Prefaced by a short 8-look fashion show sponsored by Sony Cyber-shot, where models sported various long white dresses, topknots, and exaggerated kabuki makeup, Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011: Luxe Wear is a diverse array of collections by 13 designers whose inspirations run the gamut from tribal Africa, a 1980's creation by the great Yves Saint Laurent, the Art Nouveau period, to smoky and sexy Havana, Cuba.
Edwin Uy led the way for his 12 fellow Luxe Wear designers with a 10-piece repertoire of long and cocktail-length dresses fashioned out of crushed taffeta in hues of melon, ceil, and pale tea green.
While his color palette was refreshing and undoubtedly summer-friendly, his fabric treatment looked a bit familiar, echoing the highly crumpled necromanic Holiday 2010 creations of Jerome Salaya Ang. Nevertheless, it was an agreeable departure from his Christmassy patchwork collection for Holiday 2010.
Jaki Peñalosa loosely channeled the elegance of African culture for her Spring/Summer 2011 lineup. Using a backdrop of black shot through with golden bistre, Jaki presented 10 chic, covetable, and very desirable hand-woven silk dresses that feature high necks, geometric patchwork, and silk twine embellishments.
Notable is her fusion of geometry, structure, and fluid draping in her pieces, most apparent in this sleeveless, close-necked cocktail number.
Using a tricolor palette of royal blue, black, and white, John Guarnes sent down the runway a slew of cheekily designed garments, prominently showcasing decorative cascades of cords bunched up into bows or curled up into rosettes. His uninhibited use of mesh to bare tummies and other nether regions is a little disconcerting, but his white finale salvaged the situation, with its lean silhouette more than making up for the previous garments' mesh liberties.
"I took the silver elements of the master's obra, using it as the main feature of my offering, which I have entitled Iron Ladies," Jontie Martinez says about his Spring/Summer 2011 collection, referring to the exceptional Yves Saint Laurent as his source of inspiration.
He says he was influenced by one of the master coutourier's creations in 1983, but we're not entirely sure which outfit caught his fancy. However, there's no doubt it's a feminine one. Tiers of ruffles, silver sequins, and asymmetrical shoulders are the distinguishing elements of his collection, done mostly in various shades of silver such as pewter, ash, and gunmetal.
Last season he doled out androgyny; this summer, he's all about feline and glitzy femininity. Julius Tarog was inspired by Havana, Cuba for his latest lineup, starting off his collection with a tobacco-inspired color story of camel and tobacco brown. The animal print blouses paired with high-waist flared trousers and safari shorts and the tube-dress-and-cape ensemble modeled by the dusky Wilma Doesnt are particularly covetable, perfectly suited to the working woman with a flair for drama and sophistication. The collection lifts off halfway through with a midriff-baring jumpsuit and 70's-inspired caftans and pantsuits in white and electric blue.
Julius must be commended for his adeptness with wearability; while his designs are easy and sensible enough, they never lose that hint of sexiness and tasteful panache—even when his necklines dip into the navel's territory.
Kat Corpus took inspiration from the desert rose, and there's a lot to show for it: a voluminously draped organza skirt, vivid teal blue rose epaulettes, and cabbage roses on the bandeau of a chartreuse mini dress. While there's nothing grandly exciting about her modest collection, the retail potential of her dresses compensate for that. We could only surmise Kat has wearability in mind when she designs her cocktail confections, and there's not a stitch of harm in that.
Maricar Kobayashi didn't go nuts with texture this season as she did for Holiday 2010. Texture was kept to a bare minimum in satiny curves and geometric cutouts, and unlike last time, she kept to a neutral color palette of cream and champagne, with little bursts of cyan here and there to soothe the eyes away from the drab.
Here's one designer who had our eyes riveted on all of his enthralling fluid pieces. Melvin Lachica harnessed the body-hugging faculties of spandex to fashion sleek evening garments adorned with macramé tasseled waistbands and neck and shoulder pieces.
His cerise and persian blue jumpsuits and plum and ecru long gowns show that the humble spandex can go way, way beyond being a sportswear staple.
The silver-haired Nolie Viñeza reports that he was inspired by royalty in designing his Spring/Summer 2011 collection. "From dresses, skirts, blouses and even pants, each piece from this lineup is a majestic representation of anything and everything a royal should possess—grace, splendor and allure," he says. As to whether he executed his inspiration, we'll let you decide.
Out of the black and beige repertoire of Richard Papa, one dress stood out: this Art Deco-inspired wonder of a dress, done in a lined overlay of piped black tulle over a flesh-tone slip. Not only are its lines visually arresting, but it also banks on the curve-hugging body con trend through its geometric tulle trompe l'oeil.
Roel Rosal combined sinuous multi-colored squigglies and architectural silhouettes in his Spring/Summer 2011 offering, using hues of persimmon, slate gray, and dark olive. But perhaps the sharp cuts of his dresses would've been better served had he left out the squiggly embellishments, which, while understandably serving as a foil to his structural lines, merely distract from the boxy virtues of his garments.
Roland Lirio presented ten designs in purple, mustard, and muted copper in an array of dress variations that supposedly represent his journey as a designer. "Construction, draping and pleating—techniques I consider some of my strengths—are the focal points of this luxe wear collection," he says. We gather it has been a crazy and animated journey considering the diversity of cuts, lines, and silhouettes he used.
Last but not the least, Tina Daniac ended the Luxe Wear show with an upbeat street wear collection of Day-Glo dresses layered with black agletted cords. The ebony-skinned models sashayed down the runway in urbane wedges tied knee-high with the same agletted laces.
The full-body ebony makeup of the models made the show quite a spectacle, with the dresses' neon brights contrasting heavily with their chocolate tones. Actress Alessandra de Rossi walked the finale in a skimpy red orange one-piece.