Ben Farrales muse donates gowns to ongoing exhibit | Inquirer Lifestyle
Ben Farrales muse donates gowns to ongoing exhibit

Ben Farrales muse donates gowns to ongoing exhibit

Bambi Harper
Bambi Harper in a draped gown by Ben Farrales

It all began when Ben Farrales’ relative, Cynthia Pendatun, donated some 40 of his ternos and evening gowns to the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), for the safekeeping and preservation of these artifacts of fashion history.

This led to “[email protected],” an exhibition of ensembles by the Philippine Dean of Fashion, at the College’s Design and Arts Campus.

A red Indian-inspired piece, this terno has a one-shoulder sari-like detail and a bodice with embroidered gold trim.
A red Indian-inspired piece, this terno has a one-shoulder sari-like detail and a bodice with embroidered
gold trim.

Among the many visitors was once-upon-a-time model Bambi Lammoglia Harper, accompanied by son Miguel and daughter-in-law Angela. Harper was one of Farrales’ muses during his early years in the industry.

Terno in three tones of gold features a scrunched pleated top with a diagonal pattern and a full skirt with soft pleats.
Terno in three tones of gold features a scrunched pleated top with a diagonal pattern and a full skirt with soft pleats.

“I was 16 and just out of school when I was thrown into a world of glamorous clothes and exciting benefits organized by Tita Conching Sunico,” Harper recalled.

“But it was a very private, vastly talented young couturier called Benjamin Farrales who stepped in, like Professor Henry Higgins, to teach me how to glide down a ramp or do a sharp turn—and to do it all seemingly effortlessly,” she recalled.

A two-piece ensemble in ecru and gold with Japanese- inspired jacket with an embroidered clasp
A two-piece ensemble in ecru and gold with Japanese-inspired jacket with an embroidered clasp

Inspired

A two-toned terno with a black lace overlay on an empire-cut magenta gown, accented by an oversized lilac bow embellished with beads
A two-toned terno with a black lace overlay on an empire-cut magenta gown, accented by an oversized lilac bow embellished with beads

Inspired by the exhibit, Harper donated select Farrales ternos and evening gowns, fabric drapes with unusual color combinations, from her own personal wardrobe, in order for future students to likewise learn from the late fashion giant.

Chiffon terno in chartreuse and royal blue, with soft drapes commencing at the bust and falling gently to the hem
Chiffon terno in chartreuse and royal blue, with soft drapes commencing at the bust and falling
gently to the hem

“The range of styles shows the creativity of Farrales as well as the high regard and affection he had for his muse, as they traversed their lives and careers through the years. The colors of the ternos nearly complete the rainbow spectrum, from the deep red of the Indian-style piece to the cool blues and greens of the Grecian draped number,” said Gerry Torres, Center for Campus Art director.

The exhibit runs until Sept. 10, after which the entire collection will be transferred to a permanent site in the DLS-CSB campus.