Ave ribbon top layered on top of the Azon denim jacket and pants
Basic instinct
Francine Gacrama (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Entitled “En Fin de Compte” (meaning “When all is said and done”), the spring/summer 2017 collection marries the notion of opposites by means of mixing traditional practices with contemporary textures. It was the Palaganas’ use of traditional weaving techniques and Pandi Bulacan custom sampaguita embroidery on her pieces that set the lineup apart from the previous collection. “I just really want to create clothes so that people would enjoy dressing up more — rather than looking it at it like a chore that they have no choice but to do it,” the designer explains. “I guess I just want to bring back the joy of dressing up,” she continues.

The Esme for Basic Movement line is as all about working with an array of texture and a soft color palette. Think raw denim hemlines paired with lace delicates and tulle, which teased the feminine nature of the lineup. Not limited to daytime wearing, the collection gives you the freedom to easily transition from day to night.

YStyle sits down with the Basic Movement designer to talk about her inspirations and the story behind her latest collection.

YSTYLE: What’s the story behind your s/s 2017 collection, En Fin de Compte?


ESME PALAGANAS: It’s about the softness and strength of a woman. A woman can never be just one thing. So again, it’s going back to mixing unexpected elements, but this time with more approachable fabrics — denim, tulle, cotton fabrics. Twisting classics, retaining the classics. 

A paradox. 

How is your new collection similar or different from your last collection?

The  juxtaposition is always there. That always pulls back my ideas down to earth. If I use a feminine fabric like lace, I always try to make the silhouette less fluid. If I use a strong silhouette, I always try to show a bit of skin. Well, but maybe next time I’ll try to let go more — balancing opposite sides of the spectrum in design, I mean. 

But right now, it’s always about balance — yin and yang to make the design or even fabrication approachable and familiar to the eye. 

Did you explore any new techniques this season?

I still used the technique of bias cut strips to create an illusion of print. We also tried this on a denim jacket. We made a jacket as you would but with another layer of embroidered organza fabric underneath. We cut the front denim panels to reveal the embroidery and sheer fabric. I worked with embroiderers from Pandi, Bulacan as well who were very shocked that I wanted them to embroider on denim. 

What’s the Basic Movement woman like?

Complex and simple at the same time. Aren’t we all? (Laughs)

We want to stand on our own, but we want to be needed by someone. 

It’s about complexities.

Describe your creative process.

Sometimes I start with music, sometimes I start with a technique, sometimes I start with an image. 

Sometimes I look at my vintage pieces and start creating pieces I would like my friends to have on their closets. Most of the time, it starts with a feeling. 

How do you get unstuck creatively? 

Scroll through Instagram, watch some documentaries and join discussions over at ShowSTUDIO. If I can, I go window fabric shopping — I love fabrics, interesting ones always make me go wild.

I read, I look at shows to get inspired — Rei Kawakubo, Simone Rocha, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten and sometimes I check out my peers’ work as well. We’re an ecosystem, we feed off each other through inspirations. Other times, I go out.

What’s next for Esme Palaganas and Basic Movement?

A showroom.  A chance for people to feel the clothes, not just see it on screen. To align and make my works accessible. A Manila team. A room to grow.


Photography by Shaira Luna

Styling by Loris Pena

Make up by Isabelle Dee of MAC Cosmetics

Assisted by Vernon Laranang, Katia Todino and Glezlie OnG





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