If there is a unifying quality among the four Premier A collections of Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011, it’s sparkle and shine. Lyle Ibañez, Noel Crisostomo, Raoul Ramirez, and Ronaldo Arnaldo delivered 20+ looks each that portend a shining, shimmering, and splendid summer for all of us.
But with the holidays just around the corner, who says we have to wait until the summer days to garb up in glittering creations? We're all for sequins and shine all day everyday this yuletide season—as long as they're tasteful enough not to encroach on Christmas ornament territory! And the Premier A selections are most definitely tasteful, we're truly glad to report.
Departing from the richly colored inclinations of his last collection, Lyle Ibañez showed a lighter lineup this season inspired by "wondrous Sahara nights." His 30-piece collection opened strongly with a black number underneath a metallic cropped jacket modeled by fierce walker Ria Bolivar. The voluminous harem pants of the catsuit was constructed in such a way that the legs are sexily revealed when the wearer walks. It's an extremely covetable look that melds softness and structure, darkness and patina, sexiness and reserve.
Also, being the first of the Premier A designers, Lyle heralded the twinkle trend with this clever cutout capelet, navel-baring sequined maillot, and his finale, a hooded sequined gown. All alluring designs that embody the designer's flair for glamorous femininity.
Ever the impeccable tailor, Noel Crisostomo began his summer lineup with classically tailored pieces that showcase his architectural leanings and eye for detail. White pantsuits and workwear separates are accented with shoulder cutouts and sharp décolletés, with high-waist trousers discreetly showing some skin through unexpected ankle cutouts.
This collection is a distinct departure from his dark Holiday 2010 collection, which was more structural and severe, and had a somber color story. "Last season was all about shape and minimalism," he says. "This season is about fabrics and flow."
"The collection has a retro feel, kinda 70's vibe," he continues. "It's very pretty and feminine, soft, and airy. [It's] younger and fresh and more fun." Scallop detailing on pink patent pleather, pastel florals, and hues of powder pink and silken salmon are among the elements Noel used to come up with a livelier selection this season around.
Among the four Premier A collections, Raoul Ramirez's was the sparkliest and shiniest, which is a welcome divergence from the Oriental austerity he delivered last season. Sweeping floor-length gowns with billowy ombré trains and various menswear garments—close-necked jackets, square-leg shorts, vests, and trousers—in a foil safari print dominate his Spring/Summer 2011 offering.
Among my favorites is this glittering bodysuit and ombré long vest ensemble, with its neck and waist fringes and caped drama, and this silver sequined floor-grazer, which looks amazingly diaphanous despite its heavy embellishment.
Clean lines and simple silhouettes spiced with just the right bit of asymmetry, structure, and quirky details have always defined Ronaldo Arnaldo's design aesthetic. This season, he takes inspiration from architecture once again: "I was inspired by the different structures and shapes of the buildings of the Shanghai skyline," he tells us. "The feel is very modern and edgy. It’s very now!"
The lines of his inspiration are most apparent in his liberal use of black, white, and gray striped taffeta in his opening pieces. Used strategically as accents or garment sections, the print lends a graphic quality to the otherwise immaculate tops of his first few ensembles.
The lineup goes on to provide sensible workwear looks for Ronaldo's modern muse, which he gives his stamp through his signature scoop detail, which was also seen in his pieces for his Holiday 2010 collection (see the detail prominently this season in the red bodice of his finale dress). "I’m emphasizing this particular technique of creating pocket-like folds in strategic places," he says. "The unusual but interesting detail gives the garment a different character, and [gives] a different look to the wearer as well."