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Black, white and everything in between |


Black, white and everything in between

Ana G. Kalaw - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The opening show for the last day of Philippine Fashion Week wasn’t marked by any name (Grand Allure, Ready To Wear) nor brand (Magnum). Featuring Dax Bayani, Lizanne Cua, Melchor Guinto, Randall Solomon and Raoul Ramirez, the only morning show in the five-day set wasn’t hedged in by a particular theme or any expectation.

If you were to compare all five designer collections, the shared idea would be their predominant use of black, white and neutrals, excepting Lizanne Cua. But then, it is not necessarily only the color palette that gives a collection its signifying factor, but what’s in between and among these shades: the little details, the construction and the insights.

Dax Bayani

It’s slowly becoming clear that Dax Bayani is promoting himself as a swimsuit and resortwear designer, based on his last few PFW outings, the recent one included. This time he revolves his obsession around tribal and wild animal prints. These may be seasons-old trends — and a jolt from all the clean whites and serene blues we’ve been exposed to lately — however Bayani still manages to create something unexpectedly desirable: snakeskin-print maillots with a touch of sheen, leopard-print cropped tops and voluminous caftan dresses.

Lizanne Cua

It’s good to see a designer that goes beyond the holiday cliché of deep, dark colors and red-carpet fabric. Cua’s brilliant reds, cheerful corals and iridescent golds were an appreciated reprieve from all the blacks, whites and nude, but not to the point that you didn’t miss how undone the whole collection looked. Too-long fringes, oversized necklaces, and peplum appliqués, combined with geisha-reminiscent hair and makeup, give a sense of confusion to the whole collection. Throwing in bold, watercolor prints into the fray barely helped. Beyond the unnecessary trappings, however, you get a glimpse of flowy jersey dresses and sweet shifts that can be mainstays in a woman’s closet.

Melchor Guinto

Melchor Guinto is probably one of the most underrated tailors in the country. His technique speaks of precise patterns, sharp silhouettes and an enviable familiarity with the suit jacket.

There is nothing earth-shattering about Guinto’s holiday collection for PFW, which is good, especially for the type of clothes Guinto does. Save for a smattering of paisley/floral-print suits that would need bravado and distinctive panache to pull off, the designer gives men exactly what they need: classic, elegant, beautifully-fitting evening wear with a few trendy tweaks and details. His camel-colored, nipped-at-the-waist suits and multi-buttoned jackets, set off by loosely-tied cravats, remind of romantic figures from historicals or rugged Westerns, those types that remind you that, underneath all the swagger and style, there is still a man’s man.

Randall Solomon

Randall Solomon’s propensity for flamboyance comes to fore once again in his holiday collection for PFW. His collection is as chaotic as the allusions of his booming soundtrack: abundant beads on lace, yards of feathers and frou frou, chiffon trains and those grandiose headdresses all trying to compete for fashion notoriety. Sometimes, there was just too much going on you didn’t know where to look, or even what exactly you were looking at.

But the collection did have its moments of serenity, notably in Solomon’s nude-colored, lace-on-chiffon pieces. His shorter, cocktail dresses were particularly notable, as was his final piece: a full-sleeved, full-skirted lace gown made more memorable by the oyster shell model Charo Ronquillo was holding in one hand. Later you find out that Solomon was inspired by the “bounty of the sea” and everything, the frothy gowns, the netted fabric and shimmering details — in a way — all makes sense.

Raoul Ramirez

Decidedly more impressive than his last showing for summer 2013, Raoul Ramirez’s collection for the holiday season gained an advantage with his predominant use of black and white, and his decision to keep things simple: minimal styling and minimalist silhouettes. Though he had a few pieces for men, it was evident that this was a collection for, and inspired by, women, particularly women who run the world, in full-beaded regalia and stilettos no less. Ramirez has floor-sweeping red carpet pieces as well as power woman-inspired daywear, all of them either showing off curves or cleavage in the most luxurious way possible. Photos by CELWYN ABASOLO





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