After 15 long years of being away from the Philippines, Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One flew home at the earnest request of fashion-loving philanthrophists Kaye Tinga and Tessa Prieto-Valdes to stage a charity fashion gala entitled "First of One—A Fashion Collection by Furne One."
Guests such as Gretchen Barretto, Ruffa Gutierrez, Angel Aquino, Ben Chan, Miriam Quiambao, Rajo Laurel, Venus Raj, Divine Lee, and Leica Carpo—who each generously doled out P10,000 for their seats—enjoyed a scrumptious 4-course dinner and witnessed Furne's gala debut in Manila. The House of Christian Lacroix- and Josie Natori-trained designer showcased his astonishing War and Roses collection, which was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I, the fashion-attuned matriarch of the majestic Golden Age.
Queen Elizabeth I was one monarch who knew the power of dressing; she maximized its subtleties and strengths to dress to impress and to dress for success. Her lavish finery underscored her supreme status as queen, and Furne's harnessing of her as his regal inspiration was the perfect course to exhibit his prowess as an artist dressing up the world's elite in extravagant luxury.
War and Roses is a breathtaking study of splendor and opulence, one that lavishly conveys wealth, decadence, and power one magnificently executed ensemble at a time. Each of the 51 ensembles are imperial dreams crafted out of ivory, pearl, and gamboge-colored tulle, French lace, silk, and tafetta richly encrusted with Swarovski crystals, hand-painted with august portraits, or intricately embroidered with skeins of glimmering, silken thread. Lasercut woodwork shoulder guards, cuffs, and headdresses accompanied some of the armor-like looks to impart a glorious reference to Elizabeth's political and militant finesse as a deft sovereign ruler.
The collection is a resounding testament to Furne's vision and skills as a couturier, but there were a few snags along the way. A few models slipped on the catwalk—but not due to the impossibly high and meticulously carved pale wood wedges designed by Furne and produced by Aira Franco; they slipped due to a water leakage that had dripped from above and onto the catwalk, but thankfully all of them recovered with elegance and grace.
Sparkly slippages and all, it was a glorious, dazzling event filled with a lot of beauty, gaiety, and generosity. War and Roses will be shown at the Dubai Fashion Week in a few weeks' time, and it is truly a blessing that Furne chose to exhibit his latest collection to his fellow Filipinos first, who are only too glad to welcome him home.
Click on the photo gallery to view Furne One's War and Roses.