MANILA, Philippines – This quartet of four familiar names from the industry was mostly high shine and heavy handiwork — making some veritable showstoppers, although many bordered on a “looks good on the runway but not in reality” piece. Still, couture is all about what the designer is capable of, with the audience picking out pieces that may be more wearable in real life.
Avel Bacudio took inspiration from medieval times, producing pieces that of a modern warrior, infusing metal accents to his predominantly black and white pieces. Structured jackets with sharp shoulders went into stark contrast against monochromatic patterned flowing dresses, including an almost floor-length number that was cinched in with a metal belt. Spikes were also mixed in with sequined details adding more character to a collection that remained simple in its clean construction, giving the everyday warrior wearable choices, and an option for a full-metal fashionista.
Chris Diaz showed a collection that could make for a present-day Julie Christie in Dr. Zhivago. Reminiscent of Russian fur hats and rich fabrics, it was the interesting mix of colors that were most memorable on the runway. Jewel toned skirts paired with dark velvet and lace echoed both decadence and drama. One particular standout was a transparent black net with a rose detailed neckline over what looked like an acid-green satin dress-think rock princess goes to the ball.
Disco (or Donna Summer) opened the high-energy collection of Eric de los Santos as señora supermodel Marina Benipayo spun around in a fully sequined red gown that could have garnerned her entry at disco utopia’s Studio 54. High-end shine was a common thread that evening as sequins and shiny leather ensembles shimmered on. If that wasn’t enough to be eye-catching, newsprint-like patterns also emerged on dresses, showing clothes that looked even better when in full-motion. An off-the-shoulder top that looked like it was made from a disco ball, as well as a full sequined black pantsuit that was mid-riff bearing, were definitely not for the fashion faint-hearted and would be worth their weight in conversation sparkle.
The glamour found in the silver screen of yesteryears seemed to serve as inspiration for Raoul Ramirez’ collection, although some veered away from the conventional and were paired with more dramatic details such as puffed-up ruffled sleeves, necklines on top of a skin hugging sequined skirt and a seamless transition of gold to black on a floor length dress (again) sequined and beaded. Even his menswear showed character, with what would normally be a trench coat was shortened and angled, paired with a bowler hat and tights, something maybe only Chaplin could pull off. Lace, satin and even what looked to be velvet were at their brightest, giving a playful twist to what would otherwise be a standard, classic piece.