Text and images by Jullie Yap Daza
What an apt theme to choose for a party to celebrate the birthday of one of the loveliest octogenarians in the world!
And yet, looking at the youthful happiness giver, Mellie Ablaza, one has to give it back to her: Happiness shows on your face, in your physique and state of mind, in your positive outlook on life, love, work, family, and friends (of which she has an army, more than enough to fill the pavilion in her Amelia estate in Alfonso, the town after Tagaytay City, site of her imaginatively themed parties at least twice, thrice a year).
This year’s theme was interpreted in the appropriate millennial language: ON FLEEK meaning fashionable; LIT meaning exciting; YAS to praise something or someone; SLAY to do something exceptionally well; and BAE for before anyone else, which is another way of describing that special someone. Methinks Mellie’s vocabulary update was courtesy of her children and grandchildren, and that includes the post-Millennial Z generation, unless time has sped by so fast that I’m stuck in a time warp and that name is no longer appropriate.
Mellie, the lady whose gowns are the stuff of legends pulled from airy tales, remembered from fabulous balls and imagined in technicolor dreams by haute couture designers, was a surprise when she received her guests in an easy-to-wear cotton dress with three-fourths sleeves, paired with a simple shoulder bag. Dress and bag screamed “ready to hit the streets in traffic-jammed Manila!” That’s Mellie for you: every birthday a younger self, every party a different facet of her personality.
How did her guests interpret “on fleek”? The invitations read “Streetwear Style, Closet Tour,” inspiring many ladies and their escorts to show up in blue jeans. But one or two or a few who came in long skirts. Nene Pe Lim donned the denim jeans of the century with those slashes and holes, while her husband Benny wore enough carats to bedazzle the sun. Mellie’s beloved husband Louie was 101 percent relaxed in a “signature” shirt, i.e., one with the name Balenciaga splashed all over in varying type fonts, in black and white. Mellie and Louie’s granddaughter Aisia A. Syquia gets my vote for most fun outfit of the day. YAS, Aisia!