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In The Weave

Four designers work piña at the recent Habi show.
In The Weave Four designers work piña at the recent Habi show.

February 3, 2009
The National Museum

It seems the year 2000 has brought with it a neo-classical movement of sorts. Suddenly, the terno is being celebrated more and more, with museum exhibits devoted to the garment and designers incorporating the butterfly sleeves into their recent collections.

At the recent Habi fashion show, five designers went deeper into their Filipino roots, spinning piña and other traditional woven materials into modern wonders. Now that it's longer restricted to the barong and patadyong, you'll find yourself wanting to wear the roughly hewn fabric soon enough.

Randy Ortiz was the show-opener, sending out a slew of knee-length cocktail frocks for the ladies and mint-colored suits for men. The detailing was exquisite—cocoon-like shirring, exaggerated ruffles, piña roses, and ribbonette work held in with wide belts and obis in true Randy fashion. The look was very sexy.

Click here to see the designs of Randy Ortiz.

The collection of Patrice Ramos-Diaz followed, with Felicia Atienza starting the line-up. It's one thing to see these feminine, sculptural creations in her Greenbelt 5 boutique Paradi or on the high racks of her bridal salon in Three Salcedo, and it's another to see them live on models. There's something distinctly pretty about her designs with piña that gives the wearer an ethereal quality.

Click here to see the designs of Patrice Ramos-Diaz.

Beautifully structured bustiers and well-appointed micro pleating were the highlights of Rhett Eala's collection. Dyed in black, gray, and that gorgeous rusty brown worn by Tweetie de Leon-Gonzales, his work with the fabric took on a ripe and rich quality. Of special note are his elongated barongs, cut slim and stamped with his trademark map of the Philippines.

Click here to see the designs of Rhett Eala.

Lulu Tan-Gan first presented samples of knitwear combined with piña during her Fashion Watch 2008 show. This time around, she kept traditions close, pairing lightly beaded kimonas with soft knit pants or sewing on terno sleeves to the thin straps of baby doll dresses and bamboo knit tank tops. She gave a very wearable feel to her separates—they could just as easily be paired with the jeans or tees in any woman's closet.

Click here to see the designs of Lulu Tan-Gan.

Without a doubt, Cary Santiago always manages to wow a fashion show audience with show-stopping pieces. He didn't disappoint: precisely cut seamless gowns modelled by Kaye Tiñga and Barbara Aboitiz gave a preview of the who's who that are bound to be seen in these pieces. His designs bore a hint of nostalgia, a voluminous robe and elegant serpentinas decorated with a classic etched pattern.

Click here to see the designs of Cary Santiago.

Perhaps after viewing this show, Filipina fashionistas will be just as likely to choose piña as they normally would silk for their evening dresses. Textiles are the corner stone of any fashion industry. It's about time we support our own.

—Isha Andaya, Managing Editor