Day 2:Tuesday (Luxe Wear Collection A, Premier Collection A, New Generation Collection)
Day 3: Wednesday (Luxe Wear Collection B, Premier Collection B, Design Fusion Collection)
Day 4: Thursday (Visions and Trends Collection, Premier Collection C)
PHOTOS BY: NOEL PABALETE
01. j e r o m e. a n g
Jerome was my second pick in last years fashion week but this year he has stepped up and has secured himself a spot in the coveted number one. "Anatomie Insectae", a collection inspired by armoured insects and their habitats, says Jerome, "is interpreted through the lines and texture, aiming for a forward but glamorous design execution." Running through a gamut of silhouettes that showed a mastery of technique, Jerome started off with resort wear: micro shorts, shiny mini kaftans and matte swimwear cinched with sleek and minimal corsets that call to mind exoskeletons of his inspiration. Then it was casual wear in directional shapes that mirrored capabilities in cut, pattern and finish. A padded structured bolero, a top with winged sleeves, short shirt dresses with knotting details, a pleated hooded top. And to cap it all off, a showcase of his couture experience in structural cocktail dresses and floor length gowns with dragonfly bodies. Jerome used every fabric from Ponte De Roma (Japanese Silk), Lame, Printed cotton Voile and leatherette to its fullest potential making every piece perfect in its choice of fit and fabric. The thing that makes this collection the best among all is the fact that though it was inspired, the inspiration was not reworked literally, it was infused more into the the thought behind the design. It's also a fresh change from the ubiquitous redundancy that other designers consider new. The collection is forward, not trend led, wantable and very wearable. Jerome leads the way in this seasons style stakes. Bravo.
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02. c h r i s. d i a z
Chris Diaz's collection is the ultimate in luxe sophistication. Inspired by 70's luxe interiors and 1900 riding habits, it was a succession of wantable demi-couture pieces. First out was Filipino supermodel Charo Ronquillo in a black bathing suit paired with a lavender damask jacket with rope swirl detailing on the lapels cinched with a satin belt adorned with jet beads, next came an ebony belted satin top paired with walking shorts with hand beaded detail, and a damask t-shirt with faux fur shorts, and then a slinky fringe dress. There wasn't even time to digest the prettiness of the clothes when there's another one catching my attention. It was one sinuous piece after the other climaxing to the best that closed the show: a pale lavender floor length damask hourglass gown that billowed from mid thigh, embellished with a beaded jet black orchid detail with creeping tendrils as shoulder straps. It was hard to pick a favorite but the last three before the finale has to be the strongest, a tulle and satin combination top adorned with rope details at the collar paired with a fur skirt, a halter top with exaggerated bow detail at the neck paired with harem pants and a dress done in chiffon, layered with fringes and embellished with a scatter of rope swirls on the delicate mesh part of the top. Not really following the obvious trends of spring but creating his own directional ready to wear vision, the designer had a confident hand in executing his designs, it was harmonious in silhouette and fabric choice, it was flowing, languid, polished and ultra feminine. The collection can work as a whole or as separates so you can either glam up or dress down. And above all, women relate to the pieces, they see themselves in it, because after all, don't we just love being in beautiful clothes?
03. e r i c. d e l o s. s a n t o s
In every fashion week there's always one collection that wakes me up from my induced coma of seeing sameness, and makes me sit up, ogle and scribble madly in my notes. This year that would be Eric Delos Santos. Eric was spot on in veering away from the safety of a minimal monochrome pallette, in fact his collection: "Romantic Nature" is a successful hybrid of uncommon colors, rich textures and wearable shapes, a very hard act to achieve properly. The moody purplish haze of a season before the cold opened his show with a cinched patterned dress designed with an asymmetric collar and a bow on one shoulder, and a long back skirt hemmed with a double row of tiny pleats. Looking like tweed, the fabric is in fact 'Hablon', a locally weaved fabric from Iloilo. It was an opening that signaled more good things to come in terms of global appeal and wearability. Hues capturing the warm color of autumn were used to beautifully depict falling leaves and foliage cut outs re-embroidered in iridescent purple canvasses of bubble dresses, a line shifts, bouffant skirts and floor skimming gowns. It resulted in a 3d brocade effect that made the fabric uniquely his. But it wasn't over the top, it wasn't even costumey, it was a collection of contemporary dresses infused with a little bit of fun, a dash of lavishness and a whole lot of wearability. It's safe to say that this five time fashion week designer has indeed won himself new fans.
04. j o h n & p a u l. h e r r e r a
John Herrera as a solo designer has always had the ability to push the boundaries of his vision, but with the additional creativity of brother Paul, they have become a team to be reckoned with. With John on the design/construction side and Paul styling it with original accessories, they bring their off world 'androids' to life. "They are alien life forms living in their own world, a diffusion from my Metrowear collection, this one sees pieces that are less boxy, more softer silhouettes, a play on volume." says John. A mostly ebony collection, a cropped jacket is textured by a border of quilting, and ruched at the shoulders. The shapes, a simple floor length tube dress shirred in the waist is brought to life with a structural neck brace that hugs the neck and curves softly to the side, another strapless dress is twisted and knotted in the chest, cut in the waist and skirted with overlapping soft layers that fall unevenly below the knees. Paul's hand crafted drama solidified in a fabric chain, head ornamentations, wrist cuffs and a silver cape made out of butterflies. Black taffeta when used by anyone else would border on tacky, but in this duos hands, it's quirky luxe done with excellent technical workmanship. Often times conceptual clothes distance the audience but this design duo has merged their abstract vision into a tangible wearable collection. And taken separately into pieces, it can work as a normal choice for others (e.g. the neck brace in the long gown is detachable), an edgy assertive one for those who like to stand out, and the choices of accessories are options to dress up or down any one of the pieces to match your mood of the day. And isn't that the components of a great collection? One that can blur boundaries and transcend genres?
05. r e g i n e. d u l a y
Taking inspiration from containers made of paper, cloth, plastic, leather or in layman's terms: Bags, Regine Dulay's "Bag Revolution" collection took off from this everyday, taken for granted object and evolved it into something different. Those somethings were sculptural pieces infused into everyday basic silhouettes. the show opened with a cashmere wool black mini dress molded with a stiff curved shape shoulder piece. It progressed into simple a-line shifts with the trademark sculptural design in the hem and in the chest as well as crawling faux-ganic swirls that worked as a pseudo wrap. Two more stand outs, a bondage dress made out of cashmere wool strips with contrast edging and a handkerchief point kimono mini dress with deconstructed sleeves showed minimal fuss but having the desired maximum impact. These designs are definitely not for the faint hearted, these are abstract statements formed into sophisticated silhouettes. Crafting her own kind of artistic statement, the clothes looked edgy but still with that sultry sexiness, it presented a cool alternative refiness from all the other pieces that walked the runway that seemed like they were churned out by one progressively similar design mindset. Though the choice of fabric, cashmere wool is not really ideal for the climate, it makes for a faultless execution of the design in mind, but never mind that, the rest of the gorgeous pieces are done with stretch linen and cotton, still plenty to fall back on.
06. n o r m a n. n o r i e g a
Rarely can a collection with a minimal almost clinical approach to design move people but Norman Noriega's purist and sleek clean lines is the right mix of subtle volume, clear surface finish done in a muted color palette. It's simple, effortless yet very international. calling into mind the refined luxury of international jetsetters, these classic pieces will work from day to night in any fashion capital at any point in the world. Using stretch fabrics that hug close to the body emphasizing the gloriousness of the female form, it will most likely remain wrinkle free even after all those long hours spent on the plane. A simple gray pantsuit styled with a super skinny rope belt is layered with a fluid sleeveless floor length cardigan, and a silver floor length dress is layered with a black body con tunic that is slit in the middle for an elegant yet dramatic effect. the closing piece, an all black caftan thats opaque and sheer at the same time is the ultimate seasonless piece, meaning, it can work for both summer and holiday, targeting a very climate aware dressed woman, or any serious fashion connoisseur for that matter. These unpretentious yet refined elegant pieces have that unmistakable quality as that of a Chanel 2.55, its a classic, dateless, beyond any trends and one that you can definitely and confidently invest in.
07. b r i a n. l e y v a
Inspired by Paul Poiret's aesthetic of cutting away from the body and deconstructivism, Brian showed a collection of draped contemporary tops, dresses and gown in washed denim. Clever that from the runway it did not look like denim at all, in fact at first i thought it was twill or linen. Leave it to Leyva to to mold this heavy and tough fabric into soft, easy and wearable silhouettes. His beautifully constructed collection run the gamut from sexy cut and sew deep v empire short dresses, to draped, floor length modern goddess gowns with asymmetric necklines trimmed with black lace to mens suits that were pieced together with impeccable tailoring that i literally heard my brother beside me gasp in fashion agony. Each piece that came down the runway was gorgeous in it's own right, a very wearable cotton pleated halter maxi tent dress was done with a ribbed collar and styled with a matching cinched ribbed band at the waist, an elegant black top made out of cut out black lace was paired with a floor length tiered skirt made out of ribbing, a hot cocoon shaped dress with volume sleeves was designed with peek-a-boo cuts out at the chest, a marbled gray chiffon tent dress was paired with a washed denim cropped volume sleeved top. Essentially it was a collection of quirky yet fabulous dresses that oozed rebellious confident sexuality. I wouldn't be surprised to see the collection snapped up by hot young stylistas because having a bespoke treated fabric technically makes the pieces his original distinct signature and one that's sure to be worn with matching bragging rights.
08. k e n n e t h. c h u a
Kenneth's interpretation of the Catholic faith in general was not the severe, brooding and strict feeling one would normally associate with the church. In fact it was a visual feast, a celebration of ironically, sinuous haute couture inspired by iconic Marian images. Ave Maria set the the theme for a showcase of dresses done with a mix of organdy, duchess satin, tulle and lace. With capes embellished with traditional hand stitched embroidery thats embossed using gold thread, the opening piece was a black, vase shaped structural piece that tapered to the knees and then flared to the ankles. Then a succession of dramatic gowns, a burgundy fitted floor length dress with soft layers of tulle at the hem, a bouffant pale peach gown thats cinched assymetrically at the midsection of the skirt with brass ornamentations hand crafted by local metal artisans, a sheer nude mermaid dress fully embroidered with gold foliage and the closing piece of softly layered organdy and tulle in the palest of greens with a metal heart brooch in the center representing Our Lady of Sorrows. That's not to say that his pieces are just for show and nothing in this collection is wearable, there were also beautiful, accessible pieces: a black corset dress with structured shoulder straps and layered tulle skirt, a long sleeve jersey top paired with this seasons trend of tiered maxi skirts in printed foliage, a strapless red and gold floor length gown that had the unmistakable characteristics of a phoenix rising from the flames which in fact symbolized the holy spirit. It was quite a show but it was clever in a way that Kenneth showed his couture capabilities in breathtaking pieces that obviously mirrored his creative freedom, and at the same time pushing his commercial viability without being a sell out. There is a fine line between the two but he has walked that walk and he has come out triumphant.
09. c a t h e r i n e. c a v i l t e
Catherine Cavilte was my 'one to watch' last year and her collection this year did not disappoint. Having just arrived from Sydney after a successful viewing for Harpers Bazaar Australia (they liked her pieces and shot it for an editorial already), Cathy showed her confidence in a collection of nude pieces inspired from Egyptian artworks. The show began with a fitted short dress that's cut and sewn on the body with loopy kimono sleeves etched with embroidered cut outs, bounded and piped by satin. Then separates with a pleated shoulder top and hem with the same filigree treatment on the side and at the center of the skirt. then out came a dress with layered billowing sleeves and a tiered skirt done in iridescent bronze organza, it had the characteristics of shimmering liquid metal. The floor length bustier gown with the bell skirt in multiple curved tiers that closed the show showed off that winking, gleaming, liquid metal attribute to the fullest and is as dramatically rich as it gets. But if that's too out there for you, Cathy also has the bustier top in plain charmeuse, cut and sewn with satin, embroidered and piped with a flowy but lean floor length skirt silhouette. Cathy said she wanted "volume and panels", so all her pieces came cut and sewn, and her volumes came in exaggerated sleeves or hemming. All in all it was a pretty and very wearable collection showing that Cathy indeed has come into her own and she's proven that she's here to stay.
10. m i c h. d u l c e
If Raggedy Anne was a fashion icon, she would be wearing Mich Dulce. This collection showcased Mich's signature structured pieces with geometric shapes and clean tailoring. Two key pieces stood out though, a white architectural cinched a line dress with stiff extended sleeves as well as a kimono sleeved gray top with lapels paired with trousers that were fitted at the thigh but ballooned from the knee down. These two were fresh and new silhouettes, all the other pieces were continuations of the distinctly Mich style with the folds, drapes and assymetric-ness. But still its a good collection, construction wise, Mich has tailoring expertise, and while the designs were playful, there was an underlying seriousness and precision to the way it was envisioned and made.