Canadian presenter, broadcaster and journalist Camila Gonzalez was placed 1st runner-up in the Miss Universe Canada pageant on the evening of Saturday 18th August, wearing an incredible crystal-covered dress by Columbian designer Fernando Marín.
The champagne-colored dress sparkled brightly under the stage lights, featuring a fabulous combination of Preciosa’s premium MAXIMA quality crystals, including an incredible 15,000 Chaton Roses in Crystal Sunrise hue.
The glitzy event took place in front of a live audience at the Metro Toronto Convention Center for the fourth year running; last year’s winner Lauren Howe had the honor of crowning this year’s champion, Marta Stepien of South Ontario.
Fernando Marin has designed dresses for multiple international beauty pageant contestants in recent years, including Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, who made it to the final of Miss Universe last year. Now recognized as one of the foremost designers in South America and a rising star in the beauty pageant world, we asked him a few questions about what led him down this career path…
Did you always want to be a designer?
Ever since I was a child it was my dream to be the top designer of beauty pageant dresses in my region of Caquetá. So in 2011 I began to study fashion design, and here I am!
What are your favorite materials to work with?
For me, it is a priority to work with special stones with high brilliance, and so I love to work with Preciosa. These crystals bring a touch of luxury to every piece. In our team we say "the blessed crystal" because it is the most important part of the dress. I like the brand because every year there are new colors based on new trends, like the Crystal Sunrise hue that I used for Miss Canada 2018.
Where did you take your inspiration for Camila Gonzalez’ dress?
This dress was inspired by Thai culture, as the next Miss Universe contest will be held in Bangkok. It is a close-fitting dress adorned with more than 15,000 shining Preciosa Sunrise crystals, all of which were glued by hand.
What is your biggest dream as a fashion designer?
I have already fulfilled several of my dreams, for example to dress the queen of my region of Caquetá. Another of my goals was to dress a queen for Miss Universe, and I achieved it last year with Miss Haiti. I used to say that my dream was to be the best designer in Colombia, but I realized that if I achieve that dream, what then?! So now my dream is simply to be one of the best designers in the world.
To keep up with Fernando, you can follow him on Facebook at Fernando Marin ALTA MODA, or on Instagram at fernando_marin_disenador