Michelle Dee’s Miss Universe 2023 finals gown is truly something else.
Inspired by Apo Whang-Od, the oldest mambabatok of the Philippines, the Mark Bumgarner creation made waves as soon as Michelle strutted down the Miss Universe stage for her evening gown walk.
She instantly turned viral, and two days later, social media is still talking about Michelle and her gorgeous black evening gown.
Look: Harper’s Bazaar Arabia even said it was among the 10 best fashion moments of the pageant, just behind the winner, Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios’ white and blue number.
“In this tribute gown, Michelle exudes confidence as she spotlights Filipina tattoo artist Whang-Od as a symbol of bravery, beauty, and inclusivity,” Harper’s Bazaar Arabia said of the Kapuso beauty queen.
They added, “the contrast between the pointed shoulders and flowy train make this gown a masterpiece of dynamic elegance, effortlessly blending bold and graceful elements to showcase Michelle’s radiant presence on the Miss Universe stage.”
Miss Thailand and 1st runner-up Anntonia Porslid also made it to the list, alongside 2nd runner-up Miss Australia Moraya Wilson, Miss Puerto Rico Karla Guilfú Acevedo. and Pakistan’s Erica Robin, incidentally the South Asian nation’s first-ever candidate into the Miss Universe beauty pageant.
Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios became the Miss Universe 2023, while Michelle settled for a Top 10 finish. We didn’t go home empty-handed, though, as Michelle won three special awards that evening — and the hearts of pageant fans all over the world for her exceptional performance all throughout the pageant, most especially for that breathtaking gown.
According to Michelle’s designer Mark Bumgarner, the black evening gown was their effort at showing “the world how vibrant our culture is.”
“I think we did,” he added in his short Instagram note.
You most certainly did, Mark and Michelle. You most very well did. Thank you.
— LA, GMA Integrated News