The center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (Citem), an agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, is spearheading the Philippine participation in the international exhibit Maison & Objet Paris 2016 with a pavilion devoted solely to fashion accessories. There will be 10 Philippine brands.
The country’s showcase, titled “Reimagined Traditions,” will highlight present-day iterations of Philippine jewelry and bag-making, which trace their roots to ancient times.
A landmark exhibit called “Philippines: An Archipelago of Exchange,” held at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris three years ago, showed a collection of traditional cultural Philippine artworks that included an array of accessories with symbolic meanings or that served various functions.
Inspired by the Quai Branly exhibit, the Philippine pavilion in Maison & Objet Paris 2016 showcases 10 local brands that highlight the artistry and diversity of Philippine culture.
Crystal Seas is based in Davao in the Mindanao region, home to the indigenous T’boli people.
The brand borrows the T’boli cloth’s T’nalak patterns for its exhibit presentation, reappropriating the patterns into nonwoven forms. Materials native to Davao—Paua shells, metals, abaca fibers (Manila Hemp), mother-of-pearl, snakeskin—give the pieces a unique sense of place. Mindanao artisans—metalsmiths from one of Davao’s mining towns—will be melding, plating and polishing the various components of Crystal Seas’ jewelry and clutch bags.
From Cebu, recognized as the hub for fashion accessories, will come four brands to showcase an expansive range of Cebu’s jewelry and bag-making traditions.
Avatar CEO Butch Carungay will unveil his company’s reinvention, the ZAI Design Hive, which he says, “aims for a more refined aesthetic combining cutting-edge materials, traditional Philippine craftsmanship and excellent attention to detail—all with the quirky idiosyncrasies that have characterized our work over the years.”
Mia Arcenas’ Spring 2017 collection is inspired by technology and nature, highlighting the designer’s signature materials —brass, shells and resin. Arcenas’ line typifies the contemporary approach of Cebu designers, melding modernity, natural elements and handcraft techniques.
Floreia’s collection is about sustainable fashion—a series of casual jewelry and bags handcrafted using its award-winning, patented materials—Nucast (made from recycled paper products) and Naturecast (made from agro-forest debris).
MegaBijoux, with its expertise in metal-plating and resin lamination, completes the Cebu contingent.
Bulacan, renowned for its more than five centuries-old jewelry industry, will be represented by two brands: Ann Ong and her lush metalwork, in signature pieces using bamboo and salvaged wood, and intricate handmade detailing.
Kit Silver, based in Meycuayan, Bulacan, exploits the town’s mastery of filigree craft in evening bags and jewelry. The collection also reimagines a Philippine-Hispanic accessory, the balabal (shawl) in metal brass.
Three Manila brands capture the spirit of the nation’s capital. Beatriz’s pieces feature bold colors and geometric patterns. Metal is lightly hand-polished and buffed for a hint of understated glamor.
Jennifer Lo uses rattan in an accessories collection in neutrals, black and gold accented with abaca, gold macramé and stones.
Michelline Syjuco brings her funky skulls, daring cuffs embellished with macabre creatures and other intriguing forms to Paris, an apt setting for her Goth and baroque art pieces.
Maison & Objet runs Sept. 2-6 at Parc Des Expositions, Paris Nord Villepinte, Paris, France.
*Credits: Photos of Michelline Syjuco, Crystal Seas, Floreia, Kit Silver, Mia Arcenas, Beatriz and Larone Crafts by LOUIE AGUINALDO (https://louieaguinaldo.com)
PHOTOS OF MICHELLINE SYJUCO,
CRYSTAL SEAS, FLOREIA, KIT SILVER,
MIA ARCENAS, BEATRIZ AND LARONE CRAFTS
BY LOUIE AGUINALDO