Manila Fashion Festival (MFF) Day Three was all about the old and the new. They grouped together young, up-and-coming designers in ones how, and seasoned pros in the next. But the great divide isn’t just in the grouping but in each group’s manner of presentation. The novices displayed their visions in each of their collections, trying their best to find their own voices in the industry. The more established designers, on the other hand, remove space presented experience—and in certain cases, mastery—in their craft.
There was variety. You’ve got floral floor-sweeping dresses for bohemians, clean-cut silhouettes for minimalists, and deconstructed pieces for urban-dressers. Maybe this is the effect of curating a lineup of talents with varying points of view: You get a show that’s solid, albeit not perfect.
THE NEW, EMERGING DESIGNERS
Bengt’s collection was a showcase of black then white pieces. The white looks stood out as the ruffles were well-calculated and placed in the right places, flattering the waist and providing necessary drama at the back. The bell sleeves were cut at the right length, too, creating the illusion of length for the arms. If only the black pieces followed suit, Bengt would have had a stronger collection.
Softly tailored pieces were Eliz’s jump-off point for her debut collection for MFF. She took two blazers, deconstructing one for an off-shoulder iteration, and another with uneven lapels. These fresh, new ideas came across well. The next step for Eliz is to master the fit and construction, and she’ll be good to go for next season.
You have your kimono-inspired pieces and your coats. Via chooses to mix them both into what appeared to be light kimono coats, some with mismatched sides and uneven proportions. The twist here is the androgynous execution, and the ingenuity is in the wearability of the pieces.
Esme loves ruffles and pleats. In fact, they were the focal point of her collection, even rendered in supersized shapes to challenge conventional silhouettes. But when you break down the pieces into separates, that’s when you’ll find something to keep for yourself: comfy jumbo culottes for your weekends, and a pleated skirt and crop top for laissez faire dressing.
Daring cutouts and body-hugging dresses are what made Tony Evans’ edgy collection. Besides those apparent details we have yet to figure out where he’s coming from. Though the pieces were well-made, and polished with a good finish, they’re nothing entirely new yet that makes the collection distinct.
Banggo exhibited his preference for eveningwear, and while some pieces worked, others fell short. There were metallic pieces, rendered in silver and black that could be interesting conversation pieces when worn. At least the hits outnumbered the misses, and the full range of pieces, though incoherent, offered variation.
THE SEASONED DESIGNERS
Cheetah knows her woman well. Floral appliqués are pitfalls for tacky design, yet she managed to manipulate them to her own advantage. Overtly feminine pieces are her suggestions for women who have a penchant for delicacy with simple slip dresses and low-lying necklines revealing new erogenous zones, like sexy collarbones. Some could argue that her collection was persuasive enough to appeal even to those with less outlandish style.
Joy celebrated grunge in a collection chock-full of dark, baggy dresses and worn-in separates. She welcomes a new market with this aesthetic—one that is not yet explored locally well enough. The grunged-up designs come from different point of view. And for those looking for this kind of appeal, you’re in for a treat.
Florals may be the most overused print for spring/summer. But when Veejay Floresca takes them out for a spin—in his case, making over 10 floral prints clash with each other—you get the bohemian free-spiritedness the show needs. Layered ruffles in asymmetrical peasant and gypsy dresses evoke a carefree summer ahead. Though not meant for everyday wear, we had thoughts of prairies running around in pieces from the collection.
There was nothing extraordinary about Patty Ang’s precisely cut pieces yet. They’re well-made clothes for the sophisticated woman, apt for a weekend in Balesin or a relaxed get-together. But she proved to be the designer you could go to if you favor easy, unfussy pieces. And she can make you sexy too. That’s for sure.
The sole accessories designer for the season claims her spot in the shows. To make accessories stand out on the runway is a challenge in itself but with Ann’s statement gold pieces—layered bamboo necklaces with matching stacked bangles, patterned bib neckpieces, and gold-encrusted clutches—you can see the essential details even from afar. These showoff pieces, including gilded birdcage handbags and chest plates, are intricate heirlooms for the offbeat heir.
Photos by Acushla Obusan