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The 60th Annual Miss Universe 2011 Pageant is well under way in São Paulo Brazil--site of this year's pageant. All the 89 contestants have already arrived from all over the world to begin all their "checking-in", fittings, events, touring and photo shoots--as well as the upcoming Preliminaries. The Final telecast will be shown LIVE on NBC and Telemundo Monday September 12th. The Miss Universe website has just put up photos of the contestants including the much-anticipated (at least for me!) "Evening Gown Portraits". Some girls bring their own gowns from back home for this and some are able to chose from a "rack" of dresses the Miss Universe Wardrobe Dept. has for them, of course, from the "Official Fashion Sponsor", Sherri Hill... ow, these are NOT necessarily the actual FINAL Gowns they will wear on the FINAL night (A LOT, reserve a "very special" gown for that!). But still, it gives a good indication of their "taste level" and well, how "Gown-Savvy" and "Not-So-Gown-Savvy" these women are. So, even though these ARE NOT NECESSARILY the Final Gowns they will wear on the Telecast, I still have to give my "Nick Beauty Pageant Gown Two Cents. No. 10: Miss Kosovo Universe 2011 Aferdita Dreshaj--Aferdita squeaks into my "Top Ten Gown Faves" in this canary yellow halter-style taffeta satin gown. The color is impacting. The silhouette and style fits her very well and reminds me of a 1950's "Hollywood Starlet". I do realize that it is a little bit "Miss Teen USA" and well, kind of "Disney Princess", but this girl is so stunning, that it works. The only thing that DOESN'T work is that BOUFFANT hair of hers. Someone should be FIRED for that!
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No. 9: Miss China Universe 2011 Luo Zilin--This bubblegum pink is a popular color for pageant dresses this season and it looks amazing on Miss China Universe. She's OVER 6 feet tall, and I'm just happy the gown is still the correct length and not ending up above her ankles. Also, she gets EXTRA "Nick V." points for the peep-toe nude/blush-colored pumps, especially when you see the STRIPPER heels some of my "Not-so-Faves" wore (in an upcoming post!). I'm also happy the slit isn't up to her you-know-what.
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No. 8: Miss Vietnam Universe 2011 Hoang My Vu--This strappy animal print chiffon gown that Hoang My Vu is wearing here is very Cavalli runway and on-trend with what's going on in evening gowns. Therefore, she gets high marks from me. It fits beautifully and stands out--in a good way--in a sea of solid bright colored satins. Bring on the prints! As long as they're delicate ones.
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No. 7: Miss Slovak Republic Universe 2011 Dagmar Kolesarova--I really like this pretty blush colored satin and chiffon gown with crystal strap detail on the exotic and strong-featured Dagmar. It softens her. I also love the straight-on pose (SOOOO many girls did these odd and awkward side-to-back poses which were NOT cute!). The big pouf in the front of her head is a bit 1994 and Prom-y, but I will forgive her for that! (again, can we fire the hair people!!??).
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No. 6: Miss Angola Universe 2011 Leila Lopes--Wow. Period. There were lots of these silver or creme/nude-colored gowns in this year's "Miss Universe 2011 Website Evening Gown Portraits" but this is one of the strongest for me. It has drama, gorgeous sequin and feathered detail; it's elegant and Red Carpet-ready! Not a fan of the "Beyoncé Armpit" pose, but other than that: An "A" for Angola!
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No. 5: Miss Switzerland Universe 2011 Kerstin Cook--One of the most beautiful girls in this year's pageant (and there are A LOT!!), this 5'11", 22 year old is DESTINED to be one of Donald Trump's "Trump Model Management' girls! (if the Miss Universe crown proves elusive to her). The red color is a stand-out choice for Kerstin. The draped chiffon bust style is fabulous and "Grecian-Goddess"-like. I also love the just-the-right-amount of sequined straps, to give it that touch of "Pageant Elegance". P.S.: She looks very "Taylor Swift" in this gown.
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No. 4: Miss St. Lucia Universe 2011 Joy-Ann Biscette--You. Go. Girl! This is one of those gowns that I am sure "Pageant People" will be all "a-twitter" about and either be on the "Love It" or "Hate It". I LOVE IT!!! The bubblegum pink (there it is again!) is GA-GA-Gorgeous on her and I give her MAJAH points for choosing such a "Haute Couture Runway"-like directional style. Therefore, she makes my Top Four!!! Not so sure about those scalloped edges of her peplum (should have been straight just like the top section), but other than that: You Go Girl Miss St. Lucia!
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No. 3: Miss Venezuela Universe 2011 Vanessa Goncalves--One of my favorites in this color-group of gowns (there were lots!). This is a perfect Red Carpet-worthy gown that one could see at the Oscars, Emmys, etc. Things I Love: The delicate crystals throughout the dress, the interesting godet, cascading organza pieces from the thigh down, the shoulder twisted-knot detail. Also, there's no HOOCHIE slit ANYWHERE and the Mermaid-shape fits her impeccably. There's delicacy and grandeur in this gown: Muy Bien Vanessa! My Almost-Almost Favorite!
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No. 2: Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2011 Viviana Ortiz--Yes kids, Viviana Ortiz and her gown make it to the No. TWO spot on my "Evening Gown Portrait" Best Countdown!! The shape, color, fabrication: All of it is absolute perfection! All she needs is the crown. It also looks expensive and almost custom. I would be surprised if it was not from one of those top Puerto Rican or Venezuelan-based designers who are so much in demand these days. This is NOT a $499 gown from a store kids (or at least it shouldn't be!). Even her styling and hair were just right: No over-accessorizing and no BIG Bouffant "Real Housewives of New Jersey" hair. Bellisima!
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No. 1: Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella--But my Favorite of these Miss Universe 2011 Evening Gown Portraits was definitely Miss USA. First, let's begin with the fact that she is STUNNING! OK, now that we got that out of the way, we can discuss her gown choice. Very now, very "Red Carpet", and very "Runway Model" and NOTHING, ZERO, NADA Pageantry about it!! No cheap diamantes, no too-high slits (thank you Alyssa!). I love the golden lame look of the fabrication, the diagonally pleated bust and side details as well as the "Mermaid-Lite" shape. In one word: Sublime.