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Manila Standary Today - June 7, 2008 - Philippine Fashion Week 2008 Review

Designers Inc.
Manila Standary Today - June 7, 2008 - Philippine Fashion Week 2008 Review

By Ed Biado

Philippine Fashion Week ’08 gave 120 designers the chance to spotlight their work and place them under public scrutiny. Who made the grade, who failed, and is there still a future for Philippine designers? Below is our take on what, in our opinion, is the noisiest non-noisemaker of the year.

The opening catwalk is a sort-of preview to what the whole run will be all about. The designers had one look each (presumably, the strongest ones) and immediately, there were some hits and misses. First impact wow was provided by Janno Farrales’ RTW, Julius Tarog’s nude-lined black sheer piece and Kenneth Chua’s ultra-fierce white number. Other standouts were Dax Bayani, Ruby Castrodes and Yako Reyes.

There were a few other notable designs. Aside from that, it was mostly a blur of same-old-same-old.

The best of the best

Thankfully, the ante was slightly upped in the following days with the luxury and experimental collections. Arnold Galang’s fabulous high necks, leggings and ruffles were vampy and definitely the ones to beat. Jay Sustiguer glamorized with an Egyptian-looking caped drape, laces, linens and royal shades of puce and yellow. A breath of fresh air was provided by the geometric sculpting and fresh construction ideas of Mich Dulce. A hooded piece in nude by Mitzi Quilendrino-Bustos was also worthy of an applause.

Brian Leyva’s luxe collection had fantastically great looks that were varied but unified. Dodgie Batu had at least two worthy ensembles, both high waist pants. His male version, complete with a shirt and blazer, was simply fabulous. Edgar Allan exaggerated his proportions and the outcome was lovely. One of his looks had a giant bow smacked right at the middle of the torso and surprisingly, it worked.

Allan and Edgar San Diego had similar directions. But obviously, the former executed better. San Diego’s easy breezy version utilizing light colors lacked the drama and emotions possessed by Allan’s line. Jaki Penalosa, on the other hand, had outstanding instances with his tribal-printed abaca dresses. However, it was Tina Daniac who provided the edgy statements.

Triumphant in incorporating many details without being a mistake was Gener Gozum. June Pugat introduced drama with superior fabric combinations. Nholie Pilapil and Noe Reyes both highlighted on denim and were victorious in doing so. Forecasting the future of fashion were Norman Noriega with asymmetrical cuts, Pier Lim with a play on silhouettes, Donn Delantar with strategic imperfect elements, Regine Dulay with abstract cuts and the duo of John and Paul Herrera with robotic designs.

Fashion on acid

Meanwhile, the trend that dictated the new designers show was tame avant-garde. It was sort of RTW but not practically wearable. One would think that the up-and-coming are all about being edgy. This lot proved otherwise, displaying a “something old, something new, something borrowed” vision.

Ciege Cagalawan did everything expected of a rookie designer. It was fashion on acid on crack on ecstasy! Animal prints, pop art-esque colors, varied looks—it was marvelous! Respectable pieces also came out of Gretchen Pichay (with a detailed chiffon look), Marc Rancy (who had seven great looks out of 10), Lizanne Cua (with a tailored men’s trench) and Gerswin Cua (whose Indian princess look was just divine).

Bringing in some Marc Jacobs on steroids was Patrick Galang, who succeeded in constructing new silhouettes for some pieces and appreciated low-key elegance to others. He worked with different complementing patterns and juxtapositions while paying homage to the beauty of the female form. His best look is the last one, a perfectly assembled zip-up look. Galang stole the show!

Fantastic wearable and functional fashions were most welcome as they walked down Julius Tarog and M Barretto’s runway. With a noble mix of day and nighttime looks, their premier collection shows collectively epitomize chic, urban and sexy. For menswear, it was a good show generally. Intertwining bright and dark colors from Odelon Simpao, plaid and patchwork from Manelle Chamian, a pair of trunks with stitches from Simon Ariel Vasquez and metrosexual bags from Yako Reyes were the standouts.

For prêt a porter, the overall feel was candy striper. It was a pretty good show. Well, you can’t really go wrong with ready-to-wear. Striped yellows from Eddie Castro, hot pink from Farrales, more pinks from Marichu Tan, a splash of colorful hues from Protacio Empaces Jr. and muted ones from Tippi Ocampo and Ziggy Savella corroborated the candy sweetness.

The truly outstanding looks came from Martin Bautista, who didn’t go with the cotton candy bunch. His tight consistent set of purples and blacks were just glamorous and fashion-forward. A comparable palette was seen from Pia Gladys Perey, who infused periwinkle with black. Meanwhile, Don Protacio used different sizes of polka and Jona Ballaran derived inspiration from the safari.

Not quite the best

Raoul Ramirez’s solo show merited mixed reviews. Blameless looks include a disco-ball shirtdress, the entire second part (of five) and one outfit that looked like Catwoman in body paint. Some were overdone with juxtapositions and embellishments while some were just confusing.

Manelle Chamian, who came up with a relatively okay anthology, had a shining moment with a black and red plaid printed look. Candy colors from Odelon Simpao were acceptable, but not really “traditionally” wearable. Jeffrey Rogador, Happy Andrada, Richard Papa, Delby Bragais, Benjie Panizales and Twinkle Ferraren both had a strong point of view but didn’t execute as strongly. The results were pleasant, but not overwhelming.

Edwin Tan is a master tailor, but his collection was just a little bland, while Oliver Tolentino and Jonathan Manilag’s evening wear was just too familiar. Renee Salud was 50-50 with old Hollywood glamour. Joel Escober produced a great collection, except for an unforgivable pale yellow drape that had an unappealing silhouette with scattered metallic embellishments.

With the not so good comes the bad. Ronald Lirio’s 10-look moment was not cohesive. His unexpected fabric combinations didn’t work. Reian Mata’s culture-mixing with patterns and colors was a little weird. Pencil Diestra’s violet ensemble and John Paras’ all-black seemed to have some trouble with the fit while Dimple Lim’s offerings were nothing new.

Unflattering looks were seen from Angelo Estera, Delby Bragais, Eric de los Santos and Kat Sy. Nolie Vineza, who stitched an assortment of patterns, ended up with pieces that looked like quilts. Gionna Cabrera’s mahogany bag line was just weird. Nikki Sonico’s pieces seemed overdone, over-constructed, mostly confusing and poorly fitted. The misplaced oval pop-out on an Alodia Cecilia tube dress was almost scary. Roel Rosal attempted to do avant-garde but didn’t quite get there. Benjie Manuel’s looks involved pleats, ruching and ornaments that were too cluttered and didn’t fit well.

So, what does the future hold for Philippine fashion? Stay tuned next week for the trends that dominated Philippine Fashion Week ’08. Of course, there’s going to be the good, the bad, the overused, the ones to stay and the ones we never want to see again. Until then!


This is my first ever newspaper review! :) haha!

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