The Duterte women leveled up their fashion for the President’s third State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
However, that wasn’t enough to counter the doldrums on the usually splashy red carpet.
Even the bomb-sniffing, 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Champion, stationed at Batasang Pambansa’s North Wing, seemed bored and snoozed at some point, while guests in mostly uninspired frocks made their way into the Session Hall.
Did the guests know an impending coup in the House leadership was about to happen, and that any effort to dress up would be overshadowed anyway?
There weren’t even red carpet “repeaters”—camera-loving characters who walk the red carpets of both North and South wings, instead of just one wing. We missed them this year.
Sure, we could always count on the usual suspects to add a measure of glam to the day, but that’s par for the course.
Distinctly missing were the wannabes, who may not have the star power of a Lucy Torres or a Heart Evangelista, but make the effort anyway to seek good designers for dresses that are seemly and decorous. The latter point was sorely missed by a young congressional spouse in a midi scarlet terno with bare back.
Or maybe we were just stationed in the wrong wing; we found some notable looks on social media.
Though they skipped the red carpet and we learned of their style transformation only on Instagram, we applaud the first family’s move to seek a designer known for high fashion techniques.
Sara Duterte and her mother, Elizabeth Zimmerman, didn’t stray too far from their comfort zone in their terno by Cary Santiago—royal blue for the Davao City mayor and red for her mom. The dresses bore simple, tone-on-tone detailing.
The partners of the Duterte sons were also dressed by the Cebuano designer. Paolo’s wife, January, and Sebastian’s Kate wore the terno, with Santiago’s signature origami folds for January and laser cutting for Kate.
It’s unclear, however, who made the dresses of the President’s partner Honeylet Avanceña and their daughter Kitty. In a family photo before the Sona, the teener posed with her parents in a scarlet terno with asymmetric hem, while her mom was in a green printed terno edged with beadwork.
Heart Evangelista led the best-dressed list in a three-piece terno pantsuit for the Sona and a 1950s-silhouette terno dress for the opening of the 17th Congress earlier in the day, both by Mark Bumgarner. Save for an LGBT rainbow pin, the actress kept her all-white look sleek and unembellished.
Audrey Zubiri was elegant in champagne ankle-length Filipiniana by Ito Curata.
Jinkee Pacquiao was in a white terno pantsuit for the morning proceedings, and a belted pink point d’esprit midi terno for the afternoon, both by Michael Leyva.
Another Leyva design, a midi pink terno with draped strips of the same fabric on the bodice, was also becoming on Rep. Len Alonte.
Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, a Sona red carpet hall of famer, was in a lavender Randy Ortiz with beadwork and embroidery on the bodice.
Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez also wore Cary Santiago, her go-to designer—an all-pink terno for the Sona and a gray dress for the morning.
One of the finer looks of the day: Marga Nograles in a woven Mindanaoan maxi skirt and cropped lavender top—a noteworthy example of how to wear Filipiniana in a nontraditional style.