choices were "giving them too much credit". But wait until you see some of my "Uh Oh" choices and you'll understand how this might have been "GREAT!". I liked the red color and the fit was fine. Sofia looked like a Spanish Senorita in a Sevillana Gala. I also loved her slicked back chignon. I wasn't a fan of those CRAZY gold sequined pumps (Ayyy Dios Mio!) and that "Cha-Cha Peek-a-Boo-Danger Zone" super high slit. But, if I just half-closed my eyes and avoided those two things...
Score: 8.20

7. Miss Earth Cameroon Verucha Cossinda: I liked the "mermaid Lite" silhouette of this gown and the color was lovely. I'm also happy about the fit and correct length (no tacky platform pumps showing!). Overall, this was a pretty choice for Miss Earth Cameroon.
Score: 8.10

8. Miss Earth Lebanon Elsa Antoun: Nice gown for Elsa, Miss Earth Lebanon. This black and white "Mermaid" shaped gown featured white appliques and black tulle godets at the bottom. It was nothing extraordinary but at least it fit well, was the right length and there weren't any HOOCHIE too-high slits or breast-a-licious cleavage.
Score: 8.05

9. Miss Earth Pakistan Ramina Ashfaque: Yes darlings, you read right--Miss Earth PAKISTAN! Karachi-born Ramina is competing in the Miss Earth 2017 contest and for the Long Gown Competition, she wore this canary yellow gown. Listen, under any other circumstances (or this was "Miss Universe" or "Miss World" I would have deemed this a "Sherri hill off-the-rack Pageant Betty" you-know-what. However, I think she looked radiant and lovely in this. It fit her well and she made an impact on stage. Was it A LOT of polyester? YES. And would I rather not seen those nude platform pumps? Totally. But, in this group, she was still one of my Top Ten.
Score: 8.00

10: Miss Earth Peru Karen Rojas: Believe it or not (I couldn't!), Karen won the "Gold medal" for this gown in the Miss earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2. I placed her as my TENTH favorite. This was OK but certainly--at least in my eyes--not the BEST. I did like the gold flower appliques over the terracotta-colored illusion netting...and it was A LOOK was verging on tacky-licious. But I had to add a tenth favorite and I decided Miss Earth Peru and her gown would be the one.
Score: 7.99

Now, on to the "Oh-No-She-Didn't: Miss Earth 2017 Long Gown Competition Group 2 Edition": Her are my "Top Five" Uh Oh's...

Miss Earth Belarus Polli Cannabis: Oh Polli. Bless your heart. While I kind of liked the top part, the bottom half was just a true GOWN MESS; it looked like black and pink toilet paper got stuck in a tornado and created a gown-skirt. I just wish designers would NEVER do that to dresses. Please. It isn't pretty. On a nice note: The length is right and she is pretty.
Score: 6.25

Miss Earth Costa Rica Fernanda Rodriguez: Fernanda somehow nabbed the SILVER medal for this gown. I am at a loss. This is a teal polyester lace/nude/applique mess. The whole too-see-through inner gown is just stripper tacky and the style is so Downtown Los Angeles Santee Alley. I know I sound like a Gown Snob but seriously. On a good note, she looked fresh and young and pretty--from the neck up.
Score: 6.20

Miss Earth France Melissa Strugen: Melissa wore this violet colored gown featuring golden scroll applique and chiffon overskirt. The gown (inexplicably) featured a mini dress lining underneath showing through. The entire look was not cute. And her hair styling and makeup did not help. I kind of get what she was going for--perhaps a "Near Eastern Goddess" but she ended up looking like a "Prom Scheherazade".
Score: 6.20 

Miss Earth Hungary Victoria Viczian: It's the "Miss Earth 2017" Beauty Pageant...and while I can understand that sponsorship may be light and you have to buy your own dress possibly from the sale rack in Budapest, this off white Duchesse Satin style was just...TOO BASIC! I am happy that it was the correct length but seriously, Victoria wasn't even trying. This is a Bridesmaid Dress for a wedding. NOT, the gown you wear for THE MISS EARTH 2017 LONG GOWN COMPETITION!
Score: 6.00

Last but not least...
Miss Earth Slovenia Sara Gavranic: Oh Slovenia. Oh Sara. Just look at this: Gold Stretch. Lycra. Draped and hi-lo. Oh that lace in the back??? How do you say "tacky-licious" in Slovenian? On a nice note, I liked her hair and red lipstick.
Score: 5.50 

**STAY TUNED for MORE of my "Sashes and Tiaras" Pageant Blogs discussing "Miss Earth", Miss Grand International" and many more HERE!

Until then....I'm excited to launch my NEW Pageant Coloring Book!!! It is full of FABULOUS Beauty Queens and Gowns ready to create your very own Evening Gown Competition! Purchase now on HERE:


SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Grand International 2017 National Costumes: My Top 15!


SASHES AND TIARAS.....Miss Grand International 2017 National Costumes: My Top 15!

It's officially the start of International Beauty Pageant Season!!! To begin all the Sashes and Tiaras fabulousness is the Miss Grand International 2017 beauty pageant which is occurring in Vietnam with the Final Crowning Night taking place on October 25th. A couple of nights ago were the much-awaited Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition. The 76 contestants--from all over the world--from Argentina to Wales--showcased costumes representing their nations, islands and territories...

 Fantasy Fab: (L to R) Miss Grand Indonesia Dea Goesti Rizkita, Miss Grand India Anukriti Gusain and Miss Grand Laos Chinnaly Gorasing--Miss Grand International 2017 National costume Competition

 Flora and Fauna: (L to R) Miss Grand Argentina Yoana Don, Miss Grand Panama Andrea  Torres and Miss Grand Peru Maria Jose Lora--Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition

These costumes ranged from Traditional and Festive, "Victoria's Secret"-like feathered Pre-Columbian Goddesses to Fantasy Couture and they did not disappoint in terms of visual costume candy for pageant lovers everywhere! The pageant organizers are allowing EVERYONE around the world to vote for their favorite by Liking and Sharing the individual photos on the Official Miss Grand International Facebook page HERE.

Traditional Couture: (L to R) Miss Grand Ecuador Analia Vernaza, Miss Grand Venezuela Tulia Aleman Ferrer, Miss Grand Vietnam Huyen May Tran Nguyen--Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition

The Top 15 Liked & Shared contestants/costumes will then move on for another round of voting until the BEST NATIONAL COSTUME (or the one with the most votes!) will be announced on the final night (October 25th). Now, I don't have to wait until then because here are MY TOP 15 Favorite National Costumes from Miss Grand International 2017, beginning with my FAVORITE:
1. Miss Grand Indonesia Dea Goesti Rizkita--One word: WOW. Leave it to Indonesia to BRING IT when it comes to national costumes at beauty pageants. Lately their representatives have been seriously upping their Costume Couture game! This UBER intricate costume needs A LOT of explanation...

Indonesian Empress: Miss Grand Indonesia 2017 National Costume

According to Miss Grand Indonesia 2017, her national costume is entitled "MOTHERLAND: The Sky is my Father, and The Earth is my Mother" and it was designed by Morphacio and Maya RatihThis costume has the meaning of a circular shape taken from the base form of the Moon and its about the mother figure, the queen, and the woman. Here are some more details:
*The blue color depicts the glory of Indonesia as a Maritime Country. 
*Five blue crystals in the circle of the moon symbolize the harmony of Indonesian people in the ideology of Pancasila.
*The three blue crystals on the headdress symbolize the perfection of body, soul, and spirit. 
*Five yellow crystals depict the young generation are like buds of the nation which is the hope and successor/future of the nation...

Now THAT is a TRAIN: Miss Grand Indonesia 2017 National Costume

*The wings on the shoulders symbolize the tenderness and strength, the prayers and the songs of the ancestors. 
*The backbone symbolizes Indonesia is the "backbone of the World" where Indonesia holds abundant natural wealth and Indonesia is a very influential country in the world political map.
*The wing belt symbolizes fertility and a close brotherhood. Fingers and right arm describe the wisdom, skill and soul that protect the society. 
*The temple symbolizes "our bodies are temples, our bodies are His temple", as well as Indonesian people from various social and cultural backgrounds to individuals seeking self-enlightenment. 
*And finally, five Nusantara fabrics illustrate the cultural diversity in Indonesia which contain the thoughts and philosophy that accompany the journey of the Indonesian people to be a whole person, as a true person.
Regardless of all this very detailed costume description...for me, it translates into THE BEST ONE of the competition! I loved how impacting it was, the colors, the unique was a work of fashion art! 

Moving other Favorites in my Top 15 List are:
2. Miss Grand India Anukriti Gusain--Anukriti's gorgeous costume was my second favorite of the 76 contestants. The theme for this look was "Evolution and Expansion of Indian Royalty, from the Palace to the workplace". The national costume--designed by Melvyn Dominic Noronha--according to the contestant herself, shows the balance of an Indian woman with her delicate beauty of compassion and the strength of her determination. She goes on to say that the design also shows how through the evolution of time, the spirit of a few queens magnified and today every Indian woman is a queen in her own right. I loved how this costume combined traditional Indian dress with Hindu God-like imagery. I also thought the combination of bold gold/blue/red colors made for a very strong stage impact.

3. Miss Grand Laos Chinnaly Norasing--This national costume is inspired by the Great Golden Stupa Pha That Luang in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. The Great Golden Stupa Pha That Luang is an ancient and important architecture of Laos, and is a center for the spirit of the Lao people. The design of the costume is a unique feature and character of the Buddha image, adapted to the composition of the ensemble. The jewelry was also inspired by the shape of the Buddha image. The color and the various embellishments added to this costume present Lao's cultures, customs and unique identity. I thought it was thoroughly impacting, very striking and made for a stand-out costume presence at the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition. I am still so baffled how any of these costumes get packed and shipped through customs and onto a plane and then reassembled to be worn again! 

Miss Grand Venezuela Tulia Aleman Ferrer (top photos) in her "Manta Guajira" National Costume and (lower photos) Wayuu Guajiras and their Mantas (caftan dresses)

4. Miss Grand Venezuela Tulia Aleman Ferrer-- Tulia's costume represents the Manta (or caftan/tunic/dress) Wayuu Guajira, a Native American ethnic group of the Guajira peninsula of  northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela. The brightly colored costume featured the designs and pom-pom accents commonly seen on these Wayuu Guajira caftan/tunics worn by the women of this South American indigenous group.

Sketch of Miss Grand Venezuela Talia Aleman Ferrer's National Costume--designed by Colombian designer/brand Aikaa by Blanca Fernandez

This was also one of my top favorites of all the 76 contestants for the way she showed it onstage and how colorful and striking it was. I also loved the representation and homage of an indigenous group through this beautiful costume. The design was created by Colombian designer/brand Aikaa by Blanca Fernanadez.

5. Miss Grand Panama Andrea Torres--Andrea wore a Pre-Columbian (before Christopher Columbus) Feathered Empress-like costume to represent her nation of Panama. And I LOVED it! There were several of these feathered-and-sequined looks in the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costumes Competition, and yet this was THE MOST IMPACTING of the bunch! The design was created by Panamanian designer Cristo Athanasiadis who is known for these types of pageant costumes...and he's obviously very good at it! I loved the colors, the sequins, the feathers...well, I just loved EVERYTHING! Muy bien Cristo and Muy bien Andrea!

Vietnam Queen: Miss Grand Vietnam 2017 Huyen My Tran Nguyen in her Ao Dai Traditional National Costume for Miss Grand International 2017

Sketch of Miss Grand Vietnam Huyen Tran Nguyen's National Costume for Miss Grand International 2017

6. Miss Grand Vietnam Huyen My Tran Nguyen--I absolute ADORED this costume worn by Miss Grand Vietnam 2017 Huyen My Tran Nguyen. The costume represents a traditional Ao Dai and is inspired by the patterns of the Hue Imperial Citadel in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue. It took 3 months to create this gorgeous 30 kilograms (about 66 pounds!)-weighing costume and it was designed by Vietnamese designer Ngo Nhat Huy. If you get to see the video of the actual Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition (at the end of this post!), you can fast forward to when she comes on and showcases this gorgeous costume. I especially loved how the sleeve brocade print/design mitered (matched) when she put her arms/hands together.

Viva Mexico: Miss Grand Mexico Yoana Gutierrez in her National Costume at the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition

A young Tehuana de Oaxaca in traditional dress--Oaxaca Mexico

7. Miss Grand Mexico Yoana Gutierrez--Yoana wore this very beautiful and colorful "Tehuana de Oaxaca" traditional costume, worn by the indigenous women of the city Tehuantepec in the Mexican state of Oaxaca (think Frida Kahlo). The design itself paid tribute to the traditional dress and at the same time, had enough Fashion with a Capital "F" impact and stage fabulousness to make it into my Top 15 Favorites.

8. Miss Grand Jamaica Jenaae Jackson--Jenaae stated on her Instagram that in this costume, she is a "depiction of a Jamaican Arawak Queen"  and all I have to say is "Go On Girl!". I absolutely loved this costume for its colorful, feathered and sequined glory! It looked well-done, finished and high-end. I really admired the stunning jeweled sequins on her bandeau top and skirt yoke and I also liked the muted green feathered skirt. This "Arawak Queen" is UBER Costume Fabulous!

9. Miss Grand Sri Lanka Visna Fernando--Miss Grand Sri Lanka wore this golden "Lion"-inspired costume for the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition. The costume was inspired (obviously) by the "Ceylon Lion" seen in the Sri Lankan flag. I thought it was impressive, sexy-hot and stage impacting enough to be one of my Top 15 Favorites! The headdress alone was EVERYTHING! I just wished those nude pump/heels were a little more "designed" as opposed to looking as if she went online and bought a pair of heels and just added them to the costume.

10. Miss Grand Cambodia Kea Khloem: This was another gorgeous showing from an Asian contestant at the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition. Kea's costume was inspired by Cambodian Buddhist temples and the types of traditional dress of the country. I thought this design looked rich, well-made and the different shades of gold were very striking onstage.

11. Miss Grand Philippines Elizabeth Durado Clenci--"Last night for the national costume competition I chose to represent an indigenous tribe from the south of Philippines," Clenci wrote on her Instagram, sharing a photo of her intricately made headdress. The ensemble which she wore as her national costume for the Miss Grand International 2017 was designed by Jearson Demavivas. This dress was inspired by the T’boli tribe and is a representation of a modern T’boli princess in haute couture and their uniquely designed guitar called hegulung. Philippine’s T’boli takes pride on its T’nalak fabric which designs are spawned from the dreams of the weavers. The design of this national costume represents the cultural structure of the T’boli tribe along with the colors and intricate beadwork, which speaks of their careful yet impressive art. I thought Elizabeth looked sexy, chic and still "National Costume Diva Traditional" in this design. It wasn't out-of-this-world impacting like Miss Grand Indonesia or Miss Grand India, Miss Grand Laos...but, it was still Costume Couture Runway Fab.
12. Miss Grand Argentina Yoana Don--Yoana wore this sequined and feathered "Fantasy Showgirl"-like costume representing the city of Corrientes which is the Argentinian national capital of Carnival (Carnaval). The gorgeous costume--which ended up being one of my Top 15 Favorites--was designed and created by Marcelo Pendola who creates many of the Miss Argentina national costumes for international pageants. I LOVED the golden crystal sequined applique, the strawberry red feathers...the leg sequined was all MUY BELLO and MUY FAB.
13. Miss Grand Peru Maria Jose Lora--The Pavo Real Blanco (white peacock) is in danger of extinction in the South American Amazon and was the inspiration for Miss Grand Peru 2017's national costume. The beautiful costume was designed by Peruvian designer Beto Pinedo. Of all the "Pre-Columbian/Victoria's Secret Feathered Divas"...this one was definitely one of my faves. Therefore, it need to be in my Top 15 List! It meshed both the bird inspiration with sexy stage presence. If there was any critique...yes, it would be the shoes., If you're going to create a gorgeous and intricate costume, create the shoes as well! Those need to be silver and sequined and fabulous. Right now, they are just $25 nude pumps from the internet!

14. Miss Grand Paraguay Lia Duarte Ashmore--Miss Grand Paraguay decided to give "Indigenous Tribal Couture/Making a Statement" Costume. The lovely Lia wore a hi-lo design which,  at first glance, gave the viewer an Angelic/Runway model vibe. Then, as one got more focused, you could see the "Stop Chaco Deforestation" and "Stop the Violence" marking on her arms. The costume is inspired by the "Allegory of the Pajaro Campana", a white bird with green-hued beak and face (lower photo, above). In addition to this, the look seems to be suggesting the dangers of deforestation and this ivory tull'ed "Couture Angel" coming to save the human destruction. I thought it was impacting and thoughtful enough to make my list. It would have almost too obvious to add wings to this costume a la "Miss Grand Peru", "Miss Grand Panama", so I like this more "runway" direction.

15. Miss Grand Ecuador Analia Vernaza Daulon--Analia's costume was a traditional Ecuadorian costume designed by Maria Isabel Diaz Design  . I loved the colors, the high-lo style of the dress/skirt section and overall impact of the design. If there was any critique, once again, it would be THE SHOES! The costume looked fab but the shoes seemed like an afterthought. 

Those were MY TOP 15 Favorite Costumes from the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition...Let me know which ones were YOUR favorites!

**STAY TUNED for MORE of my "Sashes and Tiaras" Pageant Blogs discussing "Miss Earth", Miss Grand International" and many more!

Until then....I'm excited to launch my NEW Pageant Coloring Book!!! It is full of FABULOUS Beauty Queens and Gowns ready to create your very own Evening Gown Competition! Purchase now on HERE:

Click below to watch the Miss Grand International 2017 National Costume Competition: