We live in a world that’s always in a hurry. We’re all about instant information, immediate correspondence, and even fast fashion.
Yet with “Summer Solstice,” a fashion show at The Gallery of the Ayala Center Cebu’s new expansion, the Fashion Council of Cebu (FCC), composed of Cebu’s premier design talents Philip Rodriguez, Arcy Gayatin, Jun Escario, Oj Hofer, Cary Santiago, Edwin Ao, Yvonne Quisumbing, Ditas Rodriguez, Philipp Tampus and Albert Arriba, reminded us that the most beautiful things aren’t made overnight.
As members of the FCC presented their carefully curated Spring-Summer 2014 collections, they made the case for why well-crafted bespoke clothing still has a place in this age of disposable fashion.
The show, directed by Junjet Primor, opened with Arcy Gayatin’s three female models strutting to an instrumental rendition of the Bon Jovi rock anthem “It’s My Life” by the Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra, which played for the show. Gayatin’s collection featured jersey separates in cool sea foam green. Long, fluid dresses were artfully draped and worn over pants, one pair with a cummerbund, hinting at tuxedo dressing.
“I also incorporated hand-beading, inspired by the shape of the fern leaf on the dresses and trousers. They are my tongue-in-cheek ode to summer,” the designer says. Gayatin’s women are exactly how every woman wants or ought to look—fresh and pretty but powerful.
Intimate beach affair
Another female point of view came courtesy of Yvonne Quisumbing. “The fabrics I used are light and summer-friendly—crepe, chiffon, cotton lace and cotton twill. The pieces in my collection are something you would wear to an intimate beach affair in the evening,” she says.
What’s great about Quisumbing’s pieces for “Summer Solstice,” as with her designs in general, is that you don’t have to wait for that one special occasion to wear them. Her pieces will elevate, but fit right into a woman’s day-to-day wardrobe. We’ll gladly make room in ours for her opening number, a clever interpretation of the T-shirt dress with geometric cut-outs at the hem.
Meanwhile, FCC’s youngest and newest recruit, Edwin Ao, remained true to his androgynous aesthetic. He says, “The collection revolved around the men’s suit—its materials and how it’s constructed. It started out with the idea of using the inner lining for a men’s suit as main fabric for the collection. The concept of exaggerated proportions is evident in the collection, from the menswear-inspired shirt to the wide-leg pants. Aside from using acetate lining, I also used plaid wool crepe and printed silk as accents.”
Another showcase of impeccable tailoring was the collection of the distinctly singular OJ Hofer, who had Daphne Guinness traipsing through temples in Myanmar in mind while designing his collection, which featured a draped sheath dress and a dramatic opera coat, both in burnt-orange silk taffeta. He adds, “My chic traveler needed all the accoutrements—a wengue wood minaudiere from Neil Felipp San Pedro and strands of South Sea pearls from Jewelmer.”
If Hofer’s color story was of a blazing orange sunset, Jun Escario’s was of a cotton candy-colored sky, to which Doro Barandino’s striped butter yellow and green astro-turf stage provided the perfect backdrop. “I made three very easy and comfortable pieces in light sorbet colors. The strawberry and lemon evening gowns are done in Italian crepe, and the bubble-gum-blue trapeze evening gown is in silk chiffon,” says Escario who, while based in Manila, still comes home regularly to Cebu.
Another national success who still calls Cebu home is Cary Santiago, who showcased a collection that was inspired by the era in fashion he probably references the most, the 1950s. “My summer evening wear collection was done mostly in Italian satin, and I worked with an all-black palette,” he says.
We may not always associate black with summer, but we are no longer bound by such rules as no white after Labor Day. Besides, if anyone had earned his right to break the rules, it was Santiago.
Also presenting evening wear was Albert Arriba, whose fondness for red-carpet dressing was evident in his decadent pieces. He says, “On one gown I used guipure lace with silk chiffon and rhinestone accents, while the rest of my pieces are made of French lace with Egyptian-inspired patterns.”
Cebuano institution Philip Rodriguez ended the show. “My collection is in lime green and radiant orchid, featuring sheer and asymmetrical bubble skirts. The accessories and minaudieres are by Anne Ong, an accessories designer whose pieces are now available at Filippo, my retail store in Ayala Center Cebu,” he tells us.
The collection suggested the eclectic, with foundations rooted in the classics. The details were rich, the fabrics lush, and it occurred to us that fast fashion can’t quite satisfy all our wardrobe wants just yet.