The evening gown portion of competition in pageantry is known for its elegance and beauty. Finding the perfect gown is tough, but by becoming familiar with pageantry’s hottest designers, you can make gown shopping a little less stressful. We asked you to nominate and vote on your favorite pageant gown designers, and the results are in! Read below to find out which designers made this year’s top 10 list. (Read: How to Find Your Dream Gown Within Your Budget)
Top 10 Pageant Designers of 2016
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10. Gaspar Cruz
Gaspar Cruz has created gowns for titleholders at the local, state and national level. One of his most easily recognizable gowns was worn by Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri – she won both Miss New York 2013 AND Miss America 2014 in it! From the simple beauty of her yellow gown to a full sequin show stopper, Gaspar Cruz can create the perfect gown for any personality.
9. Laine Berry
As Mrs. International 2008, Laine Berry knows a thing or two about what makes an incredible evening gown. She has since designed a high-end pageant gown line for Mon Cheri. Lace, cut-outs, trains and ruffles –these gowns have it all! If you’re looking for a stand-out gown that will surely set you apart from all other contestants, Laine Berry’s collection is perfect for you.
8. Fernando Wong
Fernando Wong has dressed countless pageant contestants and other celebrities, including Toni Braxton, Janet Jackson and the members of Destiny’s Child, just to name a few of his past celebrity clients. His gowns often have features such as low necklines, low backs and high leg slits. Describing his own designs, Wong states that the fit is what sets him apart from other designers, highlighting the fact that many of his designs fit tight on the waist and a little looser on the hips, allowing for the “natural woman” to wear them.
7. Tarik Ediz
Tarik Ediz designs are arguably some of the most unique gowns in the pageant world. With intricate details, often including elaborate beadwork, illusion panels and low back designs, pageant titleholders wearing Tarik Ediz are guaranteed the “Wow” factor. One of the most memorable pageant moments of 2016 was Miss Michigan’s decision to wear a jumpsuit during the evening gown portion of Miss America, designed by – you guessed it – Tarik Ediz! (Read: Miss Michigan 2016 Evening Gown: HIT or MISS?)
6. Juan Carlos Pinera
Often featuring daring neck lines, lace and patterns, designs by Juan Carlos Pinera are sure to leave a lasting impression on the judges. The brand also frequently uses corsets to ensure the perfect fit for each wearer. One of Juan Carlos Pinera’s designs was worn by Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan when she won Miss America!
5. Michael Costello
In my opinion, any designer that is worn by Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé is a definite winner. Costello’s gowns are often solid-colored, and the details are usually in the shape and cut of the gown! Michael Costello is the epitome of high fashion, and his designs are beyond fierce. It’s no wonder he was Nia Sanchez’s designer choice back at Miss USA 2014! (Read: How to Select the Perfect Gown Based on Your Pageant System)
Both in prom and pageantry, Jovani is one of the best-known and most frequently sought after designers. Jovani gowns range from simple to extravagant, often featuring bold colors and a lot of beading. It’s nearly a given that a few of pageantry’s “It” dresses for the year are Jovani styles. Especially with the past year’s “Jovani It Girl” contest, the brand is as popular as ever. (Read: Miss South Carolina 2016 Evening Gown: HIT or MISS?)
3. Gionni Straccia
Gionni Straccia has dressed many high-profile pageant contestants in pageants such as Miss Ecuador, Miss Honduras, Miss Peru, Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Earth. He gained a lot of attention in the mid-2000’s when he dressed two Miss Universes back to back: Miss Universe 2008, Dayana Mendoza, and Miss Universe 2009, Stefanía Fernández (both from his home country of Venezuela)!
A Gionni Straccia gown never bores, as they usually feature big, bold details like ruffles or beading patterns. His most recent major success is dressing our new Miss Teen USA 2016, Karlie Hay! (Read: 3 Casual Appearance Outfits Worn By Miss Teen USA 2016)
2. Mac Duggal
The favorite designer of Miss World America 2016 Audra Mari, as well as countless other titleholders around the world, Mac Duggal designs in the world of pageantry are here to stay. With the addition of Mac Duggal’s daughter, Ienna Duggal, to the brand, there are even more options for gown styles. You can find a Mac Duggal gown with just about anything you could possibly want, including trains, capes, dramatic necklines, swooping backs, slits, velvet… the options are endless!
1. Sherri Hill
It’s no surprise that Sherri Hill is number one on our list – you can find multiple Sherri Hill gowns at nearly any competition. Sherri Hill is a trendsetter, and with the frequency of prints and dramatic details in her designs, her gowns are any pageant girl’s dream. She even dressed Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, at the national pageant! Sherri Hill gowns are top of the line in 21st-century pageantry, and we don’t foresee them losing their appeal anytime soon! (Read: How to Win Miss High School America)
And there you have it, the top 10 pageant gown designers of 2016! Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations for a chance at a spot on this year’s list, and a big congratulations to all of the designers who were voted into the top 10.
Did your favorite designer make the list? If not, or to see it again on our 2017 list, be sure to nominate him/her for a spot at the end of this year!