BEFORE you read any further, the list below of the best and probably the nice-try-but-better-luck-next-time variety culled from Monday’s State of the Nation’s red carpet event is definitely not a definitive one.
It’s more a reflection of my taste and biases as well as the product of my years of covering, observing and interviewing people in the fashion industry.
And since it’s a one-man list, I most likely failed to see far more beautiful as well as far more unflattering looks. For any oversight I may have unwittingly committed, I beg your indulgence. Don’t worry. Somebody’s bound to catch them next time. 😀
I’ve purposely omitted looks worn by relatively unknown women, and instead, with a few exceptions, zeroed in on people we see on a more regular basis. Where’s the fun in deconstructing somebody we don’t know? 😉
O Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez – I know what you’re thinking. So, what’s new? Siya na naman! Wala na bang iba?
When I first saw her in Randy Ortiz’s dove gray terno made of silk cocoon and piña that looked uncannily similar to a number of outfits she wore in past SONAs, I was on the verge of dropping her from my list. That was until I realized the logic behind her moves.
With that face and height, she could get away in almost anything. But because of her new role in life, she wants to be taken seriously without looking dull and old beyond her years. And, so far, she’s doing it nicely.
O Gloria Angara – What separates women like Gloria Angara from, say, Kris Aquino and Gretchen Barretto?
While Kris and Gretchen would probably need an army of designers, stylists, makeup artists and PAs to feel confident about themselves before stepping out in public, women like Angara are blessed with an innate style sensibility that’s confident, effortless and pared down.
I’m not making this up. While women half her age went to great lengths to get noticed during the SONA, Angara, gray hair and all, simply slipped into a sleeveless black dress with a serpentine skirt before topping it with a diaphanous baro.
In one fell swoop, she was able to come up with an updated take on the baro’t saya that’s easy, modern and age-appropriate. Tapos ang kwento!
O Stella Quimbo – You can spot a fashion maverick a mile away. And my observation was confirmed by one of my colleagues who attested that Stella Quimbo, wife of Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, has always been ahead of the game even during her college days in UP.
Unlike a number of politicians’ wives, Quimbo ditched the bling and cutesy colors, and went for the jugular in Jun Escario’s dramatic black-and-white number.
Although her dress, a three-piece number consisting of a white corset, black skirt with white appliqués and sculptural panuelo, was a modern version of the terno-slash-Maria Clara, it looked authentic and reverential enough for such an event.
O Ma. Lourdes Sereno – The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court could have taken the easy way out by slipping into a typical piña terno favored by not a few ninang sa kasal (wedding sponsors). I’m sure no one would mind. Hell, she could have you hanged! 😉
Well, in fact, she did take the classic route. But she had to put her own stamp in it by having the embroidered and beaded number by Charito Alunan dyed purple—“the color of justice,” she said. And that move made all the difference.
O Kaye Revil – Like most of you, I don’t know this woman from Adam. But like a bolt from the blue (oops, I’m swimming in too many clichés here), she stepped into the red carpet in a chic Filipiniana ensemble she herself put together: rust-colored Jim Thompson Thai silk maxi skirt and an embroidered and cropped barong from Manila Embroidery.
Revil, who happens to be the wife of Masbate Gov. Vince Revil, is also a lawyer. She sweetened the look by punctuating it with a shiny brooch with multi-colored feathers and a slim, rust-colored scarf.
Compared to all that bling, beads and fabric manipulation resorted to by not a few women, Revil looked fresh, stylish and a natural.
O Sen. Loren Legarda – Like Revil, Lergarda, a champion of the environment and cultural communities, went on DIY mode and came out a winner.
By pairing a clingy off-shoulder jersey top in black with a skirt fashioned from red-and-gold fabric woven by the Bagobo tribe of Mindanao, Legarda scored a grand slam. Apart from looking unique and stylish, she was able to advance her causes through what she coined as “fashionalism”—fashion and nationalism.
Astute woman, this Legarda is. And to accentuate the look, she borrowed from the book of Gemma Cruz and Nikki Coseteng, two pioneer DIY fashionistas at home with beautiful indigenous objects, by wearing a belt made of tinkling T’boli brass bells.
(Now, what did the good nuns in school say: patience is a virtue. To be continued)