Designer Mak Tumang revealed that Catriona Gray’s gown for the Binibining Pilipinas coronation is actually inspired by a Filipino flower. Frankly, we think the inspiration is fitting!
Dubbed as “The Queen of Philippine Flowers”, waling-waling is considered one of the most beautiful flowers in the country. So I think it’s only fitting that Catriona’s farewell speech gown is inspired by it. The brightly coloured pink gown had petal-like structures on both the sleeve and along its bodice, making the wearer look like a beautiful flower in bloom. Rhinestones bedazzle the gown, making it utterly breathtaking, but a gown can only be so beautiful. It is the way that Catriona wore it that makes it look even more special.
Miss Universe 2018 did the gown justice and did not disappoint with her Binibining Pilipinas coronation night look! The beauty queen wore her hair down and looked simple, in a stunning way, which makes way for the gown to stand out with its elaborate structures. And, of course, the bust and thigh slits are always a crowd favourite with Catriona. With all this, the gown accentuated the curves on Catriona’s body and showcased patterns seen in the waling-waling flowers as well.
Waling-waling and Catriona
What is in a waling-waling flower that can possibly be compared to Catriona? Well, waling-waling is from the orchid family and is very rare in nature since it is always over-harvested. In an Instagram post, Mak cited that the flower is considered the “Queen of Philippine Flowers” and is even revered by the Bagobos as a “diwata” (fairy) because of its unsurpassable beauty. It grows better and faster when it’s high up the ground, and you can usually find them on tree trunks, elevated below 500 meters.
That explains everything! Catriona has become a Philippine symbol for beauty and substance and she has brought the country with her on her journey as Miss Universe. She has wit, talent, and beauty, but she also has the heart of a true Filipina. Even though she stepped down as the reigning Binibining Pilipinas, she’s still rising, the Philippines as the tree trunk to her waling-waling. This being said, we think that the flower embodies her so much that it is only fitting that she wears a gown that is inspired by it!
Many of us may not know this, but the waling-waling gown isn’t Mak’s first creation for Catriona. He is also the brilliant mind behind the beauty queen’s Miss Universe gowns, and he does not play around when it comes to where he gets his design ideas from.
His gowns may be beautiful, but the underlying message is even more powerful than the gown itself. Remember Catriona’s Miss Universe peacock-like gowns and (of course, who could forget), her fire-like gown?
Ibong Adarna inspired gown
Mak Tumang based this gown on the Filipino folklore creature, Ibong Adarna. Many people seek the bird for its healing capabilities, but its enchanting voice is so beautiful, it can put anyone to sleep. The Ibong Adarna has been a Filipino symbol for healing and resilience.
Catriona Gray’s hometown, Albay, is home to the majestic Mayon Volcano. People admire the volcano, being the most active one in the country, for its perfectly symmetrical cone shape. Up there with the clouds, it is a beauty to look at, but it’s also fiery on the inside. This inspired Mak Tumang to create this Mayon gown for Catriona that looked like fiery magma straight out of the volcano. This, with Catriona’s captivating walk and that signature turn, is a winning moment. And her Miss Universe victory was surely an eruption!
I think it is just right to say that Mak Tumang is the master of genius gowns that deserve to be paired with a Miss Universe crown. While other designers focus on the physical aspect, he chooses to fill his work with substance. Much so that it embodies the wearer too well.