NOTEWORTHY: This Is How You Do Pageant Photography

It is that time of year again when the most successful national pageant in the world, Miss Venezuela, gets underway. The unveiling of the official photos of this year’s contestants reveals the reason for the success of Osmel Sousa’s enterprise. Venezuela always manages to take the contest to new heights, this year through photography.


Miss Venezuela photographer Alejandro Lee captures the imagination which images that look made right on the (IMG) Miss Universe stage.

Everything is on point, the styling, the shoes and the retro swimsuits, which highlight the hourglass figures.

It shows the care and attention to detail that goes into the planning of the Miss Venezuela pageant and the performance of their winners internationally.

Regretfully, most national pageants chose to hate rather than emulate the Miss Venezuela Organization. Yet, nothing succeeds like success!



Another welcome deviation from the Bling Wars, is this creation by Pinoy designer Mark Bumgarner. It is smashing, as it does not contain any decoration. This allows the simplicity of the material to highlight the design, a modern interpretation of a timeless classic. As worn by newly crowned Miss World Philippines 2017, it could have been a masterclass in evening gown presentation. Sadly, she chose to wear this beautiful creation with the most inappropriate footwear, cheapening the overall look.


What did we Learn from our MASTERCLASSES on the Best Gown Looks of the 65th Miss Universe Pageant?

  • the Miss Universe title is won in a bespoke creation by a proper designer, never in an off the rack knock off by a so-called “fashion house”
  • find the classic shape that will highlight your best features and then look for a unique fabric
  • wear elegant shoes that fit with and complement your gown
  • hairstyles should be elegantly simple
  • keep your neck unencumbered
  • do not overaccesorise
  • stay away from too much bling

MASTERCLASS: The Best Gown Look of the 65th Miss Universe Pageant’s Preliminary Competition

It is time to present the Best Gown Look of the 65th Miss Universe pageant, not only of the Preliminary competition. Coupled with an masterful catwalk presentation, this gown set Iris Mittenaere well on her way to winning the title of Miss Universe.

Indeed, the Best Gown Look of the 65th Miss Universe pageant belongs to


Its unusual colour made Iris’ gown stand out in a sea of same-olds and its shape was perfect to showcase the future Miss Universe’s hourglass figure and gorgeous shoulders. The choice of shoes, hairstyle and accessories complemented the elegance and class of the gown and Iris’ catwalk and poses were simply ideal for this unique gown.

Iris looked ready for the red carpet of all the major award ceremonies and even the Met Gala. Or as it turns out, to win the Miss Universe crown.

This presentation gave us an indication of what we are now seeing, that Iris Mittenaere will be one of the, if not the, most stylish and fashion forward Misses Universe of the last 20 years.

MASTERCLASS: The Third Best Gown Look of the 65th Miss Universe Pageant’s Preliminary Competition

The recently concluded 65th edition of the Miss Universe pageant, now under ownership of WME/IMG, encompassed a redefinition of the brand.

The gowns worn by the contestants in the competition however, defy redefinition. The Miss Universe stage should be the showcase for elegant, fashion forward creations by up and coming designers from around the world. Yet this year once again, the majority of contestants wore dresses that you would only see in a pageant or at a prom.

A select group of contestants though, did manage to present red carpet looks suitable for the most elegant and classy events.

We are presenting to you the five gown looks that we consider pushed the envelope in the right direction during the Preliminary competition of the latest Miss Universe pageant.

In third place we have:


Isabel Dalley, the second Caribbean queen to make our list, is truly a Lady in Red in this exquisite creation, complemented by the ideal hairstyle and accessorised with suitable earrings and footwear.

How would we improve on this look?

The feathers are really not needed and diminish the elegance.



The idea to use so-called nude shoes to create the illusion of height came from the movies. It was found that being unable to tell where Ginger Rogers’ legs ended made her appear taller in her dance sequences. This trick was taken over by other actresses and eventually became popular in beauty pageants.


The illusion is to make someone who is at a distance, like a judge, see “leg” when they should already see “shoe”. To achieve this “trompe-l’oeil”, the best nude shoe is one that is closed-toe, made of natural or suede, NEVER patent, leather, in a colour that closely matches the colour of your own skin.JIMM-WZ10_V2 copy It is not always easy to find a perfect colour match. Therefore, if your skin is darker than the shoe you should get the nude shoes and dye them to a colour that is close to your own skin colour. If your skin colour is lighter than the shoe, buy white ones and have them dyed appropriately.

In recent years, nude platform shoes and sandals have become wildly popular, supposedly with the intention of creating the illusion of height. In a swimwear round though, platform footwear will have the opposite effect. Rather than making the feet disappear, they actually draw attention to them.

For any type of platform footwear to work as a way to create the illusion of height, the shoes must be invisible. This means they must only be used in the evening wear round and preferably be in the same colour and material as the gown you are wearing.

Even though Miss Universe uses the so-called “tippy tops” in their swimsuit competitions, these shoes are a shorter girl’s worst enemies. If everyone is wearing the same shoes, height differences will be just as visible as without them. If your height is less than 5’7”, these sandals will make you look like you are walking on blocks and accentuate your real length. Tippy tops truly only look good on the tall girls, those who should not feel the need to create the illusion of more height.

While the Miss Universe contest can be blamed for the popularity of the “tippy tops”, they actually did provide their contestants with the ideal footwear during their 1997 contest, as can be seen in the picture below, even though the shoe colour was not always a perfect match.

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When selecting footwear for particularly the swimwear competition, make sure that your shoes do not say that you are unhappy with your height. This will definitely tell the judges that you are less than confident with who you are. And that is not a good thing!