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Local is the new global

FUNFARE - The Philippine Star
Local is the new global
Miss Earth Philippines Celeste Cortesi and Miss Earth Philippines Ecotourism Halimatu Yushawu are in Edgar Madamba, and Miss Earth Philippines Water Berj Chee is in Niña Corpuz inabel. The Madamba dress (rightmost) is inspired by the balimbing fruit.

Dr. Joven Cuanang is a famous neurologist and his delicate care extends to the world of Philippine culture, art and ecology through the advocacies of his Pinto Museum, one of which is the promotion of inabel (meaning hand-woven in Ilocano, a cultural icon of Ilocos). Ideal as blankets, curtains and mosquito nets, inabel was historically used as sails of the galleons because of its durability. Like pinakbet, saluyot and bagnet, inabel is identified with Ilocanos.

But Inabel in high fashion, everyday fashion and even street fashion? The answer is a resounding, “Wen, Manong!” (Trivia: Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat loves to wear dresses made of inabel.)

This was proven at the recently concluded Pinto x Aura Presents: Inabel at SM Aura. Dr. Joven handpicked three designers with the idea of showcasing inabel in three different ways.

  Team Inabel, from left: Otto Sacramento, Edgar Madamba, Niña Corpuz and Dr. Joven Cuanang.

• Niña Corpuz: The Accidental Designer

Everyone knows Niña as an ABS-CBN reporter and host but Dr. Joven loves to call her ”The Accidental Designer.” Two years ago, when Dr. Joven was browsing Facebook, he noticed that Niña loved to post pictures of her daughters Stella and Emily wearing pretty children’s clothes made of inabel. So he asked her, “How would you like to do a fashion show featuring children in inabel?” That resulted in their first project together, a fashion show held at sunset with the beautiful Sitio Remedios in Currimao, Ilocos Norte, as a backdrop. Niña was the opening act to Edgar Madamba’s couture collection.

“By giving inabel a modern twist, this beautiful piece of fabric can now be used as everyday wear by people of all ages, and not just worn as a ‘costume’ or during special occasions,” said Niña.

There was a lot of demand, which led to the birth of a brand, Niña Inabel that now makes everyday clothes for children, millennials, parents and even “titallennials.”

  Twinning holiday collection by Naiña Inabel.

For Pinto x Aura, Niña Inabel’s exhibit area was decorated like an enchanted children’s playground. On display was her latest holiday collection of colorful children’s party dresses with a touch of shimmer. There were also matching pieces for teenagers and mommies as well. She also put an elegant twist on the use of the traditional inabel plaid. Of course, her classic black-and-white pieces were still a mainstay of her new collection.

• Edgar Madamba: The Fashion Veteran

Right next to Niña Inabel’s Playground was Edgar Madamba’s Inabel Gala that showcased how glamorous and elegant the fabric was even when used in formal dresses and long gowns.

  From left: Tintin Bersola-Babao, Niña’s daughter Emily, Julius Babao, Dr. Joven, Niña (with son Luke) and lawyer Nestor Corpuz.

“The fabric design and texture can be as luxurious as the ones being regularly used for couture clothing,” said Edgar. “They come out just as fabulous or even more because it’s 100 percent pure cotton, the right thickness makes the dress design fall incredibly beautiful.”

During the launch of Pinto x Aura, everyone’s attention was drawn to a beautiful all-white Filipiniana which featured a “balimbing skirt” inspired by the shape of the fruit also used to describe “multi-faced” politicians. The dress was flawless, but what made it even more beautiful was that the fabric came from 100 percent cotton grown by cotton farmers in Ilocos Norte. Edgar’s vintage inabel barong were also sold out during the exhibit.

The veteran designer recently had an inabel showcase at the Philippine Center in New York which was welcomed with much enthusiasm — everyone wanted to wear inabel and Edgar was swamped with orders. Yes, inabel is gaining world attention. Local is the new global.

  From left: Divine Duran, Dr. Luisa Puyat, Naomi Corpuz, Miguela Puyat and Dr. Mitos Cabral all in dresses by Niña (third from right).

• Otto Sacramento: The artist from Milan comes home

But what about inabel street wear?

That’s where Otto’s Art Brut Installation comes in, another feature of Pinto x Aura. Those who visited the exhibit noticed how the men’s T-shirts, bucket hats, accessories and bags with inabel designs were displayed on a “cross” similar to a scarecrow or some may even interpret as nailed on a cross.

Otto is the brainchild behind the new brand Ottomondi which created Ottomondi Red Label as part of the brand’s commitment to ethical fashion.

  Sacramento’s Ottomondi Red Label’s ARTee Bar.

“We created red label to pay tribute to the uniqueness of Filipino arts and crafts,” explained the former visual merchandiser for H&M, Prada and Marni.

Otto loved his life in Milan, conceptualizing events for Vogue Italia and having the opportunity to work with its late editor, Franca Sozzani. But Otto decided to come home to his roots after Dr. Joven discovered the Tarlac-born artist, and convinced him to work with inabel.

“I’m happy that there are plenty of initiatives and institutions in the country now like Pinto Art Museum that empower designers to work with homegrown materials,” added Otto.

  Niña with children Stella, Emily and Luke.

Ottomondi is going to present its SS19 collection during Tokyo Fashion Week this month after being one of the three winners at the recently-held Bench Design Awards 2018.

Expect Dr. Joven and his Team Inabel to do more collaboration not just in the country but also abroad.

“It’s all about thinking globally and acting locally. We have to consider the socio-economic impact slow fashion makes on our communities,” stressed Dr. Joven. “Patronizing local products uplifts the lives of many Filipinos, they become healthier and less sick!”

What’s up?

• Macoy Mendoza (photo) stars in his first major concert at the Teatrino (Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan City) tonight starting at 9. Billed as Music & Me, the concert will have as guests Prime Diva Billy, Kiel Alo, Luis Gragera and Nonoy Zuñiga, with the special participation of Allan K. Musical director is Butch Miraflor.

Music & Me is presented by former Gov. Chavit Singson, Isabela Gov. Bojie Dy, IVM Construction and Aficionado Germany Perfume, with the support of Art Atayde, Nixon Teng, Boy Abunda and Guiguinto (Bulacan) Mayor Boy Cruz and his wife Precy.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

JOVEN CUANANG

NIñA CORPUZ

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