Fashion Philippines recently made its colorful debut at Maison et Objet Paris 2016 to cast the spotlight at the design craftsmanship of 10 Filipino brands at the Parc des Expositions.
Fashion Philippines, a project of the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry-Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (DTI-Citem), showcased a collection of accessories that focused on the theme “Reimagined Traditions,” a tribute to Philippine cultural practices.
International journalists and buyers were impressed with the unique pieces on display at the Philippine Pavilion.
Designer (and sculptor) Michelline Syjuco’s twin displays, entitled “Metamorphosis,” amazed everyone with its golden wings and hearts made of big gemstones.
Syjuco’s collection of bracelets and bags, which referenced a Gothic inspiration, gained praise from even the most tenured fashion experts, including a former creative director of the House of Dior.
Guests were also impressed by the Crystal Seas’ collection designed by Carmaela Braceros Alcantara, the 32-year-old prodigy of renowned jewelry designer Alexis Bittar.
The collection of handmade bags showcased the t’nalak fabric—a handwoven material made by women of the T’boli, the indigenous people from southern Philippines.
In the course of five days, visitors to Fashion Philippines at Maison et Objet learned about crafting skills that set apart the Filipino designers. They were amazed to learn about how each piece would take days to make.
For example, the colorful clutches of Beatriz, made by designer Carissa Cruz, used a specific gluing technique. Each thread was glued by hand, string by string, to form the geometric patterns. One bag took at least two days to make.
Kit Silver Jewelry’s collection, which featured the Spanish-inherited filigree technique, also received plenty of praises. The intricate design of the necklaces and cuff bracelets, some of which took at least one week to make, were crowd favorites.
Another strong point that made an impression was the sustainable philosophy that guided the designers in making their collections.
Jennifer Lo, the young designer of Larone Crafts, used natural materials such as abaca and raffia, while Ann Ong used wood from trees, fallen by typhoons, for her clutches and cuffs dipped in 24-karat gold.
Resin and wood were the main materials for Zai Design Hive and the coral-effect made for a neckpiece appealed to fashion editors.
For Mia Arcenas, her efforts to provide stay-at-home mothers with work and her collection of evening clutches made from mother-of-pearl and gold, inspired visitors and shoppers of the pavilion.
From Megabijoux’s architectural pieces that drew attention for its mix of materials (wood, metal and shells) to Floreia’s ingenious technique of engineering paper to craft their collection of necklaces and clutches—it is this combination of different styles, but tied together by a single purpose, that put Fashion Philippines into the minds of the French audience.