Fashion and Beauty

Filipino designer Michael Cinco on creations for Ahtisa Manalo, Miss Universe Canada

C. Mendez Legaspi - Philstar.com
Filipino designer Michael Cinco on creations for Ahtisa Manalo, Miss Universe Canada
From left: Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco with Miss Universe Canada 2018 Marta Magdalena Stepien and Iranian influencer Megan Pormer; Miss International 2018 first runner-up Ahtisa Manalo wearing Michael Cinco
Instagram/Michael Cinco

MANILA, Philippines — A Michael Cinco couture creation can spell magic on any pageant stage, this much Miss Universe Canada 2018 Marta Magdalena Stepien knows very well. 
Cinco created the cobalt number, now called the Pia Blue, which Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach wore to crown her successor, Iris Mittenaere of France. Mittenaere, meanwhile, wore a scintillating Cinco crimson gown when she turned over her title to Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.

Binibining Pilipinas Maria Ahtisa Manalo finished first runner-up at the 2018 Miss International contest in a virginal Cinco blush pink dress from his “World Class” collection recently shown in Cebu.


“I got a message from Magdalena’s handlers and the national director of Miss Canada. They asked me if I can make an evening gown for her for the Miss Universe pageant,” Cinco explained in an interview with this writer. “They are great followers of my work and they follow me on Instagram.”

The Polish-Canadian stopped by Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on her way to Bangkok, Thailand, the Miss Universe 2018 competition location, to pick up her evening gowns and, to the delight of many, she was the final girl at the acclaimed Filipino designer’s show at Arab Fashion Week.

“Thank you for the honour of having me close your show with you,” Stepien gushed to Cinco on Instagram. “Salamat po! Congratulations on your breathtaking collection.”

Stepien, 24, a biomedical engineering technology student, was first runner-up at Miss Universe Canada 2017 before competing again this year and finally winning the title. She represented Canada at Miss International 2017 but was unplaced. She also competed at Reinado Internacional del Café 2018 and emerged as Virreina, or first runner-up.
Miss Universe Canada contenders are no strangers to Filipino fashion. Fil-Canadian Riza Santos was Miss Universe Canada 2013. When she joined local showbiz after winning Miss Earth Canada 2006, she was a favorite among Pinoy designers to dress up. She was also Miss World Canada 2011.
Sierra Bearchell wore a Rian Fernandez dress on her way to a top 9 placement in 2016. She also wore the same designer on her wedding day in 2017.

During a visit to the country, Lauren Howe, a top 10 finisher last year, walked for Renee Salud in a benefit gala.
The first Canadian to win Miss Universe was Karen Baldwin in 1982. The last time a Canadian won Miss Universe was in 2005, when Russian-born Natalie Glebova was crowned in Bangkok. 
“Magdalena has a 23-inch waistline and super long legs,” Cinco cooed. “She is stunning and I think she is one of the strongest contenders this year.”
Could the same location of their last triumph and the choice of a gown from a designer that brings good luck mean third time’s the charm for Canada? We will soon find out during the Miss Universe coronation night on December 17! 

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