After Imelda Schweighart, the Philippine representative to this year’s Miss Earth pageant who just resigned from her post, claimed that Miss Earth 2016 Katherine Espin wore the gown made for her by Leo Almodal, the designer broke his silence regarding the controversy through a lengthy Facebook post on Monday, October 31.
Explaining that the yellow gown is a part of his collection, Leo clarified that no one from Imelda’s camp paid for the gown and that he was only lending it to her for the Miss Earth pageant if ever she entered the top 16, which did not happen.
“To set and clarify things; Imelda or anyone from her camp has not given or paid me a single peso for that gown. That yellow gown is technically my property and just letting her borrow it for Miss Earth pageant; that if she makes it to the top 16. As the owner it will be under my discretion to whom it will be used.”
Since Imelda did not make it to the top 16 and because Leo was not able to finish the already half-paid gown he was making for Katherine on time, his team decided to give the Ecuadorian candidate the yellow gown instead.
“Since she did not make it to top 16, not competing for the evening gown segment and unfortunately I didn’t finish the gown of Ecuador on time which I am obliged because she already paid half of the amount as downpayment.... My team made that decision to dress her up in that yellow gown,” he said.
Furthermore, Leo revealed that before dressing up Katherine, he messaged Imelda and “begged” her to take down her online posts. However, he said Imelda didn’t listen.
“Before dressing up Katherine I sent Imelda messages in Facebook to take down the photos and videos but she never listened... she posted it after she did not make it to the top 16 cut. I actually begged her... she was not ripped [off] or robbed; The gown was not taken away from her and she was asked nicely... Technically it's MINE; and I don’t want that masterpiece to go to waste. I want to show it to the world because that gown is made for that purpose...”
In an interview with CNN Philippines as quoted by ABS-CBN News, Imelda admitted feeling offended that the gown was given to Katherine. “Honestly, I’m not bitter. I’m just offended. Why? Because the gown that I was supposed to wear was given to Ecuador. I was fitted the gown. I was just so offended. That time, I’m still in the heat of the moment, the gown that was placed in Miss Philippines’ cubicle was taken. That box, my gown named after me… I wasn’t able to wear it. Even Miss Guam made me borrow her gown… because I have nothing to wear.”
However, Leo dismissed this, saying that he provided her with a red gown which she refused.
He wrote, “Contrary to her statement that she has nothing to wear is an absolute LIE!!! I provided her with a beautiful red gown but she smiled and refused to wear it, saying that it looks like Miss Belgium's gown and opted to borrow from miss Guam instead...”
In the end, Leo wished that his statement made things clear.
Having recently given up her crown as Miss Earth-Philippines, Imelda was put under fire after an alleged video of her accusing the newly-crowned Miss Earth 2016 of having fake nose, chin, and boobs, went viral.