YOU CAN count the designers who participated in this season’s Philippine Fashion Week with the fingers two hands. The fashion extravaganza was once held in convention centers, but the Holiday 2018 shows now has to squeeze itself in a few rooms in Discovery Primea, during the weekend (as opposed to blocking off a whole week, as it sued to do). At least, with less people in the tussle, one could really take a good look at the clothes, which may encourage some to buy a few pieces for showing off during the holidays.
Jeffrey Rogador — Mr. Rogador opened the shows this season with a wearable collection featuring stylized prints of faces with a touch of Matisse. Bomber jackets, sweatshirts, and hoodies in baggy fits were seen throughout the show, while the color scheme ranged from bland grays to lively yellows. Jackets in mesh might turn a few heads.
ESAC by AudieAE — The brand by Fashion Week co-founder Audie Espina never fails to bring out the proper lady, except in this rendition, she’s a bit of a society villain. Think red and black dresses with large a-line skirts, perfect for a young Cruella de Vil on the make. This was combined with looks that can be vaguely Filipiniana, such as two dresses with bodices that can be likened to a baro’t saya, but more obvious references to local fashion were seen in oversized barongs that serve as dresses.
Joel Rosales — The collection brings to mind the cleanliness one associates with resorts, and the clean collection executed in grays and whites can build a worthy vacation wardrobe. The neutral palette wes given life with a few elements in colors like red and blue in sleeves, collars and lapels. A short-suit for men, seen on a shirtless male model, looked a bit like a bathrobe, but if that’s your game, go ahead. A pantsuit with a blue train looked excellent for poolside parties, but then, a sheer black gown in a striped material will probably turn heads wherever you wear it.
Jun-Jun Cambe — Riotous prints executed on a neutral background says polite fun with this collection by Mr. Cambe. Women were clad in a saturation of serious-looking flowers, or else loosely draped nude gowns with an overlay of sheer fabric. More interesting were the silhouettes used on menswear: outfits in windowpane print, checks, and a black-speckled white material were done in an ovoid silhouette, hiding more obvious masculine aspects of the anatomy, resulting in something androgynous — with a few adjustments, one can see a woman wearing these, though wouldn’t you want a more flattering fit?
Amir Sali — Now we’re talking. Perhaps Mr. Sali’s vision isn’t quite as edited yet, but this designer is interesting. The show opens with a line of white dresses with a print reminiscent of the Art Nouveau movement, done with vibrant patterns of flowers and scrollwork, combined with faces or a realistic eye, thus veering a bit into the surreal. We’d pass on the low-waisted shirt printed with the names of strong women in the Bible (with the odd addition of Melchora Aquino, a.k.a. the nurturing heroine Filipina heroine Tandang Sora), and we’re still iffy on the giant scapulars with the word “God” emblazoned on them. Otherwise, the fresh and feminine collection with a variety of references from Filipiniana to frou-frou was a hit.
Sidney Perez Sio — Well, there’s nothing much to say after a show opens with separates in sequinned fabric embroidered with birds. Trust me, you’ll like this: birds flying on an aquamarine sequinned background feels as if you’re wearing the air and sea around your thighs, and isn’t that a great feeling? The show slumped a bit with a collection of athleisure wear in neutrals, but at least the collars and necklines were cute. A bodysuit (or was it a swimsuit?), along with several shirts were patched with stylized figures reminiscent of what Gucci’s been doing. The matching sheer jackets looked sweet though. And the birds: they’re seen splashed across a few more outfits, but skirts printed with cocks (as in the fowl) looked whimsical and fun. — Joseph L. Garcia