A ‘tribute’: Story behind Michelle Dee’s emerald green Miss Universe prelims gown

November 16, 2023 - 2:39 PM
Michelle Dee_preliminary gown
Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee in the preliminary competition of Miss Universe 2023 in El Salvador in this photo posted by the Miss Universe Philippines organization on Nov. 16, 2023; Michelle in this photo posted on her Instagram on Nov. 16, 2023 (TheMissUniversePH/Facebook; michelledee/Instagram)

“Tribute to one iconic Filipina.”

This was how internationally renowned fashion designer Mark Bumgarner described the preliminary gown of Philippine bet Michelle Dee as she walked the runway in his creation for the Miss Universe 2023 preliminaries.

The Pinay beauty strutted the runway with a body-hugging cutout gown with different shades of emerald green and encrusted with black Swarovski crystals during the evening gown segment of the pageant’s preliminary competition.

It has a cinched waist and a column silhouette with a high neckline and power shoulders frame.

Mark said the different shades and the crystals in the gown are meant to give it “a shine of snakeskin of a green viper” which he said is “a symbol of power, wisdom, and transformation.”

He also said that the gown is a tribute to Michelle’s mother, Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez, who he described as “one iconic Filipina.”

Melanie wore a glittering green strapless gown when she was crowned Miss International 1979, becoming the youngest titleholder at 17 years old.

Mark said that the homage is only up to the shade since the look “is still very much inspired by Michelle’s personality,” as quoted in a report of Vogue Philippines.

He said that Michelle “is someone who’s strong and a woman who really knows what she wants.”

The Philippine bet also showed off her preliminary gown in her Instagram with the caption:

“An ode to my legacy and a gem to my country, ang minamahal kong #FILIPINAS!”


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According to Michelle, she only has one criterion for her preliminary gown.

“I don’t want the typical ‘Pageant Patty’ gown,” she said to Vogue Philippines.

“It doesn’t really resonate with my personality. [This] year, I really vowed to show my authentic self — make sure that that personality of mine shines,” the Makati beauty added.

The color, she said, is also the color of her advocacy, which is autism awareness.

The Autism Society Philippines brandishes the color green as an homage to the nurturing, growth and hope that lives in families who care for loved ones with autism.

Michelle has two brothers who are on the autism spectrum.

She is vying for the country’s fifth Miss Universe crown against more than 80 delegates in El Salvador.

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The grand coronation is on November 19 Philippine time.

Filipinos can watch it live through ABS-CBN’s different platforms.

READ: Where to watch Miss Universe 2023 coronation as Michelle Dee competes for crown