Who were Ramon Valera’s fashion icons? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

“PORTRAIT of an Oligarch,” owned by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), is actually Imelda Cojuangco’s portrait that she turned down, believing it did not look like her. It was later on bought by Jimmy Laya for the BSP Collection

Your mantra for the week:

“I can image it, therefore, I can have it.”




“PORTRAIT of an Oligarch,” owned by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), is actually Imelda Cojuangco’s portrait that she turned down, believing it did not look like her. It was later on bought by Jimmy Laya for the BSP Collection
“PORTRAIT of an Oligarch,” owned by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), is actually Imelda Cojuangco’s portrait that she turned down, believing it did not look like her. It was later on bought by Jimmy Laya for the BSP Collection

There is only one God, one Life, one Mind, and you live and move and have your being in this one Power. You are one with this Power and this God is one with you. This one Power resides within you. It is in that kingdom of heaven within. When you truly realize this, you will understand that you create and mold and fashion your own destiny. Through the use of your imaging power, you create your destiny.


Have a vision


“Without a vision, the people perish,” according to the Holy Book, which simply means you should have a vision of the life you want.


Image now your perfect healthy body, the body you desire and long to have. See it as your body now—perfectly healthy with the perfect weight and perfect measurements filled with vitality, vigor and enthusiasm. It is the perfect vehicle for your soul in this lifetime. See it serving you well, allowing you to do the things you love to do. Image it always healthy—all the days of your life. Know that anything unlike God has been dissolved.


Image yourself now with all the money you desire to have in your life. It is right before you. You can touch it. You can feel it. It is yours and it comes from the One Source. All the good in the universe comes from God, and you are grateful for all the abundance you now have. You can see yourself spending your money wisely, sharing it intelligently and for money spent constructively and creatively comes back increased and multiplied.


Image yourself now with all loving and harmonious relationships in your life. Divine Order reigns in all your relationships. You are no longer judging, blaming and complaining about anyone in your life. You have set them free and you, too, are set free.


Image yourself contributing to the good of humanity, being of service to as many people as possible, touching lives, enriching them, prospering them, truly co-creating greater good with

Priscilla de la Fuente Sison at age 13
Priscilla de la Fuente Sison at age 13

God—truly an instrument of love.


Image yourself now the way you’ve longed to be. See yourself as a perfect you, the you that you desire, and see yourself succeeding in all your endeavors. You are prospering exceedingly because God is your supply and it is endless. Envision yourself expressing all your talents and all your abilities for they are there for you to use, to express. You are now doing what you love to do, divinely happy, divinely prospered.


Image yourself facing all your challenges with courage, with ease, finding solutions at all times, making the perfect decisions, always for the highest good of all concerned. And whenever you are faced with a big challenge, always claim, “Nothing but good can come out from this.”


Fashion Hall of Fame


As my year-ender in this merriest season of the year, I am writing about the Fashion Guild of the Philippines’ Five Original Hall of Famers.


In the early 1960s, Ramon Valera, National Artist for Fashion Design, chose the 10 Best Dressed annually. Those who made it for three consecutive years were promoted to the Hall of Fame of Fashion.


AMORSOLO’S portrait of Priscilla Sison
AMORSOLO’S portrait of Priscilla Sison

There were only five who made it to the list: my mother Prissy; another Priscilla (Chona Kasten); Elvira Manahan; Imelda Cojuangco and Baby Fores. The first four all modeled for Valera in his legendary fashion shows.


There were some years that the following ladies also made it to the Best-Dressed List: Chito Madrigal-Collantes, Fe Dolor Serrano, Remy Arguelles, Celine Heras, Nelly Lovina, Mercy Tuason, Letty Montelibano, Lily de las Alas Padilla, Minnie Osmeña, Stella Araneta and Precy Lopez-Psinakis, among others.


After martial law, there have been a myriad of best-dressed lists that have come out and have been used for fund-raising purposes. Those who made it oftentimes had to buy tables or donate generously to whatever charity was to benefit from the presentation. In my opinion, very personal, these were fashion shows to show off the personal wardrobe of the “chosen ones.” I do not mean that they did not deserve the title, but it is rather “tainted” by having to buy tables for the occasion.


I have made my choices and will announce their names next month, which is the birth month of my mother. These ladies have no inkling that I picked them for my Sison’s List and each will be awarded with a trophy that I have called “Priscilla,” to honor my mother who is the person I love most in the world.


Valera used the following as his criteria in making his choices: “They are meticulous in their clothes from cloth materials to the smallest stitch in the hemline; they all own originals from

CHONA Kasten by Amorsolo
CHONA Kasten by Amorsolo

world-famous houses of fashion in Paris, Italy and the United States; each one is equipped with a bank account that could easily launch a thousand gowns a year; all are endowed with good looks and a trim figure; general grooming which includes hairstyle, shoes, bags and jewelry.”


These women knew “how to choose their things to go with their dresses. Everything is just right in anything they wear. They do not have to be coached or advised by any couturier about what to wear and with what. They instinctively know what to pick out.”




Basically I am using the same criteria minus “owning originals from abroad” because our local couturiers can more than provide gowns and dresses that can even outdo the imported ones. But this does not mean that my choices do not own internationally branded ones.


I have added visibility as a criterion because in today’s café society, whose membership has ballooned to thousands since the original Manila’s 400, visibility becomes an important factor. I’m sure that there are many who dress well but are not exposed enough to be noticed.


THE TWO Priscillas in Malacañang
THE TWO Priscillas in Malacañang

The only qualification I have is that I grew up from my early teens surrounded by the best-dressed women in what was known as Manila’s 400, composed of 40 of those considered Buena Familia. (Please refer to my previous column dated Feb. 9, 2014 for the list.)


Notice that all fashion Hall of Famers belong to these families. In addition, I consulted with four well-established fashion designers, a blogger of fashion, and a popular stylist. I am sure none of them will disagree with my eight final choices.


A lady in the finest sense


Why the Priscilla Statuette? Siony Lopez-Bantug, who is a grandniece of national hero Jose Rizal, is a first cousin of my mother. She and my mom were very close that she promised to make her maid of honor on her wedding day. “But your mother had eloped earlier than my marriage plans,” she said. “By the way, I was not surprised when your mother became a fashion icon. At the age of 10, she was already choosing her own wardrobe, including all accessories, to the surprise of all her relatives.”


Furthermore, this is what literary icon Rosalinda “Baby” Orosa had written about my mom: “Although a lady is always a woman, a woman is not always a lady. Priscilla “Prissy” de la Fuente Sison is, of course, a lady in the finest sense.


“She was both gentle and genteel, soft-spoken, poised and refined. Furthermore, she was soigné: chic and elegant. In the well-heeled circles she moved in, her behavior was never unseemly, never offensive to finer sensibilities. Everything that she did had a touch of class or nobility.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.