It’s only been the second installation of TernoCon, a project led by Bench and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and we’ve already witnessed a plethora of beautiful ternos that prove that the piece’s design and craftsmanship have much more potential than we’ve ever imagined.
The convention and competition gathers 13 of the most imaginative designers in the country, in the hopes of reviving the dwindling art of terno-making. Veteran designers Ivarluski Aseron, Philip Rodriguez, and Lesley Mobo, served as this year's mentors.
“The terno is a Filipino pride, a cultural icon that speaks volumes about the country’s history and heritage... For a Filipino garment that holds so much history and tradition, it’s saddening to see the terno struggle for survival through the years. There is an entire generation of young designers who don’t know what a terno should look like,” CCP Chair Margie Moran said during her opening speech.
Moran also notes the importance of preserving terno-making, and says that it should be “second nature” for every designer, much like how designers from other countries know their national attire by heart. “There are some things that should remain constant, like our terno. We just need to find a good balance between traditional and contemporary [design], preservation and reinvention, without sacrificing everything the terno encompasses and symbolizes,” she continues.
“I do believe the terno brings out the best in Filipino designers. It is not easy to design a terno. You have to dig deep, study, do research, and you have to design with love in your heart," said Bench founder Ben Chan.
It is safe to say that the project has achieved its goal of unleashing the best of Filipino design, as evidenced by the masterpieces that sashayed down the runway in TernoCon's sophomore show.
The designs upheld the terno’s distinct shape, while experimenting with different fabrics, embroidery, and colors, to breathe new life into a once outdated garment that is now seeing a ressurgence. The designers proved that it is possible to fuse the traditional with the contemporary in a wearable, marketable way that stays true to the integrity of the terno as cultural piece.
This was especially palpable in the designs of the three winners. Dinnes Obusan took home the bronze medal, Jaggy Glarino won silver, and Hannah Adrias took home the gold medal. Check out their winning collections below, as well those of the other contestants:
Hannah Adrias, Gold Medal
Hannah’s utilitarian collection of contemporary ternos was inspired by empowering women. The Slim’s graduate confesses that the fatigue green color has been her go-to choice since her fashion school days. Although she is a minimalist, she chose to explore her potential by adding things she would not have used before, like beadwork on the shoes, the terno’s skirt, and even on the epaulettes of the bodice.
Jaggy Glarino, Silver Medal
Jaggy, who hails from General Santos, designed an ethereal collection of pristine, softly sculpted gowns inspired by the corpiño, the chemise worn by Filipinos during the colonial period. “It’s a synthesis of butterflies, so the cocoon is shedding from the first second and third [stages],” he shared with Preview.
Dinnes Obusan, Bronze Medal
Camarines Sur-born designer Dinnes Obusan concocted an all-black collection featuring waves that fell down beautifully into fringe. "About my collection, base po siya sa final exam ko sa dress-making last 2018... the theme for that exhibit is 'Laro' kaya po naging inspiration ko is Chinese garter... yung sinuot ni Gabbi Garcia sa TernoCon 2018. From, there nabuo yong collection ko this TernoCon 2020—same technique and materials—but different color. Yung mga movements ng loops, ang naging inspiration ay fingerprint. Isa-isa ko siya tinatahi by hand," he shared with Preview.
Check out the collections by the mentors below: