A feast of flashy hairstyles, elegant modern looks, and a fusion of colors headlined the Manila Fashion Festival (MMF) finale last week. The four-day affair at EDSA Shangri-La, staged by creative house Art Personas, concluded with collections from some of the country’s most celebrated designers: Randy Ortiz, JC Buendia, Rhett Eala, and Avel Bacudio.
Hairstylist Lourd Ramos opened the show with an intense display of showmanship to an already eye-popping extravaganza of creations. As if making last-minute fixes, he grooved to the tune of Madonna’s “Vogue” on stage while snipping hair from the models onstage.
Ramos collaborated with hair-solution company Aderans Co., Ltd, which provided the wigs. The international brand is a supplier of wigs and hair transplantation services in the fashion industry, theatrical arts, and people from “all walks of life,” according to its website.
Vision and craftsmanship are two key aspects of the MFF’s biennial show, co-founder and Art Personas CEO Ronnie Cruz told the audience Friday night. “Our mission has always been the same: To put focus on the Philippine fashion industry and make sure the world knows about us. We have tremendous talents in this industry, from models to makeup artists, to designers.” This year’s installment also supported the Better Future Foundation, a non-profit organization that aids indigent children.
Rhett Eala’s In My Garden womenswear collection saw pieces with botanical prints matched with pastel colors and dark-colored dresses playing with patterns and floral appliqués. The designer was inspired by period films such as the 1985 romance flick Room with a View and the 1967 French drama Belle Du Juor. Eala ensured that every piece stood out with elements such as lace for a feminine look, or with an oversized bow as a centerpiece statement.
Multi-awarded designer Avel Bacudio took the stage next with his fall collection. The line displayed various treatments of black-and-white prints and material. On some of his models, Bacudio combined houndstooth patterns for his ensembles with sweaters, pants, and tops utilizing the print. Neoprene dresses combined the two colors in geometric shapes, sometimes accessorized with eyelet patterns. Models donned in delicate, soft tulle gowns featuring fully-beaded bodice also graced the runway towards the end of the presentation.
Perhaps inspired by political happenings abroad, JC Buendia created a line for a First Lady (or Lady President) and her different functions. According to a release, Buendia’s creations reflect a fascination for how a woman in the said role can charm people, inspire a nation, and follow or challenge tradition and protocol.
Aptly named First Lady, the couturier’s presentation featured well-structured day and evening ensembles, all exuding power sand influence. Some of Buendia’s dresses and two-piece looks used floral embroidery for embellishment.
After Buendia’s monochromatic presentation, Randy Ortiz splashed bright colors, textiles, and embroidery on the runway. The designer’s AsiaNow collection “highlights the fusion, evolution, and metamorphosis of modern Filipino-Asian fashion.” Oriental patterns, animal and floral prints in well-tailored pieces took center stage one by one in a display of the couturier’s talent in combining rich, opulent colors or prints.
On Instagram, Ortiz used #printinvasion in a post to show a draped jumpsuit he created for the show. He also recognized Cotabato-based lifestyle brand Tribe Dreamweavers for complementing his collection with shawls and ethnic-inspired beaded accessories that gave his creations “a new perspective of neo-tribal fashion.”