Could Rabiya Mateo be the next Miss Universe following Catriona Gray? Well, Ram Silva’s dresses could very well be a premonition.
While other countries unfailingly support the World Cup or the Superbowl, the Philippines has and always will be an avid supporter of the Miss Universe pageant. We can’t totally put into words the real reason why, but what we’re sure of is we’re fond of bringing pride and honor to our homeland. And landing on the top spots of the prestigious pageant has always been consistent in the previous years, so that’s another factor we can work with, too.
Now since we have Rabiya Mateo as the newly crowned Miss Universe Philippines, she should be rehearsing non-stop for Miss Universe 2020 already. But before we delve into her life as the new queen, we take one last flashback to how she managed to bring home the crown to her home city of Iloilo.
Many probably never noticed this, but some of the pieces that Rabiya wore during the competition were the actual ones that former Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray also donned during her engagements when she was competing in Thailand. So, could wearing those creations also signal the win for Rabiya? Honestly speaking, it’s too early for us to conclude as of now, but the designer behind the exquisite pieces has something to say.
Meet Ram Silva
While he has been designing dresses and power suits, Ram Silva isn’t just your typical fashion designer. That’s because he’s also an events stylist and a pageant director, which means he really knows what truly works for women in the art of pageantry: simple, clean, and elegant—hence, becoming the design aesthetic of Ram in the world of fashion.
Since Rabiya and Ram are both Ilonggos, it’s no surprise that the two ended up knowing each other. The young designer shared with MEGA, “right after winning Miss Iloilo, Rabiya was introduced to me by Joeboy Agriam, the person who influenced Rabiya to join the pageant. From then on, we started working together, from the MUP Application, screening, presentation of candidates, photoshoots, to the preliminary interview.”
When he was initially conceptualizing the pieces, Ram drew inspiration from strong and empowered women—attributes that are very apt for a true queen. “I have always surrounded myself with strong independent women,” Ram shares. “My grandmothers, my single mother, and my sisters were the primary source of inspiration for everything that I design. So, I have to make sure in every creation that I do, it will reflect the personality of a woman. It should always be powerful.”
Now, while the blue jumpsuit and the barong tailored suit was originally designed for Catriona Gray, it was fine for Rabiya to reuse the same piece for her preliminary interview. Come to think of it, as the world is in the midst of global warming, the fashion industry cannot just be purely about aesthetics and beauty anymore. We also need to be more conscious of not wasting more textile materials that pollute our environment.
“Since Catriona was able to use those pieces in Thailand during Miss Universe 2018, I had this strong feeling that it would give Rabiya good luck. I remember telling her: ‘Gamitin natin ‘to, because the universe might listen,'” Ram recalls. “Rabiya and Catriona are both in it to win it. You could feel ‘yung determination and urge to win through their aura—parang ang gaan-gaan lang.”
Lo and behold, the universe did listen to their wishes as Rabiya Mateo became the next Miss Universe Philippines. When we asked Ram if he would also be the one designing for the wardrobe of Rabiya on the world stage, he humbly admitted that pageant gowns are not really his forte. “But if given the chance, I’d love to. I guess I’ll be creating something that will represent the entirety of the Philippines.”