Eight designers of varying design sensibilities opened the last day of Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2011. Albert Andrada, Bandoix Flores, Benjie Manuel, Christian Narvadez, Gerswin Qua, June Pugat, Ruben Santos, and Veejay Floresca delivered an eight-part parade of womenswear for the Grand Allure show.
The production's abundance of sparkle, jewel tones, and feminine silhouettes was indeed a manifestation of these designers' respective interpretations of what's grand and alluring in the fantastical realm of fashion.
First on the catwalk is the repertoire of UAE-based designer Albert Andrada, who is the latest among the flock of Filipino talents who have come home from the opulent Middle East to present magnificent collections in the local scene. Joining the leagues of Michael Cinco and Furne One, Andrada showcased a glitzy ten-piece spectacle that embodies all the sparkly flamboyance the Middle East-established names are becoming famous for.
Entitled Kohinoor, the collection transported the Grand Allure audience to the "inner sanctum of [Indian] royalty—the Maharajas and Maharanis." The softly elegant color palette of beige, off white, silver and gold luxuriously offset the extravagance of the designer's Swarovski-encrusted creations, which also feature zardozi embroidery from the ethnic artisans of Rajasthan, India.
The timelessly elegant Marina Benipayo opened the show in a bejeweled boudoir ensemble aggrandized for the runway with enormous trundled sleeves and a sparkly silver train. She was followed by more Swarovski-embellished creations that call forth the designer's royal inspirations in a cascade of crystal-adorned dresses, satiny dhotis, and bespeckled harem bustiers.
Most striking of all were the majestic coats made of what seems to be crimped blonde hair extensions with bejeweled extended epaulettes. Creations that are no doubt unwearable in the heat of this country, but spectacular, nonetheless.
Bandoix Flores opted for a monochromatic palette for his old world repertoire of black, white and gray designs that call forth the stately elegance of a veiled, bygone era. His collection started with this noir number that imparted his leanings for contemporary silhouettes and construction despite his classic theme. Modernized skirt suits with ornate filigree prints and long gowns with embellished veils and oversized panuelos make for the bulk of the collection.
What stood out the most, however, is the fifth look, a delicate silver halter sheath with a bejeweled high neck that provides volume and discreet elegance without being too overwhelming or too flamboyant.
Benjie Manuel, meanwhile, did not turn away from color for his Spring/Summer 2011 collection. Incorporating rainbow hues against a gleaming black background, he presented a two-part collection for women and men. His womenswear had brightly colored sculptural details or soft bunches of netting jutting out of satiny black canvases. Likewise, his traditional menswear is given a dash of summery punch through colorful scarves in a variety of widths and lengths.