Philippines’ Michelle Dee graces the 72nd Miss Universe stage with her iconic “Snake Walk,” showcasing a mesmerizing tattoo-inspired evening gown paying homage to the legendary Whang-Od. The dress, a creation by renowned designer Mark Bumgarner, not only captures timeless beauty but also challenges age stereotypes, aligning with Miss Universe’s commitment to inclusivity.
In a dazzling display of cultural homage and individuality, Michelle Dee, the representative from the Philippines, took center stage at the 72nd Miss Universe, showcasing her signature “Snake Walk” in a striking tattoo-inspired evening gown. The gown, a tribute to the oldest living tattoo artist, Whang-Od, not only symbolizes timeless beauty but also challenges age stereotypes in alignment with Miss Universe’s commitment to inclusivity.
Michelle Dee, who has been making waves with grace and distinctive style, shared her thoughts on the tribute in an Instagram post. Describing Whang-Od as a legendary Filipina icon preserving the rich cultural heritage of indigenous tattoo art, Dee emphasized the global recognition that Whang-Od has achieved. The gown becomes more than just a piece of fashion; it becomes a powerful statement celebrating the resilience and beauty of cultural traditions.
The long black bedazzled dress adorned with intricate patterns is the artistic creation of Mark Bumgarner, the talented fashion designer behind Dee’s captivating green evening gown worn during the Miss Universe preliminary round. By creating this exceptional gown, Bumgarner expressed his love and pride for Michelle Dee and the Philippines.
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In an Instagram post, Bumgarner shared his vision for the gown, aiming to make Dee look “powerful, like a warrior.” The beading on the dress was meticulously designed to resemble tattoos, creating a visual representation of strength and identity. Bumgarner emphasized the timely nature of the gown, aligning with the Miss Universe Organization’s decision to lift age restrictions in its pageants, promoting a more inclusive representation of beauty.
“The message resonated with her (Apo Whang-Od): a legendary Filipina whose art symbolizes bravery, beauty, and identity, and who has become a symbol of timeless beauty,” shared Bumgarner. The gown transcends the realm of fashion, becoming a medium through which cultural stories are told and celebrated globally.
Michelle Dee’s journey at the Miss Universe pageant goes beyond conventional beauty standards. With each stride, she carries the stories of cultural richness and resilience. The tattoo-inspired evening gown becomes a testament to the fusion of tradition and modernity, creating a narrative that challenges preconceived notions of beauty and age.
As Michelle Dee continues to captivate hearts on the Miss Universe platform, her tattoo tribute stands as a beacon of cultural pride, reminding the world of the profound beauty embedded in the artistry of Whang-Od and the rich heritage she represents. The gown is not just an ensemble; it is a vibrant celebration of identity, bravery, and the timeless allure of Filipino culture.