From lace to leather, metal to mesh, texture ruled at Magnum Luxewear

Audrey N. Carpio (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Fashion Week experience can be something akin to the gates of hell (sorry, MMDA) for those leery of the circus that travels with it. Having a sympathetic moment for Cathy Horyn, there I was in an undemanding black jumpsuit (which the boyfriend calls my North Korean prison uniform), while the selfiephiles peacocked in outfits that can only be called “ensembles.” I suppose the steps up to SMX might be considered the new runway of the street, if we follow — and we do, with some lag — the fashion blogging phenomenon striking the major fash caps of the world. In hell, everyone dresses like it’s the end of the world.

After many years of having an identity crisis, Fashion Week seems to be finding its groove, if the Magnum Luxewear show on May 25 was representative of the week. It was tightly edited and well paced to a hipster-friendly soundtrack. An 18-designer showcase has the potential to drag on but it didn’t feel overlong, even with the conspicuous absence of a wine lounge this season.  No swanning around, no bells and whistles and smoke machines or shadow boxes, just the clothes please (and ice cream for the audience).

And the clothes held up, because each designer stuck to a few particular themes, motifs or styles and played around with them in permutations for ten pieces or so. There was a simplicity to this collection, and by that I mean everything was pretty much wearable, even for a holiday collection. My favorites on both ends of the fun/serious spectrum were Tina Daniac, who used metallic appliques, frothy tulle and lace in dresses that were both edgy and romantic, and Vania Romoff for her ladylike style in somber and neutral colors, with feminine touches like bell sleeves and a cape slung over one shoulder.

Anthony Ramirez showed us textural folds, strategic cutouts (ie, the lapel on a suit jacket) and superskinny menswear. Harley Ruedas worked with dark oversized floras, billowy maxis, and red mesh. Julius Tarog went tough-chic, with leather trim, tuxedo dresses and mesh. Melvin Lachica layered laser-cut leather circles on drapey chiffon dresses. Peter Lim ruffled together gowns from what looks like sheer lace-printed fabric. Roel Rosal explored the versatility of lace with pants, dresses and even a bodysuit. Roland Lirio went Gothic Gatsby with a mix of all-black leather scales, lace and studs, giving an armor-like quality to the retro shapes. Ronaldo Arnaldo combined graphic prints — notably a rattan print — with sheath dresses and large flounces. Sidney Perez Sio did one shade of gray on Naboo-inspired tunics and headdresses. Simon Ariel Vasquez appliqued intricate details on Breakfast at Tiffany’s-era silhouettes. And Veejay Floresca ended the set with a bang, a crazy yet inspired mash-up of boxy wool coats and sequined skirts, ‘70s lamé love and velvet, a strange combo that is unexpectedly brilliant.

The Katutubo Collection was interesting because although ethnic prints have been a mainstream trend for the longest time, actual ethnic fabric is quite hard to work with, and piña has had a notoriously difficult time shedding its Filipiniana image. But weaving is part of our cultural heritage and the industry should be supported and celebrated. Delby Bragais incorporated the patterned inabel fabric onto black, red and gray outfits that highlighted its graphic nature. Jaki Peñalosa used piña in a way that respected its roots, as accents or over layers. Gerry Katigbak brought the barong further into the romantic past with oversized shapes and flared sleeves but gave them a shot of color and hefty sprinkling of embroidery. Ronald Mendoza for EsAc contrasted the lightness of piña with wool, and the piña vest and flouncy strapless top actually look thoroughly modern with their black piping. AudieE for EsAc turned out dainty dresses layered with shimmery piña and exquisite burdang taal. Then he also brought out a couple of men in briefs, gratuit.

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