Export versus Import
For two successive days, In My Own Fashion attended fashion-oriented events opposing one another. On a cool afternoon, the historical InterContinental Hotel beckoned people who love native woven things like pina and jusi from Kalibo, Aklan.
A good portion of the grand lobby resembled a wing of a museum with mannequins beautifully clad in present-day garments executed in almost 100 percent hand-woven fabrics, which are the pride of people inhabiting the Visayan region.
A handful of veteran fashion designers were given yardages of these natural-fiber, hand-woven fabrics, so that they can produce outfits exhibiting said fabrics' virtues and beauty. This affair was the brainchild of Aklan's Vicky Ramos Antonino and InterCon's, Jennifer Pena.
For effect, a traditional loom fashioned of hard wood was set up in the middle of the exhibition area. A lady from Kalibo dressed in a baro't saya replete with a panuelo demonstrated the art of weaving. With a contagious smile, she pushed the shuttlecock containing the delicate pina thread back and forth, so all present could witness the genuine process of weaving.
To fully appreciate the beauty of the Aklan fabrics, panels of designs and patterns were draped as appropriate backdrop for the garments worn by the all-white window mannequins. Some of the garments were plaids, others were hand-painted, embroidery landed on others, while some cuts were dyed in delicious colors one sees in the spectrum of the rainbow.
Jojie Lloren exercised a clever treatment. He chose brocade with an interesting pattern: large, pale blue flowers with its vines and leaves in silver. Ingeniously, Lloren veiled the brocade with a sheer layer of pina and the three-fourht-length swing coat paired with a ballerina skirt was a splendid stunner.
Frederick Peralta presented the most labor-intensive design. His was a shift dress channeling the Audrey Hepburn look, which he paved with pleats and strips of different pina patterns until the entire dress was fully concealed. For further accent, he had a flotilla of round covered buttons punctuating the wide collar and the rest of the dress.
Mr. Barong, Barge Ramos, came up with a set composed of a basic shift topped by a voluminous cape-coat. Rosettes fashioned of neatly folded strips of fabric dotted the basic. For that grand exit, the rear part of the overcoat was emblazoned with a giant nosegay employing more delicious rosettes.
For his part,Rajo Laurel created a very sophisticated item. A high-waist skirt, fully embroidered and sparingly encrusted with sparklers was matched with a tailored sheer blouse featuring voluminous sleeves. Defining the waistline was an inventively knotted strap of ecru satin.
For a fitting finale, I am pairing the freshest member of the fashion community with the most seasoned of this group of six. …