Wearable summerBY JOHANNA D. POBLETE
That people sneer at off-the-rack is silly considering it forms 90% of most person’s wardrobes, and, at least for the practical-minded, ready-to-wear (RTW) can be more valuable than a couture dress so distinctive it can only be worn once in a blue moon. The RTW show on June 2 at Fashion Week 2008 is one argument for the perpetration of style for the masses.
Despite it being the Spring/Summer 2008, at least two out of the 11 designers used black as a major color, although in the case of Martin Bautista, this was used in combination with indigo and shades of purple.
In his bid for minimalism, the clothes were plain, but clung to the body in drapes of silk jersey, sheer tulle, nylon, silk acetate, charmeuse and dull satin. If a lady wanted to be taken seriously by adopting a "mannish" style while also projecting an unmistakable female sexiness, his short skirts and draped gowns would do the trick.
more artsy take on black were the layered pieces of Japanese cotton, takeo weave, Cambodian silk and Vietnam leather assembled by Don Protasio in androgynous outfits (although only the girls actually wore skirts) for waifish women and no-frills men. One wonders at the cardboard cutout camera strung around their necks as the sole accessory; perhaps it’s a declaration that those who wear such clothing prefer to be behind the lens, unobtrusive observers, rather than be the ones in the limelight. The one outfit that seemed out of place — too over-the-top to be ignored — was the puffy retaso-like dress belted with silver at the waist paired with heeled gladiator sandals (a persistent trend on the runway even now).
One of the better statements was made by Protacio Empaces, Jr. who noted that "the future doesn’t have to mean sci-fi" and citing that his collection was "all about facing the future with great optimism, about humanity coming to terms with the beauty of nature."
He opted for organic and recyclable fabrics in nature-inspired colors and embroidered with flora and fauna or constellations. Some of his pieces were a bit too stiff on the body and needed a bit more sculpting, but otherwise the idea was well-implemented.
Ziggy Savella goes cool in stripes (left) and Skirt power by Ruby Castrodes (right). Long, flowing dresses were popular, as in the case of Janno Farrales who showed a plunging blue dress in jersey with a wide band of white striped with a single strip of black for a belt, as well as a strapless tube of blue tucked into a high-waist skirt in white.
Jona Ballaran also joined the craze over safari-inspired outfits, but more successfully than most, particularly in a yellow green printed V-necked long gown belted by a brown leather obi with three buckled clasps.
The designers with a knack for unusual detailing included Marichu Tan-Geson, who folded and wove fabrics to incorporate at the neckline, hemline and bodice or all the way down the front of her magenta, fuchsia, yellow and blue dresses.
Pia Gladys Perey fashioned flat wooden accessories — belts and necklaces — that added distinction to her "Parisian romantic chic" draped pieces. But to this writer at least, one outfit of black draped pants and hooded long sleeved shirt, overlaid by a pink tank, looked more Arabian than French.
Ruby Castrodes probably had the most fun piecing together her collection, and the audience couldn’t help but be uplifted by the color and jaunty prints in her slew of summer dresses, which adopted various skirt styles — pouf, pleated, bubble, mini-length on shift dresses, even a modified circle skirt with a petticoat.
Resort wear was minimalist and tailored preppy for Ziggy Savella, whose only detailing for his separates was stripes in red and blue and green.
Yellow belonged to Eddie Castro, whose twist on nautical style substituted the bright color for austere navy in his cotton knits for men and women.
On the other hand, Tippi Ocampo had a romantic, floating-on-air view of island life, with her dresses made of jusi and cheesecloth sporting kimono or batwing sleeves hitting mid-thigh. The most distinctive detailing was a diamond-shaped weave made into a halter or obi and paired with skirts or relaxed pants.
Overall, it was a good showing for RTW in the Philippines.