Simultaneous with Catriona Gray’s recent victory as Miss Universe 2018 is Mak Tumang’s rise as one of the most sensational Filipino designers, having made the beauty queen’s iconic Ibong Adarna and Mayon Volcano-inspired gowns that sent her flaming down the runway twice.
In an interview with ABS-CBN reporter Dyan Castillejo, Mak revealed that a third creation was supposed to be worn by Catriona for the preliminary competition.
“Supposedly, it was a preliminary option. Dapat gagamitin siya sa Thai night, kaso that night, ginamit ‘yung mga Thai designers,” said the designer in relation to the candidates’ pre-pageant celebration of Thai Night, wherein the Filipina-Australian beauty ended up wearing a violet Thai silk creation by designer Asava.
During the finals night, Mak shared that he was overwhelmed with emotions seeing Catriona slay his gown in front of an international audience.
“Very, very happy. ‘Di pa rin makapaniwala hanggang ngayon. Nakakaiyak. I cried. Even my mom cried, actually, and all of my friends,” confessed the designer.
While it was Catriona who he said wanted a red outfit, the idea of a gown inspired from Mayon Volcano – a famous landmark in her home town, Albay, Bicol – was originally Mak’s, which says a lot about his creative flair.
“She asked me to do a red gown talaga. So I sketched three red gowns, then I thought, ‘What element is associated with red?’ So, I thought of lava, and then I connected it to the Mayon Volcano as inspiration. Nung binubuo ko, I was planning to hide it from her. I wanted to execute it secretly, and then present it kapag malapit na ‘yung [pageant]. Pero, I was so excited, sinend ko right away ‘yung concept,” shared Mak.
Mak, who went with Catriona to Bangkok, Thailand for the pageant, said that he has received a lot of positive feedbacks from his friends with regard to his masterpieces.
Of his experience working with the 24-year-old beauty queen, the designer said, “Cat is very passionate, very hardworking, very sincere siya sa [ginagawa] niya. ‘Yung aesthetic ko, nakikita ko talaga sa kanya. Ako rin [kasi] as an artist very passionate and artistic, [so] parang nagja-jive kami talaga.”
Catriona is the fourth Filipina to win the crown after Pia Wurtzbach, Margie Moran, and Gloria Diaz, who won in 2015, 1973, and 1969, respectively. She succeeded Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.