Terno inferno: Who was the biggest fashionista First Lady?
BENT ANTENNA - Audrey N. Carpio () - May 19, 2010 - 12:00am

Who, among all the Philippine First Ladies, was the biggest fashionista? Imelda Marcos would be the obvious answer, given her notorious flamboyance and insistence on all things beautiful. Plus, she did have two decades to amass a wardrobe to end all wardrobes, while the others had only two to six years in the limelight. But the recently concluded exhibit “Many Splendored Ladies,” staged by Bambi Harper of the Intramuros Administration, seems to point to Luz Magsaysay as the dark-horse candidate.

Pulled from her archives to be put on display were not one, but four ternos, each quite different from the next, showing a range in style and all in extremely good taste. A sweet pink beaded gown, an art deco-ish cream gown, a handsome blue lace gown and a fabulous beige terno with a pleated drape (the last three all by Ramon Valera) commanded the center of the exhibition space in the dungeon-like hall of Fort Santiago’s Almacenes Reales.

Luz, we find out, was a shy person and was not fond of social engagements. And yet, she possessed a fascinatingly stylish collection, which can be attributed to the fact that she was the highest lady of the land from 1953-1957, during what is called the Golden Age of Couture. This was a period when the terno became more than just a national costume; it was a fashion statement, with designers experimenting with its form and playing with its possibilities. Leonila Garcia followed with gowns that were carefully constructed and delicately beaded.

Eva Macapagal in Malacañang in the first part of the ’60s took a more conservative approach, with unflashy dresses and even a camisa-and-patadyong set. Then Imelda blew in with a psychedelic Christmas elf-on-acid embroidered terno by Joe Salazar and a dark blue number that looks like a peacock had mated with a disco ball. Exhibition curator Yael Buencamino kept to just two Imeldific dresses, since audiences are already familiar with her official ensembles, even if one was born post-EDSA (haven’t you heard? David Byrne has created the soundtrack to her wardrobe). For the ’90s, Ming Ramos and Loi Estrada rocked the gilded matron look, and heavy beading continued to be ever so popular.

Not part of the exhibit, obviously, but still important to consider are our two female presidents, who in their own way are memorable for what they wore or didn’t wear. Cory Aquino did not don the terno, as it had been long associated with the previous regime, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has been spotted in Inno Sotto, JC Buendia, and Rajo Laurel, will probably be remembered most for her YSL cage boots. With president-elect Noynoy Aquino a confirmed bachelor, it may be a while until we get another truly fashionable first lady, although his fresh-faced girlfriend Shalani totally has Jackie Kennedy potential, given the right stylists. No, we’re not even considering Kris.

ALMACENES REALES BAMBI HARPER OF THE INTRAMUROS ADMINISTRATION CORY AQUINO DAVID BYRNE EVA MACAPAGAL FORT SANTIAGO GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO GOLDEN AGE OF COUTURE IMELDA MARCOS INNO SOTTO
  • Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

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!

SIGN IN
or sign in with