Every step Rabiya takes is a step up, and she is “constantly climbing” that every day.
This was the assessment of young local designer Chino Christopherson when sought for a comment on Ilongga Miss Universe candidate Rabiya Mateo’s chances of winning the crown this year.
Chino was the one who designed the departure outfit of Rabiya, the hugely popular two-piece outfit with the top decked with pearls, the look now fast becoming one of the most popular that the beauty queen has donned so far.
“Rabiya for me is like climbing up a ladder. She is doing well [and] I see her now almost at the end the ladder. She is constantly climbing up she gives her best everyday,” Chino says.
Chino says she finds Rabiya “very relatable”.
“People like that [that she’s relatable], I can also see other candidates approaching her as if they were friends,” he notes.
If Rabiya does good in the finals, Chino says, “I can say we will have an Ilongga Miss Universe,” he says.
Rabiya had recently been on the spotlight – or specifically her national costume, which was inspired by Philippine flag, and styled ala Victoria Secret Angel.
“As a designer, for me, her costume is somehow out of the box as far as Philippine costumes specifically for Miss Universe,” he says.
Chino observes that traditionally, Miss Universe-Philippines’ national costume is usually inspired by Filipino icons and symbols – the Philippine eagle, the national flower, the Filipiniana design.
But this time, designer Rocky Gathercole “went out of the box” by using the flag as inspiration.
“Honestly it gave me goosebumps and mixed emotions. I mean yes it’s basically a Philippine flag translated into an Angel wings, what’s new? But the other side of me is saying that this is like we are moving forward in terms of interpreting our culture together with other countries,” he says.
This, he says, could be the next step in interpreting culture as presented to other countries. It is a vast departure from what is usual.
It could be scary, but it should also be embraced, Chino says.
“Change is scary, but scary is exciting,” he adds.