Neoprene was the ‘it’ fabric | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Cindy Ejercito in Paul Cabral

For fashion watchers, President Aquino’s sixth and final State of the Nation Address Monday afternoon will be known as the year of neoprene, minimally embellished bodices, statement butterfly sleeves, jewel tones and neutrals.

By downplaying details and playing with proportions, some of the country’s designers created day- and age-appropriate takes on Filipiniana wear.

Dawn Zulueta, wife of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo Jr., led this year’s list of impeccably dressed women in a white Cary Santiago neoprene terno. Drama is confined to the huge cabbage rose on the sleeve.

Heart Evangelista, wife of Sen. Chiz Escudero, opted for an Inno Sotto white princess-cut Mikado silk terno with eye-catching sleeves. The  feather appliques on the sleeves were sewn by hand one by one.

Zulueta and Evangelista’s up-dos allowed the sleeves’ design to stand out and frame their lovely faces.

Sen. Grace Poe wore a white silk crepe terno with a gold-trimmed boat neckline by Rajo Laurel. Yellow and gold beadwork and hand painting were confined to the statement sleeves and skirt.

Other fashion-savvy women who made heads turn in neoprene ternos were Fille Cayetano, Maricar Quisumbing and Valenzuela Councilor Shalani Soledad-Romulo.

Cayetano, wife of Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano, stood tall in a beige number with embossed Roman-inspired ornamentation on the sleeves, neckline and bodice. Again, the look was simple, day-appropriate but far from blah.

Quisumbing, wife of Cebu Rep. Luigi Quisumbing, wore Jun Escario’s black and bone creation with cutout details on the sides. The classic dark-and-light combination had a slimming effect on its wearer.

Romulo, wife of Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo,  favored a  bottle green terno with draped bodice and fishtail silhouette.

A pregnant Diwa Rep. Emmeline Aglipay, wife of Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar, opted for a day-appropriate Mikado silk terno in ecru with minimal floral lace applique in black, ecru, taupe and light gray, also by Sotto.

Both designs proved that long dresses could still look interesting and day-appropriate through fabric manipulation and judicious use of details.


But a good number of women who went for more traditional materials and embellishments like beadwork, embroidery, overlay and applique were  able to hold their own.

Leading the “traditionalists” were Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Tootsy Angara, Timi Aquino, Cindy Ejercito, Marga Nograles and Sen. Nancy Binay.

Like in years past, Gomez wore good friend Randy Ortiz’s design—a white embroidered column fashioned from tulle and piña in berry patterns. It was a safe but classic choice that was flattering.

She came with actor-husband Richard Gomez and their teen daughter Juliana Gomez, who  wore a minimally embroidered terno of dove gray tulle and ice blue silk also by Ortiz. To make the look more age-appropriate, Ortiz accented her waist with a tiny bow.

Angara, wife of Sen. Sonny Angara, went for a rather unusual but lovely choice—Laurel’s shimmery two-piece dove-gray terno consisting of a cropped top made of tulle and lace appliqué and full brocade skirt with pockets.

Laurel played with contrasting proportions—fitted blouse and huge skirt. He also opted for cropped butterfly sleeves.

Another fashion plate Stella Quimbo, wife of Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, stood out in an  Escario terno with a skirt made of gray silk gazar and bodice fashioned from such disparate materials as antique metallic obi sash fused with woven Bontoc fabric.

Escario’s unusual combination of non-traditional materials was the  main appeal.

The fair Aquino, wife of Sen. Bam Aquino, glowed in Noel Crisostomo’s silk chiffon terno in white and butter yellow with minimal beadwork and lace appliques on the waist. The figure-friendly silhouette  flattered the new mother’s figure.

Never mind if she chose to wear an evening terno. The tall and svelte Ejercito, wife of Sen. JV Ejercito, was one woman you couldn’t ignore in Paul Cabral’s black column embellished with Art Deco-inspired beadwork.

Everything about the terno-from workmanship to proportion-flattered Ejercito.

Nograles, wife of Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles, also stood out by paying homage to Mindanao.  Bobby Castillo fashioned a look that fused Mindanao silk with lace overlay.

The look had contrasting textures, interesting and complementary colors and right proportion.

After being panned by netizens last year, Binay drew praises this year in Ortiz’s midnight blue terno, an embroidered column with slimming asymmetric silhouette made of strips of piña and silk tulle.

Binay looked dignified without appearing too somber. And by choosing embroidery over shiny embellishments, Ortiz produced an ideal day-appropriate look for his loyal client.

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