Tag Archives: Filipiniana

Fashion for the Oscars

I admit, I’ve been bitten by the Oscars bug this year. So far I’ve only managed to watch “Dallas Buyers Club”, “Gravity”, “American Hustle”, “The Wolf of Wall Street” & “Blue Jasmine” and have yet to see “12 Years a Slave”, “Her”, “Nebraska” or “Philomena”. I really enjoyed the films this year, particularly “Dallas Buyers Club”, and very early on placed all my bets on Matthew McConaughey & Jared Leto to win for best actor & best supporting actor (if you’d like to participate in Lifestyle Network’s Oscars promo & get a chance to win & watch the Oscars 2015 live, click & join here http://www.lifestylenetwork.com.ph).

As a fashion designer, however, I find that it’s really the stunning ladies who have been stealing the limelight this awards season…and not just with their red carpet style. It’s been lovely to watch so many talented actresses flesh-out such interesting, complex, non-cliché roles this year that when Lifestyle Network invited me to design an ‘Oscar worthy’ gown for my favorite actress, I couldn’t easily decide on one favorite and sketched out four.

photo(10)Modern Filipiniana designs for the red carpet

L1130075One of my favorite actresses (since her role as a young nurse with a mouthful of braces in “Catch Me If You Can”, followed by her role in “Enchanted”), five-time nominee Amy Adams is both wide-eyed and worldly, so I designed a gown for her that mixed embroidered & textured gold lace appliqués (and some piña) with some modern sexiness.

L1130072Having only seen Lupita Nyong’o in clips of “12 Years a Slave” and her interview on Actresses Roundtable on the Hollywood Reporter, she easily blew me away! I designed her gown as a wink to Hollywood royalty, mixing raw silks & piña with hand embroidery.

L1130073Who doesn’t loooove Jennifer Lawrence? She’s a gorgeous, talented, irreverent goofball on the red carpet and off. And whether she’s playing a bow-and-arrow wielding teen or an unpredictable housewife with a strange updo, she never fails to draw me in. For her gown, I designed a gown embellished with mother-of-pearl.

L1130074The great Cate (Blanchett) hardly ever strikes a wrong note, acting-wise or style-wise. From her turn as Queen Elizabeth to her uncomfortably tragic portrayal of a New York socialite in deep denial, she is always stunning. For her gown I designed a white silk organza & jusi gown with black embroidery & beadwork inspired by a Barong Tagalog.

photo(3)Catch the exclusive live telecast of the 86th Academy Awards on March 3, 2014 only on the Lifestyle Network.

Filipiniana Remixed

These days, young Filipinas have the world at their feet and an infinite number of options available to them, which include their choices in fashion. Modernizing the Filipiniana is one way of bringing the past into the present, allowing a whole new generation to appreciate these clothes and make it their own. Over the weekend we shot with lovely ingénue, Emili, for a fresh, more relaxed take on the traditional and formal baro’t saya and barong tagalog. Tradition with more than a dash of fashion makes the perfect re-mix!

Silk & sequins baro’t saya and piña silk & lace barong tagalog/Tippi Ocampo, Model/Emili Gisele, Hair & make-up/Iris Lee, Photos/Ito Ocampo

Tribute to the Terno?

Marchesa Resort 2013

After Valentino seemingly took inspiration from the barong tagalog for some of the pieces in his Spring 2012 collection, Marchesa seems to have taken inspiration from the terno’s butterfly sleeves for the finale gown of their latest Resort 2013 collection. Whatever the case may be, I love it and think it’s about time that our Filipino heritage–from food, to art, to music, to film, to fashion–is appreciated and shared with the rest of the world :-)

Modern Maria Clara

I’ve been loving the Maria Clara silhouette for some time now, and while the terno’s butterfly sleeves still reign as the queen bee of Filipiniana fashion, I feel that the Maria Clara has a soft, pretty, feminine style that works well with modern times. It’s easy to wear, easy to move in, easy to store–and a woman can actually lift her arms with these sleeves! LOL. So what do you ladies think about the Maria Clara?

Fashion Freedom

Celebrating our Philippine independence and freedom extends to our fashion, and one of my favorite themes to experiment with over the years has been Filipiniana. Taking certain liberties with our national dress was not in any way being disrespectful, but simply a way of paying homage to a much-loved, iconic design and interpreting it for modern times :-)


Art Re-fashioned

Art imitating life…imitating art.  The thing I have always loved about art is how it is reflective of the moment in which it was created.  Art should be alive and evolving, like language.  And like fashion, it should be current and relevant to the times.  Love it or hate it, art takes us on a journey, and unlike people who view art as an investment or a passkey into polite society, I see art as a window into our collective psyche, a peephole into the parts of ourselves that we usually ignore.  Art holds up a mirror to our current state and forces us to ask questions…and sometimes forces us to answer them.  We may not be able to wear it or sling it over our arm, but art has the power to fashion the way we see ourselves and the world at large.  And the best part is, we don’t even have to buy art to appreciate it.

Although, that said, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to buy the pieces that we fall in love with!  (Like the photograph of Wawi Navarroza below–LOVE!!!) In a dialogue with the late Fernando Amorsolo’s work, Wawi’s photograph is a contemporary reply to a vision of Filipinas past, painting with light & shadow what Fernando Amorsolo captured with oil & paint.  The mediums may vary, the views may differ, but in the end, the ever-changing nature of art is what will always remain constant.

©Wawi Navarroza, Pastorale (Island Girl Scenic Picnic/Unreal Estates Nº1), 2009, 30×45 inches. Courtesy of the artist & Silverlens Gallery.  photograph /archival Lambda Durst print.

This piece was shown in Manila Contemporary gallery for “BAYANI NI NANDING VS. THE POST MODERN WORLD” a response to the life and works of Fernando Amorsolo, January 2009.

The contemporary Filipina girl wears Terno  by Tippi Ocampo and an exposed heart sculpture made by the artist Noli Coronado specially for this photograph.
Fernando Amorsolo, “Fruit Gatherer”, 1950.  Oil on artist’s board.
“Amorsolo is best known for his illuminated landscapes, which often portrayed traditional Filipino customs, culture, fiestas and occupations. His pastoral works presented ‘an imagined sense of nationhood in counterpoint to American colonial rule’ and were important to the formation of Filipino national identity.”- Wikipedia


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