That tomorrow is Philippine Independence Day has me thinking of our wearable soft power — what does Filipino fashion look like now?
Now that the idea of 24/7 pambahay has grown old, now that we are easing back into lives lived outside, we have a reason to dress up, and life itself is the big occasion.
At “Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival Season 12: A Fashion Reboot,” streaming from Okada Manila, 24 designers from Manila, Cebu, Davao and a new batch from Cagayan De Oro design with a global Filipino in mind — whether it’s channeling our heritage in different ways or being proud of one’s skin and name.
It’s exciting to see Filipino weaves featured throughout the ready-to-wear collections. Strict gender codes are blurred as men and women share the runways and clothes, as they already do in the real world. What are you wearing when you go out or stay in? I sure hope that, at least for tomorrow, it’s Filipino!
Wanderlust: Ndodjie Batu, Bamba Limon & Alodia Cecilia
We’re all itching to go somewhere. Bamba Limon is taking you Out of Africa. Alodia Cecilia is out for a literal and proverbial journey to finding herself with reengineered and sculpted pinya silk and inabel, kantarines, binakol from the Ilocos Region, and hand-woven wool scarves made in Kashmir embellished with fine crystal-cut beads and manipulated fabric scraps. Dodjie Batu’s mix of prints call to mind a souk in Morocco.
Power puff: Camlu X Creative Definitions, Benji Panizales & Dino Lloren
The larger-than-life sleeve is presented in variations throughout the show. Dino Lloren’s collection in the palette of the Philippine flag has balloon sleeves. Benjie Panizales conveys luxury with Davaoeno weaves and a jewel-toned palette in Juliet sleeves. Inabel meets leg-of-mutton in Camlu x Creative Definitions.
Corset craze: Renan Pacson and Mavy De Leon Ladlad
The corset is reborn as a feminist uniform. Renan Pacson sculpts denim for the “First Ball,” far off in “the year 2835.” Mavy De Leon Ladlad is looking forward to a dressed-up affair with an off-shoulder and mini-skirt set.
Fresh tailoring: Bessie Besana, Avel Bacudio, Steph Tan and Ziggy Savella
Ziggy Savella’s structured yet relaxed mood continues in utilitarian outerwear doubling as additional protective layers and functional access. Avel Bacudio’s PMFF x Stylem look provides the protection of a trench with the ease of a cropped length and shorts. Bessie Besana’s double-breasted dress gives the menswear silhouette a body-skimming fit celebrating the feminine figure. Steph Tan invites you to “spill the tea” in a structured three-piece look that has afternoon teatime with the girls in mind.
Sexy ’90s: Ann Semblante, Bessie Besana and Joshua Guibone
Bessie Besana calls to mind the rebellious looks favored by stars during the height of paparazzi culture. Joshua Guibone “shows a lot of skin to feel free from all the constraints that we experienced last year.” Ann Semblante’s ruched number feels like a twist on Sharon Stone’s iconic Basic Instinct shift.
Resort Wear For Anywhere: Mark Yaranon, Camlu x Creative Definitions and Windel Mira
The resort industry took a hit during the pandemic, so Mark Yaranon is giving us pieces like this decidedly sexy, dangerously deep “V” to look forward to lifted travel bans. Windel Mira presents a resort-ready answer to 17th century style. Camlu x Creative Definitions’ cape and shorts set exudes playful yet effortless style.
Tiers of joy: Marc Rancy, Steph Tan and Melvin Lachica
Many escaped to period dramas during the lockdown, and now that we are easing out of sheltering for safety, Melvin Lachica, Steph Tan and Marc Rancy imbibe the spirit of old world romance for our present-day, dressed-up adventures.
Graphic rebellion: Chris Diaz, Emir Yamamoto and Gil Macaibay III
Chris Diaz channels ’80s postmodernism in new wave colors, paint splatters, aerobics-ready fits and fabrics. Emir Yamamoto references Sons of Anarchy with tattoo-like iconography. Gil Macaibay III “tells a story of hope.”
Scintillating Safari: Emir Yamamoto, Dexter Alazas and Alodia Cecilia
Doesn’t merely stepping out feel like a great escapade? Dexter Alazas longs for “the urban jungle” so he’s channeling the Philippine Eagle. Alodia Cecilia is monsoon-ready in a hooded vest. You can even do away with a bag with a jacket with the roomiest pockets by Emir Yamamoto for PMFF x Stylem.
Swinging sixties: Dodjie Batu, Edgar Buyan and Melvin Lachica
Is it any surprise that designers are inspired by the decade of youth-driven cultural revolution? We want change, too, and we want it now!
Melvin Lachica goes mod in all shades of fuchsia. Edgar Buyan adorns a well-tailored uniform with flower power. Dodjie Batu is doing away with anything form-fitting for his 25th anniversary collection.
Sporting life: Ziggy Savella, Renan Pacson, Avel Bacudio and Dexter Alazas
Sportswear goes beyond the gym in these collections born during a year of limited movement. Ziggy Savella is relaxed while still tailored and preppy in his custom plaid monogram. Renan Pacson’s drawstring details in technical fabric are envisioned for braving a post-apocalyptic world. Avel Bacudio’s Filipino pride dresses athletes for the Olympics that could’ve been.
Stream the collections at www.mff-official.com.