Rabiya Mateo's Miss Universe national costume reportedly among Rocky Gathercole's last masterpieces
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo (left) will reportedly don a national costume co-designed by internationally-renowned Pinoy designer Rocky Gathercole (right).
Marvel Philippines via Facebook; ABS-CBN/Released

Rabiya Mateo's Miss Universe national costume reportedly among Rocky Gathercole's last masterpieces

Earl D.C. Bracamonte (Philstar.com) - May 10, 2021 - 4:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — With the 69th Miss Universe edition now running at a breakneck pace, candidates are finding themselves in a whirlwind of photo/video shoots and fittings for some of the official wardrobe, like the Sherri Hill opening number dress and Ema Savahl swimwear, that they will be wearing for the preliminaries and final show.

Days 2 through 5 showed the girls in a flurry of sessions that included a photo shoot with official photographer Fadil Berisha, a video shoot with the Miss Universe production crew for the girls' opening introduction, as well as with the Telemundo film crew's telecast filming and principal photography.

In separate social media posts, Rabiya proudly announced that she finally got her official Miss Universe sash, and that her roommate is Japan's Aisha Harumi.

After the O Skincare Spa shoot with candidates from Colombia and El Salvador, Rabiya has been chosen by two other sponsors - Muba Cosmetics and Bragais Shoes. In an Instagram Stories post titled "All Lives Matter," Muba CEO Andres Felipe informed fans that his company has chosen Dominican Republic, Canada, Iceland, South Africa, and the Philippines for its corporate spiel to the Miss Universe.

Also, Bragais Shoes CEO Jojo Bragais chose Romania, Peru, Thailand, Canada and the Philippines. In its behind-the-scenes footage, Rabiya was seen gamely doing samba steps with Nova Stevens and Bianca Tirsin. It also showed glimpses of Mexico's Andrea Meza, Venezuela's Mariangel Villasmil and Helen Hernandez of Aruba.

Pageant fans were quick to point out that Amanda Obdam did wear Bragais Shoes after all, because she said, in a social media post, that she did not need a pair more for her vast collection of luxury brands, when the brand was announced as the official footwear of the competition.

Candidates have given their stamp of approval to the Bragais footwear, especially on its comfortability, including Spain's Andrea Martinez who made a post about it.

Miss Universe 2011 runner-up and Miss Universe Philippines national director Shamcey Supsup-Lee has flown 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.

The Mother's Day weekend was capped by the MUO's welcome dinner and orientation. On its site, the Miss Universe site posted a compilation video entitled, "A Letter to Mom." The open letter featured Rabiya in the letter's greeting, together with Netherland's Denise Speelman and Puerto Rico's Estefania Soto, and with candidates from Kosovo, Korea, Spain, Myanmar, Peru, Indonesia, Brazil, Romania, El Salvador, Ireland, Thailand, Argentina, Bolivia, Cayman Islands and Russia.

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