There was a refreshing lack of beachy coverups, sweet floral sundresses, and skimpy swimsuits in the Design Fusion show of Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011. It was as if Bo Parcon, Dimple Lim, Don Protasio, Jot Losa, and Russell Villafuerte all made a concerted effort to veer away from all that's expected from a spring/summer show.
From decay to sporty traffic to an urban ballerina, the five Design Fusion designers culled inspiration from various sources to give us an array of uncommon wardrobe selections for spring/summer 2011.
First off, Bo Parcon: Channeling Japanese avant-gardism's Hiroshima chic with his frayed, tattered, and hole-y gray creations, the designer opened the Design Fusion show with a clear statement that summer need not be all about florals, frills, and flounce. Using shredded and distressed fabrics given more texture and dimension through miniscule punched holes, he presented 10 looks "inspired by the gritty concrete jungle and poetic romanticism of decay."
The ragtag collection, for all its punk and unkempt inspiration, is cohesive, strong, and notable. Amidst a fashion week awash with all sorts of bouncy estival tributes, Bo Parcon's is a spunky abberation that reminds us that street wear need not lose its edge just because the season is, literally, uncool.
Next up is Dimple Lim, who enfleshed her street ballerina inspiration in 10 dresses that fuse sharp structure with amorphous volume in combinations of piña and jusi fabrics with tulle, linen, and candy-striped cotton.
Without going overboard on the execution of her concept, her dresses wisely steer clear of tutu territory, but the inspiration is definitely there. Most notable is look number 7, a pale aqua number with a jusi skirt and shoulder overlay that cleverly introduces structure and volume while alluding to the tutu form.
The Siem Reap-based designer returned to Manila for a couple of days to showcase his sportswear-inspired spring/summer 2011 selection, which is yet another edgy deviation from the chipper majority of this season's beachy collections.
"I wanted to convey an energetic mood," Don Protasio shares. He used Stabilo yellow as the main tonal element of his creations, thereby also referencing the vibrance of summer. Done in cotton, perforated jersey and polyester blends, all of the items in the lineup are reversible. "I wanted to show the construction on the inside and let it all out," he says.
Furthermore, the collection is a leaner outing for the designer, whose last collection is a crimson study in street styling. "It's less layered and less labored," he says of his latest lineup. "I wanted something loose yet sexy, [something that] is very much composed of mix-and-match pieces, which I love designing."
Breaking away from the distinct urbanity of the preceding collection, Jot Losa's ultra-feminine lineup is a ruffly and delicate ode to femininity. Cream- and powder pink-colored mini dresses of gauzy abaca silk provide plenty of sexy and flouncy selections for cocktail dressing.
By giving his dressy garments a whole lot of texture and dimension and by using contemporary evening wear silhouettes, the designer reminds us that creations crafted out of the piña-like fabric need not be too stiff nor reserved for formal dressing alone.
Lastly, here's one designer who didn't shy away from sending a multitude of prints down the runway. Russell Villafuerte—who, like his fellow Design Fusion designer Don Protasio, showcased a crimson collection last Holiday 2010—utilized prints-on-prints in his womenswear selection. It was a hodgepodge of busy patterns—dots, floral, checked and all—done in a variety of simple dress silhouettes that no pattern-lover would turn away from.