Catriona Gray takes indigenous fabrics to the global stage through her Miss Universe outfits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 13) — Filipina beauty queen Catriona Gray is arguably the top candidate in this year's Miss Universe, with pageant observers around the world calling her "the one to beat" among over 90 delegates.

And with everyone's eyes trained on her, the 24-year-old Filipina-Australian makes sure it's not just her beauty that takes the spotlight.

Gray had vowed that the whole country will be well-represented in her looks for the pageant.  True enough, she incorporated Filipino materials and textile made by indigenous groups in her attires during events ahead of the coronation.

Here are some of her Filipino-inspired looks:


A day after she flew to Thailand in a modern Thai ensemble, Gray donned a white dress by Noel Crisostomo with a Sampaguita-inspired rattan bag.


Later that day, she changed into a pink and blue dress made from T'nalak handwoven fabric by Jearson Demavivas.


She continued flaunting local textiles with Nino Franco's T'boli embroidered skirt paired with white top.


During their tour at snail farm, she wore a denim jacket by local clothing Lahi Lifestyle embroidered with the word "Kababayan" and a Pinoy jeepney.


She faced Thai media in a beige dress made with modern T'nalak fabric also by Demavives


Gray slayed in a modern ladies' barong made from hand-made pinya silk callado paired with an apple green high-waist skirt painted with Sampaguita and a T'nalak belt.

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LUZVIMINDA: "Magdiwang. Lumaban. Pagyamanin." LUZON-- MAGDIWANG" (Celebrate): The island group of LUZON is represented by the world-renowned "PAROL/CHRISTMAS LANTERN" from the province of Pampanga with a BRASS BORDER designed and made in Apalit, Pampanga (inspired by designs from the Philippine Baroque Churches that were declared as UNESCO Heritage Sites) At the back of the PAROL is a PAINTING with INSCRIPTION of the lyrics from "LUPANG HINIRANG", the Philippines’ National Anthem written in Baybayin (Ancient Filipino Alphabet) that literally translates to: "Lupang hinirang, Duyan ka ng magiting, Sa manlulupig Di ka pasisiil. Sa dagat at bundok, Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw." The PAINTING also highlighted victories, festivals, events, heroes and national icons with a style inspired by the works of Philippine National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco, a native of the Art Capital of the Philippines, Angono, Rizal in Luzon. VISAYAS--LUMABAN" (Fight): The island group of VISAYAS is represented by a body suit with authentic "tattoo designs" embellished with crystals derived from patterns used by the "PINTADOS" who are indigenous peoples found in various islands in this part of the Philippines. The tattoo patterns are authentic and based from the manusript "BOXER CODEX" written in 1590. The tattoos represent an individual’s journey and a public testimony recounting acts of combat, bravery, and strength, that perfectly represents the courageous and resilient Filipino spirit amidst trials we face in this day and age. MINDANAO-- “PAGYAMANIN" (Enrich): The island group of MINDANAO is represented by an authentic "HEADPIECE & BRASS ACCESSORIES" from the province of South Cotabato and customized KNEE-HIGH BOOTS with embroidered designs inspired by different indigenous textile patterns from the southern part of the Philippines, namely: Inaul, Yakan, Maranao, B'laan, Bagobo, Tausug and T'nalak. The woven textiles express a strong belief in "ancestral and natural spirits" and "cultural roots" of indigenous communities that remain well-preserved up to this day. Pilipinas, para sa iyo ang lahat ng ito. @missuniverse @benjaminaskinas

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During the pageant's National Costume competition on Monday, Gray sashayed in a LuzViMinda-inspired outfit, incorporating native designs from different tribes in the country's major islands.

She wore a body suit printed with tattoo patterns used by indigenous people "Pintados," headpiece and brass accessories from South Cotabato, and customized knee-high boots with embroidered designs inspired by different indigenous textile patterns. At her back was a giant parol (lantern) representing Pampanga.


Before the much-awaited competition, Gray wore Demavives' fuchsia pink blazer with T'nalak bustier.


She donned a modern terno made from Inabel fabric of Ilocos and Kalinga fabric for the preliminary interview.


Ahead of the preliminary competition on Thursday, Gray was seen in a mustard dress hand-painted with "Anahaw."

Gray is hoping for the country's fourth Miss Universe crown.  The coronation will be held on December 17 in Bangkok, Thailand.