Introducing Capt. Michelle Dee! How Philippines’ plane-like Miss Universe nat’l costume came to life

November 17, 2023 - 11:15 AM
Michelle Dee in her national costume for the 72nd Miss Universe competition (@OfficialMissUniverse/YouTube)

Philippine bet Michelle Dee transformed into a sergeant of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in her national costume for the 72nd Miss Universe competition.

RELATED: Pageant fan’s AI-generated designs for Michelle Dee’s gown, national costume earn buzz 

Michelle on November 17 donned a glamorous plane-like ensemble in gold with a mural of local tourist spots and the hashtag #LoveThePhilippines, the official tourism campaign slogan of the country.

In an Instagram post, the Makati City beauty posted an explanation about the concepts behind her costume.

She highlighted the rattan weave or solihiya pattern design of the garment, saying it reflected “the story of the islands’ unity and artistry.”

“In the grand tapestry of the Philippines comes a national costume as stunning as its archipelago. Behold, Sergeant Michelle Marquez Dee, Miss Universe Philippines, adorned in the nation’s pride and heritage. With each thread woven into the ‘solihiya’ pattern, an iconic design used in the tropics of the Philippines, it embraces her body flawlessly—unfolding the story of the islands’ unity and artistry,” the description reads.

Michelle also noted the colors of the Philippine flag showcased at the wings of her attire.

“Rising from her back, her wings bear the colors of the Philippine flag and a mural of its most breathtaking sights while parading the country’s official tourism slogan: #LoveThePhilippines. Crowned with a captain’s hat, this is a salute to her role as an Air Force reservist and to our boundless adventures awaiting in the skies!” she wrote.


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A post shared by MMD (@michelledee)

A creation of local designer Michael Barassi, Michelle said that her ensemble represented the country’s resilience, radiance and readiness “to embrace the Universe.”

“This National Costume represents the Philippines itself — resilient, radiant and ready to embrace the Universe! Wearing an amazing creation by @barassimichael! Giving justice to a concept that aims to promote tourism to the country WE ARE PROUD TO SHOWCASE TO THE UNIVERSE,” she said.

#CaptainMMD, over and out,” the Kapuso actress also added.

The official Miss Universe channel previously teased a video showing Michelle being given a certificate for attending some sessions of the PAF’s Basic Citizen Military Training as the Philippines’ hint for the national costume show.

This teaser prompted Michelle to quell Filipinos’ concerns about the concept and assured them that it would be “gorgeous.”

READ: ‘Bongga talaga’: Michelle Dee on buzz about Miss Universe 2023 nat’l costume 

Filipinos can express their support for the Philippines’ delegate by voting for her to win Miss Universe’s national costume contest today.

The coronation night, meanwhile, will be held on Sunday, November 19.