MANILA, Philippines – Love is a many splendored thing. Here, YStyle counts down the splendors we’re currently in like — okay, love — with. From the new anti-gravity yoga to sweet tomes to, um, upbeat break-up songs (we’re practical people), no doubt you’ll find something new to fall for.
1. Coming of age
Not just any old lady can pull off the eccentric old lady look. It has taken her years, decades even, to develop that particular identity and wear it so comfortably that it’s not a matter of dressing to impress — because she’s outlived whoever there was to impress — but as the exclamation point to a life lived well. We have come into an extremely ageist society obsessed with youth, where models are scouted in middle school and millions of dollars are spent fighting age, through potions and plastic surgery. Young Hollywood dominates the covers of magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair as they do Bop and Tiger Beat, with stylist-picked clothes that transform them all into Zoebots. Individuality, it seems, is the provenance of the aged, and those who do recognize senior style for all its glorious subversiveness are offbeat individuals themselves. Fifteen-year-old blogger with an old soul Tavi Gevinson has always dressed like a kooky grandmother, and has aptly partnered with Advanced Style street photographer Ari Seth Cohen to honor all these singular ladies at a recent Fashion Week party. “Wrinkles and scars and imperfections are signs of life,” Tavi writes. “If an aging woman doesn’t take measures to erase indications that she’s built character through experience, if she can no longer be viewed as a sex object or as recently discovered and relevant, she may as well just disappear.” Big baubles, headdresses, orange eyelashes, and proudly lined, weathered skin are characteristics of the women featured in Advanced Style — everything incredibly close and extremely loud, nothing that erases them gently into background. The jewelry label Alexis Bittar brought back hot-flashing fabulosity to the public eye with Ab Fab’s Patsy and Edina (Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders) for its spring/summer 2012 campaign. “Their fashion sense is ridiculous and they embrace it — every episode is pure fun and chaos,” Bittar told Vogue. Previously, Bittar collaborated with Iris Apfel, the 90-year-old doyenne of irreverent fashion, as well as Joan Collins and Lauren Hutton. Locally, we have writer and artist Gilda Cordero-Fernando, who is adored by younger generation style icons Cecile Zamora Van Straten, Mich Dulce, and Kate Torralba — all future funky grandmamas. “With (Gilda’s) self-described mismatched matches, she effortlessly fuses her youthful, quirky spirit with the confidence that comes from one who has really, truly lived,” says YStyle’s Kat Holigores. “Everything in her closet is precious.” — Audrey N. Carpio
2. Wham! bam, thank you French Vogue
To mark the debut of the new Vogue.fr site, the magazine’s editor in chief Emmanuelle Alt enlisted the likes of models Karmen Pedaru, Kendra Spears, Jasmine Tookes and Anja Rubik, along with fellow Vogue staffers, to cover the much-beloved (in the YStyle office, at least) Wham! hit Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. Staying true to the video’s style — everyone’s garbed in white tees with sleeves cuffed above the bicep and white jeans — Alt prances on stage just like George before it all fell apart and the ’80s ended. But for two minutes and 53 seconds of pure unadulterated tongue-in-cheek nostalgia, Alt and co. are the shit. Bravo, French Vogue. Your move, Wintour. Might we suggest that other Wham! classic Careless Whisper? — Bea J. Ledesma
3. The system of objects
If the rise of the cyber flâneur indicated by Etsy marked a psychographic obsessed with heritage or cutesy history, albeit in a clean contemporist format, Jean Baudrillard’s The System of Objects from the late ’60s organizes the values we deposit by the objects we consume. Why do we acquire old things? The rise of flea markets do offer authenticity (and bargains) and far more is the assurance that it has lived longer than us or is far less temporal than things these days. If the formal (or proper) prose is any less Brideshead, bibliophiles and mindful consumerists will greatly benefit, in replacement of the Penguin “Love classics” reissue set. — Raymond Abrenica
4. Flamboyant color
We all know we can’t fully love another if you don’t love yourself. If you find yourself free on V-Day, make it the perfect opportunity to lavish well-deserved love and attention on the one you should love most: yourself.
Color is the best way to change up your look. It also works to banish that blah feeling from a so-over romance or get vibrant energy in for a new love object. Book a consultation with Lourd Ramos of Creations Salon, who says the hair look for now is extravagant, sophisticated and rock and roll. Lourd says go for soft fluid lines with ultra colored but natural tones of ash, mahogany, and copper all the way to ice blond. Get inspiration from actress of the moment Lea Seydoux who sports golden locks and ladylike looks for Prada’s resort print campaign. If you’re home alone, try Etude House’s amazing Bubble Hair Coloring. This amazing shampoo-type color gives vivid color (supposedly better than cream types) and is so easy to apply. It takes 30 minutes to get shiny gorgeous locks — no mess, no stress.
Creations by Lourd Ramos is at Glorietta 5, Ayala Center. Call 846-7867/64 or 0908-8977360. Etude House Bubble Hair Coloring. P378, Megamall, Festival Mall, Market Market and Southmall. — Joanna Francisco
5. Feel your art beat
Candi Staton knew you had it. Florence and the Machine reiterated: “You got the love.” There is always a perfect, precise soundtrack for every awkward happy-sad moment, from being single to paying overwhelming bills. If stillness had a soundtrack, and solitude needn’t be silent, A Cinematic Orchestra’s All Things to All Men or To Build a Home is together and apart, with a bit of stoic drama. Hope There’s Someone by Anthony and the Johnsons is a clear-cut classic contender; watertight for the calm of slow-bathing rituals, before Lana del Rey’s “Born To Die.” It’s a matter of resilience, and following our own loves in our very own short, melodramatic lives, with stunningly beautiful music. — Raymond Abrenica
6. Go build a cocoon
The latest fitness craze is what they call a mash-up of yoga and Cirque du Soleil. If you’ve ever fantasized about twirling down from the ceiling in a silk hammock, then this class is for you. Fly/AntiGravity/Aerial Yoga lifts your regular yoga off the ground and gives your body support, helping you stretch further, hold poses longer and master inversions and other advanced poses that may have been too difficult or straining just on the mat. Not that this kind of yoga is any easier. The instructor at FTX Gym made it look graceful and artistic, but when it was my turn I realized I was still struggling with gravity and a weak core (hey, I gave birth a few months ago.) Balancing twists and warrior poses using the stretchy loop of fabric were straightforward enough, but when it came to a move that entailed circling from a backward bend to a forward bend and round again, that’s where all the hidden core strength comes in and that’s where I flopped around and stalled, like a carcass hanging on a butcher’s hook. If you’ve done TRX before, there’s the similar principle of suspension and trusting the straps to hold you up. Some yoga purists might scoff at this acrobatic fusion, but the benefits of yoga—alignment, balance, strength and agility—are all enhanced with the extra dimension of being suspended. As with all yoga classes, the best part comes at the end in savasana, and here you completely cover yourself in the hammock, wriggling like a caterpillar until you are completely cocooned. FTX Gym, Unit 202, Three Salcedo Place, Tordesillas St, Salcedo Village, Makati. Call 822-3311. — Audrey Carpio
This oasis in the center of our bustling metro is sacred space to find a little respite from the mini-dramas of daily living and to benefit from integrative care services. At Templa Wellness in Makati, there is the heart-opening Anusara Yoga and meditative Yin Yoga; for alignment, I book myself in for acupuncture, moxa and deep bodywork. For clearing and releasing issues, there is Access Bars therapy as well as Sheng Zhen Qigongs, and for goal setting, a Life Coaching session is also on the menu. All in all, this is a veritable one-stop shop for a lot of badly-needed TLC, inside and out. Om shanti. Templa Wellness is located at the 5/F OPL Building, 100 C. Palanca St. cor. De la Rosa St., Legazpi Village, Makati. Call 576-4476 or 0917-5016201 or visit www.templawellness.com. — Katrina Holigores
8. The language of love
In The Lover’s Dictionary, penned by Dave Levithan, the author famous for Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, each definition is a harbinger of memories, carving out a tale of relationship triumphs and woes with each word.
Corrode, v. I spent all this time building a relationship. Then one night I left the window open, and it started to rust.
Levithan deftly parses out the minutiae of a relationship in a spare 209 pages, managing to winnow the complicated edges of an affair fraught with infidelity. It feels strangely familiar — as though the small ticks in the couple’s growth were universal, seen in life and on film — while offering the reader a voyeuristic glimpse at the narrator’s innermost feelings. The Lover’s Dictionary is a charming read, a virtual lexicon of terms that begins with aberrant and ends with zenith.
The book is available at National Book Store, P595. — Bea J. Ledesma
9. Nostalgia in a flash
Remember those Lomo cameras that exploded among the artsy types in the early 2000s? I was totally smitten with the fuzzy, distorted images that seem to mimic what the eye sees, minus all the hi-tech HD effects digital cameras have today. There’s something about the raw, vintage-like appearance that is so appealing in an old world, nostalgic kind of way. Somehow the memories get imprinted more firmly in your head. So delighted was I when I discovered — albeit late — this app. It instantly transforms my regular photos into works of art. And not only could I do the high-contrast Lomo effect, I have more than 10 magical themes to choose from! So somehow, that cheesy couple pic by the beach became a masterpiece. They say a picture paints a thousand words — this one just made it a novelty. — Anne Bella
There seems to be a dearth of food you can eat with your hands — portable meals that you can finish while journeying from one end to another. That’s why I love sandwiches. They can go high-low: they can be eaten surreptitiously in your office cubicle without causing too much of a stink, or they can be packed up for picnics with a chilled bottle of Chardonnay. Anyone who’s ever been on the Boracay Starvation Diet will appreciate a light healthy sandwich at the beach. My high school bud Karen and her husband Freddie Elizalde opened up this much needed sandwich store on the island. Super Submarine Sandwich Shop is a groovy, Beatlesque yellow space at D’Mall outfitted with glowing portholes and a Happy Diver mascot. You simply devise your own six-or-12-inch sub with a choice of fresh bread, fillings, veggies and dressing, and off you go, happy as a clam. — Audrey N. Carpio
11. A lesson in effortlessness
As every fashion freak knows, we always aim to look effortless, never mind the effort it actually took us to put it together. Achieving the disheveled, quirky but always appropriate outfit takes careful planning, fitting and a tricky game of correct proportions. It isn’t easy but J. Crew makes it, well, effortless. The sequins — mixed with cashmere — paired with a schoolboy blazer is like a beautiful piece of sculpture: fluid, striking and just so damn cool. They put a spin on casual wear, pairing everyday pieces with unexpected accessories that are as fashion-forward as they are organic. Styling is exquisite and quite attainable, which is how inspiring pieces should be for the rest of us mere mortals. It also helps that it’s basic enough for your man to understand and appreciate, that is, after a tutorial in mixing textures. Or two. — Anne Bella
12. His and hers
It’s that rational tale of co-opting couples living together. A “his and hers” dresser. A “his and hers” luggage tag. It’s self-preservation, just like a profile picture that doesn’t include your girlfriend in your portrait. Ayn Rand once argued that looking after oneself needn’t be necessarily “selfish” in The Virtue of Selfishness, a collection of essays on individual rights and challenges. In the age of practical ambidexterity or “code-switching,” it’s wonderful for sex-specific products to highlight what is yours and what is mine, without the versatility of double-faced Janus all the time. — Raymond Abrenica
13. Effortless happiness
The drink, and TV commercial we all grew up with, is almost like another food group to me. Where else can you find something so tasty and milky with a bit of tang that’s compact and good for you? It was love at first taste, and when I realize the many nutritional components, including playing a major role in developing the chemo drug irinotecan, I am convinced that my beloved yoghurt drink is a miracle in an 80ml bottle. A guy I was seeing got me a dozen bottles as a gift to remember him by, which makes this infatuation all the more special. It not only reminded me that romance is not lost in little gestures, but also that the most significant gifts can come in small packages. — Anne Bella
14. Valentine shows or 1,200 watts of tender feelings and devotion
Valentine’s Day is back again and seems bigger than last year’s. Restaurants are probably all booked so if you haven’t made reservations yet, I suggest you stop reading this, cross your fingers and call the most romantically conducive restaurant you know and hope they still have a table for you. Then continue reading. Girls’ expectations are seemingly larger and the pressure is indeed on, what with viral videos of happily hitched couples, artistically executed expressions of L-O-V-E that take your haiku “I love you” piece from the drawing board to your desktop recycle bin, perfect romances played by this actor-opposite-that-actress and those darned self-help books that practically dictate that if the guy you’re dating isn’t like Ryan Gosling then maybe He’s Just Not That Into You. Tough break, but may I feign righteousness and say it’s just giving the ladies what they deserve. It’s a battlefield out there, and we’re right in the thick of things. Perfect timing is essential, military precision and perfect planning are key but at the same time, it shouldn’t be entirely contrived. Leaving room for the unknown is risky but there is just so much more to gain when you place the right bets on how you want your V-Day to turn out. One thing is for sure, though: Feb. 14 must be your finest hour, day, or however long your Valentine’s plans are. So be sure to be on your best behavior and don’t be shy about putting your best foot forward.
My advice besides or in addition to the standard one-on-one romantic dinner would have to be the concert/show route. Choose an artist or concert that’ll set the mood for the night, one that you have an idea of what to expect, and one that you both will be willing to spend an hour or more of your time watching. Nobody wants to go through the ordeal of an experimental atmospheric noise blip band, though during other nights I’m sure it could be “enriching.” But if you do find yourself in this situation and can’t stand it, there are always some advantages of slipping out early and letting spontaneity take the wheel on your date.
For those in town, here are some of the shows on for your romantic rights.
Avril Lavigne Live in Manila
Where: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Guys: Black shirt, neckties, Vans/Chucks, caps
Girls: Hoodies! And baseball tees, neon shirts, jeans, or shorts/skirt stockings
Evanescence featuring Bush
When: Feb. 19
Where: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Men: Relaxed but still rock; jeans, trainers, vintage band shirt
Ladies: Gen X-ers who dig the “new” stuff, jeans and maybe a shirt with sheer detailing?
Death Cab for Cutie
When: March 5
Where: NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City
Men: Collared shirt, cardigan, slacks or jeans, pensive look
Ladies: Jeans, cardigan, scoop-neck blouse, pensive look
Smash Project: Cobra Starship, The Used, The Cab and Dashboard Confessional
When: March 8
Where: Smart Araneta Coliseum
Guys: Neon, lmfao, black shirts/vintage tees, sneakers
Girls: Jeans, tees, singlets, sneakers — Victor Basa