The state of the nation’s dress

Patti Sunio - The Philippine Star
The state of the nationâs dress
Joey Samson, a minimalist at heart, presented his interpretations of the balintawak using smart tailoring and deconstruction.
STAR/ File

There’s no paring down Filipino craft and creativity, and no truer is this than in the world of fashion, where our stalwarts have used their talent, skill, and imagination to preserve and promote our culture through the years, pandemic notwithstanding.

Such is the case with terno-making convention Ternocon 3. Under the lead of artistic director Gino Gonzales, chief mentor Inno Sotto, head stylist Noel Manapat, and the mentorship of Joey Samson, The Philippine STAR’s own Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo, and Dennis Lustico, Ternocon 3 recently staged a press preview at the rooftop garden of The Curve in BGC, offering a glimpse into the reimagined terno, also known as our national dress.

The third edition of Ternocon spotlights the balintawak, or the “the country version of the terno,” as Gonzales puts it. The balintawak is “mas Pinoy, if you ask me,” he said. “Its colors, prints, and patterns reflect an unabashed celebration of folk sensibilities; the imagery immediately connects you to a rural environment that is surrounded by nature.”

Maximalist duo Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo, adorned their balintawak with a bevy of baroque-inspired ornaments and intricate details.

As the lockdowns have called for a reconnection with nature and a renewed fascination with the great outdoors, the balintawak comes into view at the perfect time. “It was very much like the yearning of the city dwellers to trek to the hills of Antipolo during the summers,” Gonzales mused. “Maliligo sila sa Hinulugang Taktak, and in doing so, they shed their city clothes… to change into the balintawak.”

And now, more than ever, designers and consumers alike are slowly shifting perspectives, becoming more mindful and eco-conscious of what they wear, make and purchase. So consider the balintawak a fitting response to the situation, too, with its relaxed construction and its use of simpler and more affordable material.

“Fashion is both fantasy, and a mirror of the times,” Gonzales said. “Can the balintawak of today be both? I believe so,” he concluded.

Here, we take a closer look at the collections of Ternocon 3’s mentors, a likely prelude to the 12 finalists’ fashion presentation set to show in January 2023. The contest is initiated by Bench and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).


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