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Bench Fashion Week 2024:Fashion for the lost romantics |


Bench Fashion Week 2024:Fashion for the lost romantics

Patti Sunio - The Philippine Star
Bench Fashion Week 2024:Fashion for the lost romantics
Rhett Eala’s second collection for Kashieca
STAR / File

In all the seriousness of life, don’t we tend to lose sight of what’s essential? Like loving, and loving fearlessly. Or expressing it, revealing the self, and wearing our hearts on our sleeves for the world to see.

For many of us, we thank fashion for this gift: the vulnerability, the craft, the joy and the love it brings. And maybe that’s all that matters for the designers who showcased on day one of Bench Fashion Week’s Summer 2024 show this year.

Rhett Eala’s second collection for Kashieca

Rhett Eala sends his sophomore collection for brand Kashieca down the runways. True to his muse — the classy lady, regal, ever-so-sophisticated and put together — out came looks that speak to the woman who wants to — and can — do it all. She is sweet, embraces her womanhood, and celebrates the multi-roles she has to play.

With each look was an ease of movement, an air of confidence, a lightness and daintiness that’s decidedly feminine. We saw off-the-shoulder necklines and puffed sleeves, unapologetically huge bows, layers of lace, full skirts, and chic midis made for work meetings to dinner dates.

Jo Ann Bitagcol premieres first runway show

Then there was model, photographer — and now fashion designer — Jo Ann Bitagcol, who debuted her first-ever runway show. It was a marriage and a celebration of all the disciplines she’s mastered in the creative field.

Out came wearable works of art made for quiet evenings, parading one after another. It’s a collection that’s unmistakably — and decidedly — Bitagcol: vintage photographs printed on fabrics, images reflective of our culture, a multitude of layers and layers from sheer to satin, dramatic capes that drape, meta items like a jacket printed on a jacket, the hearty mix of earthy colors and subdued jewel tones, and pieces held together in loosely tied ribbons.

Gabbie Sarenas introduces ‘tanan’

Gabbie Sarenas is back and ready to run. She unveils “Tanan,” inspired by her soon-to-be-wed muses and the 1991 Richard Gomez-and-Dawn Zulueta starrer Hihintayin Kita Sa Langit. Out came the models in what looked like elevated, hand-embroidered slip dresses and scallop-hemmed camison and half slips for the women, and easy, collared polos with loose trousers, and loungewear-esque sets for the men.

They wore white sneakers, ready to run; the girls’ hair in neat chignons with flushed cheeks, and the boys’ hair relaxed and unruly, with shy, sly smiles. Another round down the runway, to the sweet song Bakit Ba Ganyan by Dina Bonnevie, they reappeared, this time, their clothes layered on with G.S. essentials: from the apron bouquets to the tie-on ruffles and panyo-as-headscarves, to the sampaguita-embroidered veils and mishmash of tulle and volume.

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