Dita Sandico celebrates 30 years in fashion | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Dominic Rubio's mannequin wears a Ditta-inspired wrap made of metal mesh
Dominic Rubio’s mannequin wears a Ditta-inspired wrap made of metal mesh

In the past five years, retailers have been collaborating with designers to maintain a high profile for their brands. Freshness and surprise can provide ammunition in the battle of news feeds vying for people’s attention.

A pioneer in the use of indigenous fabrics in modern fashion, Ditta Sandico celebrates her three decades in the industry today with a collaboration with Hoseki Jewelry, led by founder Fai Co, and artist-sculptor Dominic Rubio.

Maharlikha earrings by Hoseki with a pair of South Sea pearls, assorted stones, sapphires and keshi pearls mounted in 14k yellow gold.
mabe pendant with black flowers
“Odette,” a Princess Frog Ballerina brooch / pendant with handcarved Mother of Pearl, hand enamel and a sapphire mounted in 14k yellow gold

Sandico made her mark by creating wraps and skirts using banaca (a combination of banana and abaca fibers). These wraps flatter a woman’s body and are merely held up by strings and knotted artfully.

Today Sandico presents “Ditta Illuminata show” in the ballroom of Shangri-La at The Fort, featuring her classic wraps, presented in novel ways of layering, tying, twirling, twisting and knotting.

“I wanted to show how you can create a new look. The wraps are easier to wear and you can add embellishment and make a statement. The banaca is unique to us. I haven’t seen this fabric in any part of the world,” she said.

Antheia bolero teamed with the Aphrodite skirt.
Ditta Sandico’s Rigel skirt with uneven hemline.
Nabi wrap by Ditta Sandico follows the contours of the body.
Ditta Sandico’s Papello wrap which she describes as wearable art.

Sandico explained that she interpreted the title “Illuminata” or enlightenment by showing a color palette from dark to light-black, red and white.

“It symbolizes how we have gone through difficulties and finally see hope,” she said.

“I wanted to express that my work is not just about clothes, but also our connection with the light. The music, lighting and production design aim to show this transformation.”

The show has a Filipiniana theme, starting with Sandico’s use of indigenous fabric.

Artist Rubio, who was born in the woodcarving town of Paete, Laguna, became famous for paintings depicting Filipinos in 19th century costumes.

For this collaboration, he returned to his roots as a sculptor and carved three-ft-tall mannequins wearing clothes inspired by Sandico’s wraps.

Three-foot mannequin made of metal and wood by Dominic Rubio

Rubio carved 10 three-ft-tall mannequins in narra.

To guarantee a longer lifespan, Hoseki copied the faces and upper body into molds and poured metal.

Hence, the upper part is made of metal while the lower wooden body has been handcarved by Rubio.

The artist handpainted three mannequins which Sandico wrapped in banaca. These special mannequins are displayed in special cases. The other mannequins are wrapped in mesh that mimics the swirls and twirls of Sandico’s wraps.

These mannequins are on exhibit this weekend at Gallerie Joaquin at the podium of Shangri-La at the Fort.

To accessorize Sandico’s wraps, Hoseki jewelry revived its Maharlika line, a collection inspired by excavated pre-colonial jewelry. It also presented its Filipiniana line which consisted of flowers made from pearls and ivory, made from Brazilian nuts, said designer Fai Co.

Rubio also designed brooches rendered by Hoseki. They consisted of his popular long-necked faces of the 19th century binibini and illustrado, done in wood, silver and gold.

The jewelry pieces are on exhibit this weekend at the Hoseki store at the Shangri-La at the Fort.
Sandico’s new collection can be viewed at https://dittachannel.com/.

All told, the collaboration wasn’t just about a singular designer, but a new way of telling a Filipiniana story.