It is that time once again when the bleachers of the modern-day fashion colosseum gets packed to the rafters with an eager audience sitting and waiting to see what is new and next in local style. Emerging from the deep end of the glossy runway, the designers of Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival get their game on, make the final adjustments and send out their very best for the season to come.
The scene never changes: dividing a nondescript space is a glossy, buffed out runway that seems almost too pretty to step on. From each side, whispers of endless chatter and banter swell into a deafening chorus, which subsequently weaves through a throng of familiar fashion characters and eagerly dressed acquaintances air kiss their way into their assigned seats. This is fashion tradition, as observed for over a few season now, rings in twice a year, heralding a fresh batch of trends to appropriate for the modern woman’s day-to-day.
This season, Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival kicks off with much aplomb, assembling a wattage of designers that revved up the party to high gear with 80s-style soundtracks and of course, high-octane fashion.
The designs of Anthony Ramirez are almost always two things: ultra feminine or exquisitely edgy. This season for Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival, however, the designer combines the two ends of the spectrum to produce a collection that successfully toes the line of hard and soft, revealing a fully realized femme fatale. Rendered in delicate sheer fabrics, the delicate silhouettes in olive green, ultraviolet and royal blue are accorded a sensual edge with pairing of corsets, power suiting, and copious slices of skin. With a distinct definition of the woman he dresses, Anthony Ramirez takes the same control and crafts an offering that will surely be on the racks of many.
Martin Bautista likes to play around, with fashion that is. A compliment by all means, the designer continues to inject a sense of fun to his signature sense of femininity. Ruffles, slits and pleats are juxtaposed by textures such as plastic, holographic sheen and 3D embellishments, all layered with careful thought and brevity. Anchored by timeless silhouettes, there is a shock of futuristic appeal that isn’t cloying or pandering to any preconceived archetype. What settles with the audience is a lasting impression, guaranteeing that these looks will make their way to super style status in a time that is yet to come by.
Designers have long been fascinated by the roaring 20s, taking form in many a fashion collection over the course of history. A trove of endless inspiration, the flapper era continues to permeate modern day fashion, this time as told by young designer Rosbert Villar. Rendered in a color palette of luscious earth tones, primal animal prints, fur-like textures and intricate beadwork slicing through the folds and flaps. Punctuating this offering for Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival were a slew of berets that added an appropriate styling anachronism that brought the pieces back to a more glamour but contemporary setting.
It was clear from the first few looks that Steph Tan had a specific lady in mind when crafting this collection for Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival. A swirl of light-as-a-feather pastels, cascading ruffles, piled on pleats and swathes of tulle brought to mind a very vivid debutante marking her coming of age. The frills and fanfare weren’t all for show as the builds of details combined to make a cohesive, aspirational whole.
With a soaring romantic overture matched by electric synths and syncopated beats, it was a clear 80s redux for Rob Ortega as he sent a pa-pa-party down the runway of Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival with an army of models decked out in a dazzling display of sequins, power (and exposed) shoulders and notice-me cinching. As the soundtrack of a youth gone by continued to drum into the heads of the audience, the energy of the collection soared higher as it took a sharp turn for the more decadent representation of the decade we have all come to know and love.
There is no other way to say it, but Cheetah Rivera sure knows the woman she is dressing. While she can be cornered into more detailed and embellished of-the-moment pieces, she also knows when to take things slow and let the subject take front of center. That isn’t to say that she gets lost in the woman. On the contrary, this calculated simplification zeroes in on technique and point-of-view as opposed to a mish-mash of details that make the eye dance. This season. she focuses on clear, minimal silhouettes, embellishing only when necessary. Whether it is a body-hugging white number with a speckle of embroidery on the shoulder or bold blocks of color, Cheetah Rivera makes it certain that the true star of the show is the woman—nothing more, nothing less.
An unapologetic glamour takes on a cloak of ease this season as Jaz Cerezo sends out a collection that is confident in its simplicity. Seesawing between breezy kaftan-like dresses and skin tight metallic and velvet numbers, every bit of the woman was accentuated in the right places. Featuring a dizzying display of drapes, dazzling net overlays and slices of skin, there was something that would definitely catch attention at first and second glance.
Leave it to Esme Palaganas to stir the fashionably acclimated audience to attention with a commanding first few looks. A signature nonchalant kind of femininity is still firmly in place, but this time around, she shakes things up by presenting menswear that were an impeccable mix of romantic and rugged. Not to be left behind, the female set picked up the rear with tiered lacework in black, as well as shocks of red with intelligently placed seaming and dangerously low necklines.
Even from across the miles, Veejay Floresca continues to make her presence felt on the local fashion scene with a collection that celebrates the designer’s affinity for textures, volume and blocks of color. Grounded in the sensibilities of the modern day Filipina, Veejay Floresca designs for all facets and all occasions. Whether you are gliding across the dimly lit ballroom or inching towards your romance of a lifetime at the altar, there is most definitely a look you can easily slip into.
It becomes apparent that Patricia Santos has only one goal when you are decked out in her original designs: You have to get noticed. If her collection is any indication, then trust that you will do more than just turn heads. You will keep the gazes locked with your choice of an intricately beaded floor-length sweeper, a cropped top and skirt combo elevated by a trellis of flowers or an unbridled statement of femininity with stacks of pleats, lace and plumage. The lasting impression you ask? Well, that’s when that wink, nudge and coy looking over the shoulder will come in. Otherwise, you’re already the star by all accounts.