The sight of a large digital backdrop and a runway backlit by different colored patterns welcomed guests to the recent biennial staging of the Manila Fashion Festival (MFF). The event’s first night at The Marquee of the EDSA Shangri-La marked the start of five-days smorgasbord of style trends and innovations from Filipino designers and international brands.
“The core mission is really to put a spotlight on Philippine fashion,” show founder and CEO Ronnie Cruz exclusively told InterAksyon.com. “I’d love for us to be seen as the next fashion capital after Milan, Paris, New York. In Southeast Asia, it could be us. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Cruz continued: “I’d like to be optimistic about it and say that we have a great future because of a lot of great talents.” The fashion vanguard leads Art Personas, a one-stop creative house that supplies state-of-the-art digital services. “We just have to work together to make a difference. Optimism is a good thing, but at times you have to be pragmatic as well – realistic about the goals you want to set for the industry. Our objective is to come up with an entire ecosystem that collaborates to push Philippine fashion. But it really depends on the industry to make the change happen.”
To infuse a breath of fresh air to its latest presentation, the MFF partnered with international electronics company Samsung, hair-solution provider Aderans Co., Japanese denim brand Bobson, and online retailer Zalora Philippines, among others. “We keep changing, we keep adapting to the times,” Cruz said of the tie-ups.
“Before, we were purely a trade show. Now, we’re a consumer show. Our initial focus is to change the mindset of the people in the industry. I think we’re still behind in the rest of the world. We have a lot of talent but for several reasons, we’re behind… all the time.”
He added, “Someone has to change it, and if no one does, it should still be an advocacy by no means. I’m very passionate about this. I think being in the business that we are, if you inject some change in the industry, people appreciate that and it will trickle down.”
The Manila Fashion Festival aims to offer an innovative experience vis-à-vis the latest fashion trends. The “See Now, Buy Now” paradigm continues to allow consumers to purchase items as soon as they are seen on the catwalk. Zalora Philippines will have the collections available online as pre-ordered purchases.
Fashion enthusiasts will be able to view the show from a model’s point of view through virtual reality. Samsung Gear VR and Gear 360 will grace the runways as added accessories to the models for a unique experience. Designers and fast-fashion retailers will take center stage. At least 14 Filipino designers are slated to feature their creations, including Randy Ortiz, JC Buendia, and Rhett Eala.
Here are some concepts that simply stood out from the five designers who opened the festival with their respective collections:
1. Asymmetrical wraps for timeless sophistication
Anthony Ramirez targets women in their 40s with his Mademoiselle collection featuring black and white pieces that are wearable—if a little daring and baring. Flowing, soft fabrics are elegantly twisted, cinched, and cut to show just enough skin, perfect for an overall feminine feel that only mature, stronger women can pull off.
2. Ola, playful prints
Cheetah Rivera takes inspiration from the dynamism of Spanish art, something clearly apparent in her “Bem, bem, Maria!” collection. Models looked ready to dance the passionate Flamenco. Rivera’s billowy pieces included floral prints on dresses, and rose appliques.
3. Travel wear redux
“Viajero del Pasado” is Sari Lazaro’s take on modern and versatile clothing – with a mix of tailored ensembles. Pantsuits and gowns alike make the cut for some stylish travel. The signature look is underscored by the use of black, white, and tan tones in the catwalk pieces that deserve consideration for real-world wear.
4. Mixing and matching still makes sense
Closing the show was clothing brand’s Folded and Hung collection, headlined by young stars JC Santos and Lauren Reid appearing on the catwalk. The retailer’s Holiday 2016 portfolio showcases trendy ways for millennials to put together pieces from its latest offerings. New looks are still possible with layering or some inside-out imagination.