LOOK of Style updates the ‘maria clara’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022



This year’s LOOK of Style Awards challenges fashion designers to give the maria clara a contemporary twist. The accessories finalists are tasked to create pieces that showcase Filipino talent through local techniques and indigenous materials.


Presented by LOOK Magazine, Inquirer Lifestyle and the British Council, the LOOK of Style Awards is on its fifth year. It supports young Filipino designers by giving them a public platform on which to present their designs and creative visions.


Most importantly it gives them the opportunity to study in London and be mentored by industry professionals.


While previous winners took up short courses at Central Saint Martins, this year’s winners will be sent to the London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA) on an all-expense-paid trip.


Notable bag designer and main judge Amina Aranaz-Alunan will grant an accessories finalist of her choice a design scholarship at SoFA Design Institute.


Other judges are Joyce Makitalo, Emi Jorge and Kai Lim of Cura V, LCCA director of international fashion studies Claire Ritchie, British Council Philippines arts manager Monique Regalado, College of Saint Benilde fashion design and merchandising program consultant Lulu Tan-Gan, and Fashion Design Council of the Philippines president JC Buendia.


The LOOK of Style Awards is presented with Hana Shampoo, Champion Infinity, SM Accessories and LCCA.


Sponsors are Fashion is Great, Uber, Max Factor, Z Salon, Coca-Cola and Victoria Visual.


On this spread, finalists show the designs they will present during the finals on Nov. 12 at Buddha-Bar.




Xioti Chiu


“I was inspired with the life of Maria Clara so I’ve incorporated some ensembles from that era into our generation. I improvised with the type of saya, pañuelo and baro.”


Bengt Enrique


“The collection will be sharp, streamlined and, in a way, minimal… My main concept for the woven textiles in this collection is paper… I will also be utilizing ready-made textiles that possess paper-like qualities such as taffeta, cotton twill, and crêpe.”


Jinggo Inoncillo


“Instead of recreating the maria clara, I decided to focus on the parts that made up the whole by focusing on each detail like the bell sleeves, the pañuelo and the tapis.”


Exur Lopena


“The overall look is a mix of modern, youthful, and off-duty style with pattern play and fabric manipulation.”


Daryl Maat


“My collection is inspired by weaving and the layering of a maria clara dress (the pañuelo, camisa, saya and tapis). The fabrics that I’m using are neoprene, gazar and tweed. I’m using neoprene because of its ready-to-wear feel and by weaving it with gazar, I’m creating a play between matte and shiny.”


Viña Romero


“Perfectly tailored yet loose and easy are the appropriate words to describe the collection. The characteristic of the traditional wearer of the maria clara is still in mind during the entire design process. This is the reason why every piece is designed to make modern women look sexy without the need to wear skintight and skin-baring clothes.”


RJ Santos


“From the traditional form, I repurposed some of the parts like the pañuelo and turned it into the hem of a jacket; the lace detailing and scallop details I turned into colorful patches that serve as neckline for some of the looks. It is about looking at the past and creating something that is more apt and relatable to my brand and clients.”


Ron Santos


“The collection is about recreating the Filipiniana and translating it into street wear… It is inspired by minimalist and architectural aesthetics.”


Eugene Tidalgo


“The collection is inspired by Fernando Amorsolo’s ‘The Palay Maiden,’ which shows a girl holding a bundle of palay—a visual depiction of a lady looking elegant despite toiling away in the fields… I applied the key elements of the maria clara on leather and wool to be able to reintroduce it to the younger generation, to show it is not just a costume, and that our traditional craftsmanship is relevant and timeless in this era.”


Mike Yapching


“The collection plays with transparency, which I think should be vital in each and everyone’s perspective… I toned down the sleeves but still retained the volume, the saya is stripped of its fullness but instead borrowing the silhouette of the barrel patadyong and making the baro much sleeker and modern. I intend to do separates as opposed to one-piece dresses, making the collection versatile in a sense that a woman can wear it with other articles of clothing in her closet.”




Meme Dakay


“The collection [embodies] transformation, the metamorphosis from the ideal woman from the past to the modern woman of today. The gems and stones in the necklace depict her delicate femininity and colorful imagination, while the solid brass cuff is a symbol of subtle masculinity.”


Shiela Damalerio


“[I drew from the idea of] nesting bags [to depict] the many aspects of the Filipino woman, who’s sultry and confident. I’ll be using bamboo skin and metal.”


Louie de la Cruz


“My collection features substantial pieces, which embody the fusion of two different ideas: natural elements and industrial components… It is a festive array of indigenous materials, highlighting the carabao hoof, and features other materials such as fish skin, feathers, wood, and capiz shells, dyed and presented in an organic shape. Synthetic rope and crystals give the collection a contemporary appeal while gold-plated brass metal gives a polished finish.”


Christopher Gomez


“My concept defines the Filipino woman in a contemporary lifestyle. I’ll be using iron, nito, and fabric to show the Filipino woman is simple yet intricate and empowered.”


Nere Ku


“My three-piece shoe collection is made of genuine leather, laces and banig, and adorned with gems, crystals and capiz. They can be worn in different ways as well.”


Em Mariano


“The three-piece collection celebrates the victories of a modern woman. How she has bravely transitioned to becoming an indispensable force in the quest for a better society. I have incorporated symbolisms like a lion’s face, spikes, horns, wings, and have used strong and straight lines and pointed stones to highlight successful and independent women. The collection is also eco-friendly as I have recycled and upcycled carabao horns, a waste material resulting from meat production, which takes over a hundred years to decompose.”

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