By JULES VIVAS
Images by NOEL PABALATE
Fashion is many things. It’s a social signifier, a form of self-expression and empowerment. As famous fashion photographer Bill Cunningham puts it, an “armor” to survive the reality of life.
French sociologist and philosopher Pierre Bourdieu described fashion as “the latest fashion, the latest difference” and, if that were the case, with us having such a rich fashion scene spearheaded by esteemed Filipino designers whose names resound all over the globe, it’s heartwarming that charity, more than a passing trend, has been an all-season rage.
Premier fashion and philanthropic event, the Red Charity Gala, marks its 11th year by once again putting the spotlight on our world-class local designers. Only this year, instead of focusing on one designer, the occasion assembles all of its past honorees.
Gala founders Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Kaye Tinga, both enamored of the glamour and glitz of the fashionable life, have always gone above and beyond mere appearances, using fashion as an instrument to make a positive impact on the lives of many through worthwhile causes. This social gathering of Manila’s who’s who, formerly known as the Red Cross Gala, has a deeper, more meaningful purpose, supporting the Philippine Red Cross and the Assumption High School Batch 1981 Foundation.
“The First Ten” is a fashion show that, as its name suggests, gathers all previous gala designers, from Dennis Lustico, the first featured designer back in 2009, to Rajo Laurel who headlined last year’s gala with a collection of nearly 100 pieces.
Dennis returns to the runway with “The Story of Mei,” a collection that he based on the 2004 film House of Flying Daggers.The pieces will show his hyper-glam interpretation of the Chinese form-fitting dress, the cheongsam. Among the 10 illustrious industry names is Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One whose collection will highlight his distinctive way of incorporating lace, tulle, feathers, and other intricate details to masterpieces. Meanwhile, fellow Dubai-based Filipino couturier Michael Cinco, famous for the breathtaking drama of his ball gowns, has created a collection inspired by the culture and aesthetics of India. Seven years after his spectacular 35-piece origami-inspired collection, Cebuano designer Cary Santiago’s work for the coming fete will be a combination of edge, sophistication, modernity, and femininity. The brilliant Ezra Santos, the third UAE-based designer in the lineup, will exhibit pieces drawn from his interpretation of Arab culture and its women. Meanwhile, Jojie Lloren, reengineers Philippine traditional clothing, such as the barong Tagalog, the terno, and the traje de mestiza, with his signature architectural and minimalist style. The youngest of the group, London-based Lesley Mobo, will parade a collection that brings to form the mysticism of the femmes fatales of the 1940s and the 1950s. Self-proclaimed maximalist Chito Vijandre’s collection will be composed of fantasy couture pieces inspired by the artists of the 18th and 19th centuries. He explained that his creations would mirror how he experienced the world in his lifetime. Last, but definitely not the least, Rajo Laurel will again show his outstanding works that will pay homage to the energy, colors, and joy of the Ati-Atihan festival. Titled “Hala-Bira,” his collection reflects his penchant for finding romanticism and luxury even in the most unlikely subject, the marginalized women from Davao and Bicol.
The one-of-a-kind fashion show will be held on Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. at the Shangri-La at the Fort in Taguig City.
The Red Charity Gala 2019 is made possible by Bench, in cooperation with IAM Worldwide, A2A Safaris, Bernhardt, Diagold, Globe Platinum, Jewelmer, Megaworld, and Ulthera. Other generous partners are Hokkaido Tracks, The Manila Hotel, and Tessera. Additional support also came from Adworks Manila, Fuentes Manila, Furnitalia, Moss Manila, Mint College, Robert Blancaflor Group, 18th.ph, and Royal Gem.
Tags: Bill Cunningham, Cary Santiago, cheongsam, Chito Vijandre, Dennis Lustico, Ezra Santos, Furne One, House of Flying Daggers, Jules Vivas, Kaye Tinga, Lesley Mobo, Michael Cinco, Noel Pabalate, Pierre Bourdieu, Rajo Laurel, Tessa Prieto Valdes