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A strong sense of self and style evolution at Bench Fashion Week |


A strong sense of self and style evolution at Bench Fashion Week

Patti Sunio - The Philippine Star
A strong sense of self and style evolution at Bench Fashion Week

For fashion designers who are expected to always unveil “the next big thing,” there always comes the question of doing so with loyalty to one’s true aesthetic. How does one continuously, season after season, keep making something new and fresh, yet still in alignment with one’s true sense of style… and self?

Perhaps these are the things to learn and take away from designers Mich Dulce and Chris Nick, who’ve been around for decades, at once pushing borders and taking breaks when needed, doing what needs to be done to be able to return when the season calls for them, and meet Filipino fashion fans with fresh new eyes — and fresh new looks on the runway.

Chris Nick reinvents the tux into sexy and sultry, as he does

Chris Nick Delos Reyes, of the brand Chris Nick, is a favorite of the stars, the muses he calls his angels. Since establishing his brand in 2019, he’s brought to the fore his favorite article of clothing, the timeless tuxedo, and from here on, takes matters into his own hands. And that's when the show begins.

For his Bench Fashion Week debut, Delos Reyes looks back at the hip fashion of the ‘70s and borrows from the West’s badass cowboy looks. For the first time ever, he uses denim as his main material.

In true Chris Nick fashion, he deconstructs his beloved tux, and turns it into sultry, key denim pieces: abs-baring micro minis, a sexy denim tube dress, loosely-fitted trousers that hang right at the hips, low-waist maxi skirts, oversized jackets worn without a shirt, and cropped statement tank tops.

The pieces lent an air of sensuality to the women who strutted his clothes down the runway with confidence. Cases in point: model Siobhan Moylan who opened the show in a gray number — a micro mini, the itsy bitsy statement tank reading “I LOVE COWBOYS,” a tailored blazer, all topped with a fedora; and actress Max Collins who wore the final, all-denim look with a top that declared “I RIDE HORSES.”

On the whole, the collection stays true to the designer’s principle of making clothes that don’t overpower the wearer, as any wearer should own the clothes — and oh-so-sexily at that.

Mich Dulce: Proper fashion that’s self-assured, compassionate, and proudly filipino

British-trained designer and milliner Mich Dulce, who debuted her fashion career in 2009, headlined the last day of Bench Fashion week this season with a milestone presentation, having not launched a clothing collection in 15 years.

It is as personal as it is a gift for ones who’ve believed in her craft since day one. Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, her “forever muse,” was one of her models, a breath of fresh air as she closed the show.

Fascinated with the Amish and their strict dress codes, Dulce takes the basics of their daily wear and reinterprets it with a child-like wonder and a lot of chic appeal.

Then begins her modern revival. Her clothes’ quiet confidence shows in the clean, neutral color palette and the unexpected fabrics she’s married so wonderfully well together, from the fluid black latex, to the delicate piña, to the sheer overlays, the classic blue denims, and the T’nalak textile used in her structural headpieces.

It provided the perfect backdrop to showcase the techniques she’s perfected through the years. Fantastically draped layers molded every whimsical, ladylike look, resulting in paper mache-like textures, origami-esque folds, and swathes of clothing that beautifully just… flowed.

Ribbons cinched the waist and placed front and center as a fanciful flair; a harness was both a bold and delicate delight; skirts flounced freely in all its feminine glory; and head-turning hats and head adornments were fashioned into the crowning glory of every look. God is truly in the details, all right, and Mich Dulce’s comeback offering is testament to that.

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