Randy Ortiz issued a caveat before his 30th anniversary show, held Nov. 26 at The Peninsula Manila: He’s doing the collection for himself, no one else.
“If people don’t appreciate the collection, it won’t bother me as much,” he told Lifestyle.
Indeed, he was unapologetic about self-indulgence, evident as the opening nude, champagne and white lace ensembles—the first section of his 75-piece collection—were sent on the runway.
There was no buildup from daywear—it was in-your-face evening wear right away.
Though he also said that the collection wouldn’t be a retrospective, it felt a lot like it was, with his familiar and signature silhouettes—elegant high necklines, voluminous sleeves, sharply tailored suits—as well as sumptuous fabrications, rich textures and heavy ornamentation.
“If you come to me, it’s because you like my embroidery,” he said, referring to his signature style. And that’s what he showed, intricate embroidery throughout, applied on gowns of heavy laces. It became cloying at some point, the styling with boleros and overlays, repetitive. (The updo hairstyle also felt somewhat dated.)
To be clear, the dresses in themselves were chic and sophisticated—“mabango,” was the consensus where we were seated.
But if you employ volume to complement a labyrinthine venue, something’s gotta give. You don’t get to appreciate the clothes for what they are—it just becomes visually overwhelming, especially since he was showing heavily embellished evening gowns.
We expressed as much to Ortiz before his show when he told us he was showing 70-75 pieces. His contemporary, Rajo Laurel, showed 92 looks in his most recent show, which we thought worked against him; the merits of the clothes were lost in the volume.
Ortiz reasoned that the number of clothes was only in consideration of model rotation.
He isn’t interested in changing his course, or even in affecting change in the fashion industry. For his milestone year, he stuck to his guns, to the tried-and-tested looks that have carried him throughout his career.
“I’m doing this for me. I’m not after capturing a new market. I’m at that point where I’m no longer aspiring to make clothes for anyone or everyone,” he said.
“RandyO30: Homage” was a celebration of a storied career, with 300 of his closest friends and clients gathered at The Pen’s Conservatory and upper lobby.
Some of his models were children of señoras, the top models of a past era, when Ortiz himself was a newbie designer.
Juliana Gomez, his muse Lucy Torres-Gomez’s (and Richard’s) only child, walked with him as he took his bow.
Ogie Alcasid, whose first show 30 years ago was also Ortiz’s first, had a Derek Zoolander moment with John Estrada’s Hansel at the finale. Estrada, a former model himself, walked the runway with daughter Kaila.