#Benchfashionweek Spring/Summer 2017
Marbbie C. Tagabucba, Martin Yambao, MJ Benitez (The Philippine Star) - March 17, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The three days of runway shows featured presentations from homegrown labels Bench, Kashieca and Human; and showcases from international labels Vero Moda, Cotton On, and American Eagle Outfitters. In its embrace of “Love Local, Go Global” #BenchFashionWeek also played host to local independent designers Sassa Jiminez, Proudrace and Ziggy Savella.

Proudrace

Culling inspiration from balikbayan boxes (translated into their graphic prints) and day-to-day production in their studio, independent fashion label Proudrace’s spring/summer 2017 collection features a heady mix of denim and streetwear, reworked into outsized proportions. Cases in point: classic alpha bomber jackets are deconstructed, baggy striped pullovers are given extra long sleeves, patterns from past collections are combined to create new shapes, and denim rider jackets are tailored and turned into coats. Asked about their design process, the duo muses, “We just go with the flow. We create what we want now without any pressure. Youth culture is a constant inspiration but it does not stop there. We always want to believe that we are a work in progress.” –MB

Sassa Jimenez

The first day of Bench Fashion Week finds its headliner Sassa Jimenez clocking in nine years in the industry and waxing nostalgic with a 12-piece collection which strikes us as a reintroduction; she has reworked silhouettes found in her first few collections. A shift has ruffles cascading at the back while a loose trouser in slate has more around the calves. Tulle and flounce harking back to the tutus and ball skirts that she built her career on are now edgy, less debutante. Jumpsuits with a darted bodice and baggy bottoms reference them. Jimenez, girlish at heart still, is also all grown up, in time for her atelier opening next month. –MT

Cotton On

For Australia-based brand Cotton On’s spring/summer wears, the living (and the dressing) is easy. From flirty minidresses and the ubiquitous off-shoulder top to embroidered bomber jackets and flowy silk cover-ups, the focus is on relaxed silhouettes and warm-weather fabrics. Florals and stripes also figure largely into the summertime collection, giving the ultra-fresh looks (accessorized with straw hats, neck scarves, and block-heeled sandals) a decidedly feminine spin. Fun in the sun dressing has never been this, well, fun. –MB

Kashieca

The Kashieca girl is off to soak up the culture in South America and her itinerary is mapped out by her ensembles. Coordinated separates are either trimmed with ruffles or lace and shadow-striped dresses and rompers allow movement, whether it’s for a day of sightseeing or a night of salsa, always ready for pictures. Versatile pieces include a T-shirt dress that is just as easy to dress up or down with a change of accessories, and so is a deconstructed shirt dress and a printed button-down and striped off-shoulder top so you can wear the memories to the city even after the Caribbean tan has faded, real or imagined. –MT

Bench

#BenchFashionWeek closes out the weekend of shows with a strong presentation from the heritage label that started it all. #YourFavoritePinoyBrand say hola to summer with a Cuba-inspired collection; fruity prints meet sun-drenched brights, military-esque accessories (berets, medallions and chevrons), and iconography from Old Havana. Bench endorsers Michelle Dee, Graham Caygill, John Spainhour and more took to the runway; highlights include Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina, and of course, The World’s Hottest Math Teacher Pietro Boselli. –MY

Vero Moda

Danish high-street brand Vero Moda are giving essential pieces a timely spring/summer spin with its take on the season’s top trends. There are stripes: pullovers are candy-striped, shirts come in Breton stripes. Then there’s muted shades of pink and florals of every size, appearing on a bomber jacket, a spring coat in rose, or as a paisley-like micro-print on a bralet. The year’s favorite neckline, the off-shoulder, goes romantic and preppy with a change of the sleeves. A relaxed fit and light wash is seen on the brand’s denims: overall dress, wide-legged trousers and culottes. –MT

American Eagle Outfitters

Tropical prints, pastel florals and crisp whites signal a summer escape for the American Eagle customer. The capsule collection stays true to form with a lineup of ripped denims and casual statement tees; rompers and playsuits for women; swim shorts and tank tops for men. Think Santa Monica boardwalk meets downtown Los Angeles, Katy Perry’s California Girls meets surf-inspired youth Americana — that’s American Eagle Outfitters for spring/summer 2017. –MY

Ziggy Savella

Menswear designer Ziggy Savella threads newness into his archive of tailored classics. Breaking a two-year hiatus from his last presentation, the designer reimagines his signatures with a lineup of utilitarian work wear. Inspired by the American Dust Bowl era and working class garments, it’s duster coats and utilitarian one-piece jumpsuits; half-doublets for harnesses; buckles and obi-belts for fastenings; it’s a blouson baseball shirt worn with drawstring track pants, reworked with arm and leg cinches — design details that may be a call back to the dust storms of the Dirty Thirties. It’s a narrative driven home by a palette of washed hues and somber neutrals. For spring/summer 2017, Ziggy Savella grounds himself in the trappings of his existing oeuvre but his thread of new ideas easily takes flight.– MY    

Human

“Adventure is out there,” highlights local retailer Human’s summer 2017 campaign. This call to adventure also finds its way on the runway, with a slew of pieces that are equal parts cool and functional. Think: denim skirt overalls, zip-up frocks, graphic print shorts, and tie-front button-downs. Interestingly, it’s the styling that adds a distinctly Human edge to the collection—denim jackets (emblazoned with patches and pins) are worn over active wear, striped slips paired with striped shirts are accessorized with oversized mirror sunglasses, and a cropped top and denim shorts combo gets a tough girl spin with ripped tights. Here’s to a rollicking summer. –MB

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