Arts and Culture

History Month: Philippine arts, fashion in spotlight at MaArte fair's physical return

Jan Milo Severo - Philstar.com
History Month: Philippine arts, fashion in spotlight at MaArte fair's physical return
From left: Works by Jude Macasinag and Capricho
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — MaArte, the elegant fundraising bazaar that benefits the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, is back on August 19 to 21 at the Peninsula Manila.  

The foundation’s mission is to raise funds and awareness for the National Museum of the Philippines and its network.

MaArte had its beginnings in February 2009 as a complementary event to HABI, The Second ASEAN Traditional Textiles Symposium, a four-day international conference held in Manila.  The conference’s Market Encounter segment allowed delegates the opportunity to appreciate and acquire Philippine textiles and jewelry.

Since then, MaArte has grown in scope and has undergone several iterations in various venues.  In 2017, it found a new home in The Peninsula Manila and has since been rebranded as MaArte at The Pen.

To date, MaArte at The Pen is a much-awaited event that celebrates Filipino craftsmanship. After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 edition will bring back previous participants who offer a varied array of thoughtfully-made merchandise while introducing elements that signal the event’s emergence into a new normal. 

The overarching theme of MaArte at The Pen 2022 is to celebrate the Filipino creative soul. It aims to recognize not just traditional Filipino craft and design but also bring to the fore contemporary Philippine design in the fields of fashion, furniture, and accessories. 

Philippine Art Events Inc., the group that owns and operates Art Fair Philippines and Art in the Park, will run MaArte at The Pen 2022.  The event is supported by Major Sponsors Ayala Land Premier and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).  

“We are glad to support an event that promotes Filipino craftsmanship and design, and at the same time provides our clients with special experiences and empowering financial solutions,” said Jenelyn Lacerna, BPI SVP and Unsecured Lending and Cards, Product and Sales Head.

A Special Exhibit: SLIM at The Lobby

Salvacion Lim Higgins, known by the acronym Slim, was a fashion designer whose career began in post-World War II Manila, from 1947 until her passing in 1990. The first decade of her career is considered a golden era in Philippine fashion. She was known for creating some of the most avant-garde silhouettes of her time, both for evening gowns and ternos. Considered a master in her techniques of draping and embellishment, her beautiful creations have been the subject of a retrospective at the National Museum of the Philippines in 2009. In June of this year, the Philippine government recognized her with the distinction of National Artist for Design.

MaArte at The Pen puts together a vignette of ensembles by Slim. The dresses date from 1952 to the early 1980s and have been loaned from the archives of Slim’s Fashion & Arts School.  Nine of her fabulous creations will be on view at The Lobby from August 15 to 27, 2022.  

Painter Mark Lewis Higgins, the late designer’s son who serves as the current Director of Slim’s Fashion & Arts School, will curate this special exhibit. 

PHxMaArte, a section on contemporary fashion

To spotlight the breadth of Filipino fashion design, this year’s bazaar works together with the PHx Fashion Group to introduce PHxMaArte, a section that will acquaint MaArte visitors with the next generation of Filipino designers. They trumpet unconventional lines and global mindsets. Among those debuting new collections in this section are BAGASÁO, NeilFelipp, and Kelvin Morales, labels coming off stints at Tokyo Fashion Week.  Jude Macasinag flies in Manifesto, recently presented for his bachelor graduation collection at the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris.

The PHx Fashion Group also worked in consultation with fashion schools SoFA Design Institute and iAcademy, as well as the fashion design department of the De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde to feature three graduates as part of the PHxMaArte selection.  

Apparel, fashion accessories

MaArte takes pride in the role it has played in propelling into the mainstream apparel brands that have advocated the use of traditional Filipino textiles. Incorporating indigenous embroidery patterns and techniques into their merchandise are the hallmarks of MaArte at The Pen pioneers, brands like Filip+Inna and Good Luck Humans. This year’s MaArte brings back these beloved labels, along with, among others, Rurungan Collective,  WYC Wear Your Culture, Two Chic, and Creative Definitions + Lakat Sustainables. 

The heirloom and the current 

The choices for MaArte visitors will suit a range of inclinations. To highlight our rich traditions, respected purveyors of Philippine antiques, tribal art, and maps Unang Panahon, Gallery Deus, Leon Gallery, and Gallery of Prints will debut choice pieces in their first-ever MaArte appearances.  

Likewise, MaArte at The Pen’s selection of jewelry from, among others, Riqueza, Micki Olaguer, Tim Tam Ong, and Natalya Lagdameo, will run from pre-colonial gold trinkets to vintage estate jewelry to accessories in wood, bone, and brass for casual everyday wear. 

Also marking his first time at MaArte is Ito Kish. The home accessories and furniture carried by his eponymous shop reflect an enduring passion for design.  Joining him are MaArte stalwarts Beyond Borders, DOMESTICITY - TILIA, and the non-profit Gifts and Graces. 

To add more depth to the home section, MaArte organizers consulted architect, furniture designer, and former Bluprint magazine editor Tina Bonoan.  Her lineup includes Azcor Lighting Systems,Touch of Craft, and HOLICOW, all found at the 6th floor.  

Traditional textiles

Harking back to its very first bazaar, fabric collections that highlight native Filipino traditions always have a place at the event.  This year, some of the brands featuring them are Balay ni Atong and WVN Living, plus Ifugao-based community weaver Marlon Martin.

RELATED: Aliw Theater reopens, fulfilling Lisa Macuja-Elizalde's 'phoenix' promise


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with