I don’t consider myself a fashionista. I have never owned a single dress designed by a fashion designer, or designers slated to become the industry’s next big names. Probably the most expensive dresses I ever owned in my life was when I was single and I had a very generous father who doted on me and bought me trendy Ready-to-wear (RTW) clothes from Rustan’s Department store. The only fashion show I attended was in the UK when I was in my mid-twenties. I was struck with the cobalt-blue fashionable dresses that were presented before me and my sister. I am totally clueless when it comes to catwalk fashion though that doesn’t mean I don’t dress up in style.

So, what was I doing at Philippine Fashion Week Holiday Collection 2009? Well, maybe it was time to take that big leap of faith when it comes to choosing dress styles. Perhaps it was time to fantasize and imagine myself trying out unique creations. Secondly, I am in the lookout for fashion designers that use our local materials. There were just too many shows to cover but I narrowed myself down to Sunday’s show where I thought Premier Collection E might cover unique designs. I covered Premier Collection C but thought their designs were just too un-wearable for my taste.

Just as Premier Collection E started, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney took the vacant chair beside me in the “Reserved for Media” seats. Tessa Prieto seated across me motioned US Ambassador to move to her vacant chair but Kristie said she was fine seated beside me. The US ambassador turned to me, offered her hand and said “Hi, I am Kristie”. Oh wow, I found her so gracious and humble. I turned to the media man beside me and whispered “What’s her family name again?”. He was just as clueless as I was so I plurked and asked my plurk friends if they knew Kristie’s family name. Thanks plurk buddies.

The Buensalido PR provided me with a press kit before the show and it came in quite handy when I whispered some information to Kristie as the show unfolded. Like me, Kristie adored the designs that used native materials. Hmm, we seemed to have the same taste.

jaki penalosa
Jaki Peñalosa

What makes Jaki Peñalosa’s collection my favorite among the others was his skillful blend of Filipino elements and Western modes of dress. Following the trends set by the designers in Milan and New York are unavoidable – like it or not, they’re the fashion capitals of the world. But the modes put forward by the West are not set in stone; they are very much open to modification and adaptation to local tastes and indigenous flavor. Jaki Penalosa was able to do this with great success, and I hope more Filipino designers can do the same thing. (Check more photos at Premier Collection E)

oliver tolentino
Oliver Tolentino
My next favorite designer for Premier Collection E was Oliver Tolentino. I don’t know where to begin explaining why I love Oliver Tolentino’s collection, but I suppose it has to do with his ability to combine everything I was looking for in a designer – wearability, novelty, and a down-to-earth-quality. The first thing that caught my eye was his use of bright, happy hues and lively patterns – check out the sky blue kimono-style coat and the deep blue harem-inspired outfit. Like Jaki Peñalosa, he was also able to successfully combine indigenous fabrics with Asian elements and Western modes of dress. And like Chris Diaz’s design, Oliver’s collection stands out while remaining very rooted to the earth.

There were just so many designers for Philippine Fashion week and I am sure there are more designs that utilized indigenous materials. I wanted to call it a day until I remembered that my daughter, mentioned that her high school classmate was a fashion designer and even had a solo show.
sassa jimenez
I adored Sassa’s overall look which is ““polished, sleek, and sexy” and suited for the young ones. (Check out more of her designs in another entry Sassa Jimenez Solo Show)

I believe that ““You have to feel good to look good” as Sassa points out. ““I want all of my pieces to bring out that message. My dream is to see women wearing my creations and think to themselves, ‘Wow, I didn’t know I could pull off an outfit like this! Now I can’t wait to try other styles!'”

I’d like to say so myself and perhaps check out these upcoming designers who can come out with a unique yet suitable style for my prime time age. I am not sure if I want to be be more daring, to try out something different, and ultimately, to discover different dimensions of myself through various types of clothing styles. Fashion is a personal choice we make every day. It’s something that can define you.

Am I ready to get off my comfort zone or stick to tried-and-tested combinations?

View Related Entries of Philippine Fashion Week

Premier Collection E featuring Chris Diaz, Enrico Carado, Jaki Penalosa, John Abul, Len Nepomuceno Guiao, and Oliver Tolentino

Sassa Jimemez Solo Show

Premier Collection C featuring Anthony Nocom, Bang Pineda, Estien Quijano, Jerome Lorico, Marc Tana, Odelon Simpao

Spotted at Premier Collection E was Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Tessa Prieto

Thank you Bryan Boy for hooking me up with
Tiffany Anderjaska of Runway Productions.

About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

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