The third edition of TernoCon was all about the celebration of the Balintawak
It’s a collaboration between Bench and the Cultural Center of the Philippines that walks towards the revival of our national costume—to create a narrative that the Filipiniana can go beyond the formal, where designs are crafted to push the boundaries of tradition. The competition gathered designers from across the country to create new iterations of the Filipiniana. And last January 28, the third edition of TernoCon revealed the line of designs the 12 finalists made for the competition.
For this year’s installment, the challenge for each designer was to modernize the Balintawak, the less formal version of the terno. It’s also the version that was often used in the countryside, which has a more relaxed and less intimidating appeal. The twist here was to give the Balintawak a modern-day look that the Filipinos opt for nowadays.
The competition gathered designers from different regions of the country. From NCR, there were Yssa Inumerable, Geom Hernandez, and Dee Javier. The Luzon contenders included Amor Albano, Glyn Alley Magtibay, Bon Hansen Reyes, and Gabbie Sarenas. All the way from Visayas were designers Bree Esplanada, Karl Nadales, Al Rey Rosano, and Marc Carcillar. And lastly, the only designer from Mindanao was Gladys Rose Pantua. All of the 12 finalists were then guided by four esteemed Filipino designers: Dennis Lustico, Joey Samson, Ricky Toledo, and Chito Vijandre.
After all collections of the finalists were revealed to the audience, 2020 TernoCon winner Hannah Adrias’ collection graced the runway with her deconstructed interpretation of the Terno.
Shortly after her pieces, the four mentors then presented their own line of Balintawak. And to cap off the night, three of the finalists were awarded for their unique interpretations of the national costume.
Glady Rose Pantua, Ramon Valera Awardee (Bronze)
The Zamboanga-based designer kept her roots close to the collection. Through her use of local textiles from her city, like the intricate weaves of the pants and the beaded hem of the sheer fabric, she was able to give the spotlight to the rich culture and artistry of Zamboanga.
Gabbie Sarenas, Pura Escurdia Awardee (Silver)
A collection that leaned towards the signature color of the Filipiniana, Gabbie Sarenas gave the traditional costume a relaxed look. Patterns are matched with dainty floral as drapings were often played around on the bodice.
Yssa Inumerable, Pacita Longos Awardee (Gold)
For the winning collection, Yssa channeled two historical eras in fashion that were rather contrasting in terms of cultural background. Her designs showcased a combination of the west and east through playful interpretations that balanced the two fashion aesthetics of the past.
Yssa kept the traditional patterns of the Balintawak, as well as the structure of the butterfly sleeves and saya, while western design elements were incorporated through the high coiffure and long draped skirts—reminiscent of the 1800s Gibson Girl.
To balance out the western details, the designer played with vivid colors and heavily patterned fabrics—a contrast to her usual earthy hues. Her interpretation of the traditional Balintawak that included the tiered skirt can also be a reference to how, in the past, the saya was tucked by the waist. And to complete the look, she added the signature butterfly sleeves, which were adorned with dainty floral embroidery.
Photography ED SIMON