In fashion shows, 2012 produced eagerly anticipated galas, from “veteran first-timers” like JC Buendia and Francis Libiran to tried-and-tested draws like Cary Santiago.
The year 2012 also marked the homecoming show of London-based Filipino designer Lesley Mobo, now the creative director of venerable British ready-to-wear brand Ghost. (Mobo last staged a show in Manila more than four years ago.)
Although Buendia has been designing clothes for more than two decades now, it was only in August that he held his first gala show.
Dubbed “JC Buendia: 25th,” the designer—known for his clean, tailored and feminine lines—channeled looks of such fashion icons as Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Wallis Simpson and Diana Vreeland.
He was also inspired by such films and TV shows as “Downton Abbey,” “Rear Window,” “Sabrina,” even the Madonna-directed “W.E.”
Influences from his fashion idols such as Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga were also evident in tailored pieces that were either sculptural or fresh takes of wasp-waisted dresses reminiscent of Dior’s “New Look.”
Instead of silk chiffon, he used tulle, taffeta, silk gazar, French lace and silk abaca.
It was Libiran’s turn to shine last September with “100, the Francis Libiran Fashion Gala.”
His 70-piece collection was inspired by elements at Manila Hotel, including the hotel’s iconic chandeliers and wrought iron works.
He wove these elements into seven segments that showed his expertise in layering, combining linear patterns and sheer fabrics, cutouts and embroidery.
Each segment’s color scheme was dictated by his inspiration. For the fourth segment, which Libiran dubbed the mother-of-pearl collection, he used graduating shades from pink to old rose, magenta to grape, following colors and patterns found in the Maynila ballroom.
The designer combined materials such as piña, both plain and embroidered, tulle and silk organdy. Some gowns had mother-of-pearl embellishments.
After featuring such celebrated Middle East-based Filipino talents as Furne One and Michael Cinco, the annual Red Charity Gala produced by Kaye Tinga and Inquirer Lifestyle’s Tessa Prieto-Valdes lived up to expectations by featuring Cebu’s Cary Santiago.
Like One and Cinco, Santiago gained experience in the Middle East. But unlike the two, Santiago opted to come home years ago to cater to a growing Cebu clientele.
Comparisons were thus in order, and Santiago more than held his own with a 35-piece origami-inspired collection.
He had signature techniques such as the wrought-iron-like rococo metalwork, and generated surprises to thrill guests, many of whom were his loyal clients.
Mobo ended October with a bang. As the first featured designer in the Colours Gala, another fashion show for a cause produced by Tinga, Mobo collaborated with leading stage talents, including fashion director Ariel Lozada, to turn the huge Arena in Pasay City into a venue for a formal dinner-slash-fashion show.
Everything about the show, from the venue to Mobo’s unorthodox collection, could be summed up in one word: reinvention.
Downplaying his tailoring skills and preference for masculine fabric—Mobo pulled off the evening’s biggest surprise.
As if all that layering and juxtaposition of textures weren’t enough, he made his pieces more interesting by incorporating strategic and figure-flattering ruffles, ruches, drapes, tiers and pleats. His sense of proportion showed even through the layering.
Although Frederick Peralta’s June show wasn’t as big and as celebrated as those of his colleagues, it was equally noteworthy for its attempt to combine fashion with art.
In “Artes,” Peralta and painter Dominic Rubio drew inspiration from each other’s works in a rare art exhibit-fashion show. In their different mediums, the two artists share one thing: a love of elaborate, Filipiniana-inspired fashion that harks back to the colonial era.
While Rubio expresses this fascination on canvas with his signature elongated human figures in intricate native finery, Peralta has live models in heavily beaded, embroidered, tiered and layered creations.
Peralta had ternos, stylized Maria Clara dresses and barongs made of piña, lace, cotton, tulle and Issey Miyake-inspired crinkled silk.
Two big shows
Inquirer Lifestyle and Look Magazine staged two shows: “Face-Off Filipino Bridal Collection 2012” and Look of Style “Most Promising Designer” Awards.
Bridal gowns that were equally elegant and stylish on the aisles as they were on the red carpet were foremost on the minds of 40 designers in this year’s biggest fashion show of its kind.
Leading “Face-Off” were veterans Auggie Cordero, Lulu Tan-Gan, Nolie Hans, Philip Rodriguez, Mike dela Rosa, Efren Ocampo, Loretto Popioco and Gregg Centeno.
Joining them were Randy Ortiz, Rajo Laurel, Cary Santiago, Ivar Aseron, Joey Samson, Noel Crisostomo, Ronaldo Arnaldo, James Reyes, Hindy Webber-Tantoco, Rhett Eala, Jun Escario, JC Buendia, Yvonne Quisumbing, Vic Barba, Patrice Ramos-Diaz, Arcy Gayatin, Oj Hofer, Tonichi Nocom and Dennis Lustico.
The new generation of designers held their own: Pablo Cabahug, Veejay Floresca, Jerome Lorico, Joel Escober, Jerome Salaya Ang, Kristel Yulo, Chris Diaz, Martin Bautista, Sassa Jimenez, Vania Romoff and Eric de los Santos.
Best of the newbies
Before the year ended, young designer Roland Alzate, 27, bested nine other newbies to win the Look of Style Awards in November. As part of his prize, Alzate will receive an all-expense-paid trip to London sponsored by the British Council to attend a one-week fashion design course at the prestigious Central Saint Martins.
Alzate presented short, fitted dresses with three distinct looks. His strongest piece was a cream and pink number made of piña and rayon following Aklan’s ringge weaving technique.
Details were confined to the dress’ lower half, which echoed the look of woven solihiya. Unlike the bottom part, which was made of piña and rayon, the top part was made from recycled jusi from an old wedding gown.”
This year’s finalists from Manila were Vania Romoff, Renan Pacson and Roxanne Hoey. Hanz Coquilla, Rey Villegas and Mike Yapching represented Cebu, while Jun Artajo, Ivan Raborar and Joao Tarepe represented Davao.