By John Legaspi
On its second run this year, the Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival (PMFF) served runway looks that celebrated Filipino artistry through innovations. To cap off the milestone on its fifth year, the PMFF showcased a series of fashion and beauty events, including style and beauty talks, a search for the face of the Philippines, and runway presentations. These make the PMFF, whose vision is to see the Philippines with a fashion sensibility on par with the world’s fashion capitals, among the most sought-after events of every Filipino fashion savant.
“What we’ve done over the years is to make dreams happen,” said CEO of Art Personas Ronnie Cruz. “This is a platform for dreams to happen. We’ve helped a lot of designers over the years and it is amazing to see what we have accomplished. We’re not just celebrating fashion, we are celebrating life.”
On its white runway, PMFF not only paved way for local designers’ dreams to come to reality, it also gave numerous inspirations for fashionistas to see and further their lives in fashion through thoughtful designs rooted from unconventional inspirations, making every runway display undisputed works of art.
Here are the style personas forecast by the designers of PMFF, ranging from fabulous color combos and homages to the past to odd proportions associated with the modern Filipino:
Subtlety was the foul word for the collections that experimented with volume, proportion, and use of materials. Fred Telarma’s “Lot 01- 12” used ethnic textiles and morphed them into avant-garde pieces that made everyone think of aspects of cubism. Ready for the gloomiest weather was “Talit-Hi” by John Pe Lar Lar, which featured reimagined utilitarian wear in what might be a box-focused and synthetic aesthetic.
Cheetah Rivera, Steph Tan, Veejay Floresca, and Windel Mira
Mimicking the movement of the wind, these pieces exuded an aura of femininity that was dignified and serene. Cheetah Rivera and Windel Mira brought a delicious calm to the runway with flounce, billowy sleeves, and fringe trimmings that danced on air. Showing how to paint with the colors of the wind were designers Steph Tan and Veejay Floresca who released airy tulle dresses tinted in bold colors and pastel hues.
Call on the authorities. Here comes the pack your parents warned you about. Kaye Morales explored the wild motorcycle culture through her collection “Gemini” that was rife with latex, chains and hardware, and that iconic burning skull insignia. Channeling the spirit of the Scottish highlands was Chris Diaz’s “Edward R I” and his combinations of autumnal plaids and dark nettings, giving everyone a sense of the grungy.
Women styled in a film noir-esque aesthetic bared a little more skin, but never shed that shade of black. Melancholia mixed with subtle sexiness was seen on the pieces of Marichu Tan, Emi Englis, and Renan Pacson. These incorporated lace and organza, and were reminiscent of the mood of secret romances and wild kisses.
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Not so serious suits. Tailored or the slouchy kind, suits are the new formal, taking a cue from the 2019 psychological thriller Joker. Showing the same kind of humor were designers Dodjie Batu, Edgar Buyan, and Egay Ayag, as they painted suits with rainbow colors, and patched them with various patterns. One of the pieces was even paired with a tutu.
Championing the Philippine culture on the runway were the designers’ modern take on the traditional Filipinowear—the terno and the barong. Bamba Limon and Dodjie Batu breathed new life into the barong through the use of indigenous textiles, while Yong Davalos and Edgar Buyan gave a vibrant, refreshing Technicolor twist to the terno and citrusy prints, to boot.