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BENCH’S PLAYGROUND

Front row at Bench Fashion Week Holiday 2019

Updated

By JOHN LEGASPI

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For the second time this year, local retail powerhouse Bench opened up the fashion season with Bench Fashion Week (BFW) Holiday 2019. Local and international designers converged at the Playground events’ space of Bench Tower for a three-day fashion extravaganza celebrating Filipino craftsmanship, strengthening bonds from across the sea, and creating opportunities for young and emerging visionaries.

Day 1 opened with timeless looks for women’s fashion. Dark, funky, and unconventional street wear was on parade for Day 2. While for Day 3, it was all about the future of fashion with nine up and coming designers battling it out for style supremacy. Judging their designs were international fashion designers Willy Chavarria and Mihara Yasuhiro, Japan Fashion Week organization director Kaoru Imajo, Japanese fashion show director Shige Kaneko, and Tokyo Fashion Week’s Philippine consultant Tetta Matera. Heading the judges table was the executive creative director of Bench and founder and chairman of Suyen Corporation Ben Chan.

DAY 1

Lucy Torres-Gomez x Kashieca

Opening the BFW Holiday 2019 shows was the collab collection between actress Lucy Torres-Gomez and womenswear brand Kashieca. Lucy invited everyone to go on a trip down the memory lane with girls all dolled in pinup girl curls with fiery red lips, wearing a selection of dresses, trousers, and separates in cascading hues of monochromes and khakis to rich tones of maroon, mustard, navy blue, and forest green. The looks also played with vintage accessories, from headpieces such as berets, newsboy caps, and wide-brimmed bolero hats to vibrant scarves tied around the neck or as a head scarf paired with sunglasses just like the girls in the ’50s riding a Cadillac convertible.

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Patty Ang

Known for her classic and minimalist take on design, Patty Ang looked at the girl in the mirror as an inspiration for her collection. Tinted in a palette of deep tan, electric yellow, navy blue, and delicate neutrals, her loose-fitting double-breasted suits, high neck tops, acid wash denims, and corduroy pieces transcend to a vibrant path of ’70s vintage fashion. Amplifying the groovy vibe was the printed ankle boots paired with dresses and cropped trousers.

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Albert Andrada Luxewear

Inspired by Philippine Christmas lanterns, designer Albert Andrada sent out a collection that played with contrasts. A plethora of looks that included pearl-encrusted gowns, risqué lace dresses, tailored cover ups in soft grays, and a powder blue ball gown with floral appliqués took a different turn with the incorporation of elements from men’s traditional wear, such as sharp tailoring, the use of piña jusi, and the addition of calado and lumban embroideries, and pairing brogues with dainty dresses.

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DAY 2

Human

It’s a tour to the academe with Human’s runway show for BFW Holiday 2019. The brand presented ’90s-inspired streetwear looks for the cool kids, dark plaids and denims for the goth set, greens and double pairings for the preppies, and a stellar beauty story from drunk blush and rosy smokey eyes to electric pops of neon and glitter.

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Willy Chavarria

A fight for human dignity and equality was present in Willy Chavarria’s joint collection with Bench. Exploring denim, monochromes, neutrals, and nettings, the designer’s collection of boxy silhouettes, cropped work shirts, muscle mesh tees, and zip-neck cholo shirts were worn by men stomping their feet with anger. The Fight Club look was completed with the models’ faces painted with bruises and bare chests glistening and adorned with gold chain pendants in true vintage mafia and gangster style.

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Mihara Yasuhiro

Mihara Yasuhiro’s first encounter with design was when he created a pair of shoes while studying at the Tama Art University. Years later, he opened his own label, Miharayasuhiro, in 1996. For his latest collection, the designer merged street style, grunge, and avant-garde aesthetic in one compelling collection displaying oversized pieces fit for any gender. Mihara showed his skills in matching prints and patterns creating odd proportions styled with visor glasses and printed baseball caps.

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DAY 3

Jace Quiambao

Known for his design aesthetic dubbed as “sartorial whimsy,” this 26-year-old Iloilo designer is a licensed nurse who studied fashion design at the Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship. Jace Quiambao’s collection, entitled “A Lepidopterist’s Summer,” was inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s butterfly illustrations. He reinvented the field uniform of lepidopterists with the use of suede and twill, making jackets, shorts, and vests in earth tone hues juxtaposed with pops of color and a fair addition butterfly patches.

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Bon Reyes

Currently teaching basic menswear in the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, Bon Reyes first learned how to sew by creating garments for religious statues at their local Catholic church when he was younger. For the design competition, Bon presented his collection entitled “Pagkahari.” Inspired by the Filipino precolonial clothing, his gender-fluid designs interpret how Filipinos dressed during that time in contrast to how Spaniards depicted our way of dressing.

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Antonina Amoncio

Not new to the BDA runway, Antonina Amoncio presented her collection last year entitled “Para Sa ’Yo,” a tribute to the Philippine workforce. The 22- year-old graduate of University of the Philippines loves to associate her works with socially relevant issues, events, and sentiments. Through her new collection “Gunita,” she explored the world of Filipino children’s books, featuring the illustrations of her young sister Ann Suzette as the print for her garments.

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