MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ bet Rabiya Mateo drew cheers from the crowd at the 69th Miss Universe National Costume contest, wearing a feathery Vegas-like ensemble inspired by the country’s flag.
Rabiya looked stunning in her national costume designed by the late Filipino international designer Rocky Gathercole.
“This outfit is inspired by the Philippine flag. The blue represents royalty, red stands for the courage and strength for an independent woman and yellow, the color of sun and stars, symbolizes freedom to choose whoever you want to be,” the host said while Rabiya walked on the stage.
“You'll get far, just be who you are like Philippines,” he added.
According to reports, Miss Universe-Philippines Design Council head Albert Andrada said that Rabiya’s national costume was inspired by the logo of the Miss Universe-Philippines pageant.
Miss Universe 2011 runner-up and Miss Universe Philippines national director Shamcey Supsup-Lee flew to the United States to support Rabiya in her journey to the crown. Close observers also said that she is carrying with her Rabiya's national costume, which was completed by costume/jewelry designer Manny Halasan, in a collaborative effort with the late Ricky Gathercole, who passed away last March 3 due to a possible heart attack.
Rocky was the Filipino designer behind some of the costumes of Hollywood stars Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Tyra Banks, Paris Hilton and Nicki Minaj, among others.
It was also reported earlier that Furne One of Amato Couture will be the designer of Rabiya's evening gowns for the preliminary and final shows.
"Yes, for the gowns, they're all custom-made, meaning all hand made. So we spent around 10,000 hours for four gowns. It's different, Albert and Jonas contacted me to do this even though I'm more on avant garde designs than pageant designs, 'coz they want me to do a different take on pageantry," revealed the Dubai-based Filipino designer in an online interview.