Philippine Fashion Week Holiday 2011 closed on a very poignant note with the remembrance and homecoming of the late Louie Mamengo, an esteemed designer whose career reached great heights in Manila in the 80's and early 90's, and in Los Angeles starting in the mid-90's. Mamengo was best known for his dramatic, intensely feminine, and glamorous aesthetic, which attracted a celebrity clientele that famously included Regine Velasquez, Sharon Cuneta, and Vilma Santos. He was protégé to both Gregg Centeno and Azzedine Alaïa, and in his later days, was the mentor of designer Rajo Laurel and fashion show director Ariel Lozada.
Mamengo passed away in Los Angeles in March of this year after battling lung cancer. His best friend, Joey Espino, director and co-founder of Philippine Fashion Week, befittingly closed PFW Holiday 2011 with an homage to the late designer. Mamengo had been planning a comeback collection after a hiatus of 10 years when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The collection, thus, is his last. He bequeathed the designs to Espino, who had them completed in time for PFW Holiday 2011, where Mamengo's life and creativity can be celebrated among peers, fellow fashion enthusiasts, and the Philippine fashion industry in general, which he sought to give back to.
The collection is a testament to Mamengo's penchant for high drama, sable glamour, and sexy femininity, with striking pieces done largely in black—his signature color—in luxe fabrics of satin, lace, and velvet. Form-hugging, high-necked tops that flare into voluminous sleeves paired with high-waisted trousers and sweeping skirts or plaid skirts and shorts highlight Mamengo's fondness for emphasizing the female form, while seductive dresses in both short and long persuasions represent his fancy for luxe romance.
The fashion eulogy was indeed a moving spectacle to conclude this season's Fashion Week. More than an exhibit of a designer's work, it was a celebration of life, enduring friendship, and ardent creativity.
Click on the photo gallery to view Louie Mamengo's final collection.
To know more about Louie Mamengo, read this article by Marge Enriquez for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.