LIKE any fashion event, the recent SONA red carpet produced its share of victors and victims. Victim might be too harsh a word. Fashion, after all, is subjective. For all I know, these victims may be victors in the eyes of their loved ones and friends, including their dear designers.
But as I see it, their red carpet looks, which included the way they were styled and their choice of accessories, didn’t flatter them. In some cases, the look didn’t fit the occasion.
They can blame their designers and stylists all they want, but at the end of the day, they were the ones who ultimately made the final call. In not a few cases, the poor designers’ hands were probably tied as they tried to comply with their clients’ various pegs.
Without further ado, and based on the set of criteria I shared with you in my three previous blog entries, here are the women who need to go back to the drawing board. See you hopefully in more stylish and appropriate outfits in next year’s SONA red carpet!
O Sen. Grace Poe – The newly elected Poe seems like a smart, honest and endearing public figure with a no-nonsense work ethic.
Even during TV guestings at the height of the campaign period, her preferred color was white, perhaps, to emphasize to Filipinos the purity of her intentions as well as her desire as a wannabe senator then to listen and learn from us.
But must she bore us to sleep doing it? Had you removed the cascading gold beadwork on the terno she wore by Rajo Laurel, for instance, and switched its butterfly sleeves with trumpet sleeves, Poe could very well have paraded in a graduation toga.
Borrowing one of her mother Susan Roces’ wigs would have been too extreme, but she should also pay attention to her fine, limp hair next time. There’s a reason why the blower was invented.
It was as if Poe was doing the laundry and housework all day, and decided to suddenly stop, pull her hair back and slip into a terno before trooping to the Batasan in time to hear President Aquino’s SONA.
O Asunta de Rossi – We tried asking the lovely De Rossi, a former actress and wife of Rep. Jules Ledesma, why she chose such a somber gown—a dark gray A-line and backless number made of some kind of mesh material by Cheryl Vicente, and her answer was “wala lang” (nothing).
Was there any message or meaning to the look, which had no semblance at all to anything Filipiniana, the event’s supposed dress code? Again, her answer was “wala lang.”
If you’re a famous personality like De Rossi, you should have a ready script, real or contrived, to share with nosy reporters as soon as you set foot on the red carpet. After all these years of being a politician’s wife, wala lang certainly won’t do.
Otherwise, people are bound to impute all sorts of meaning behind your rather unusual choice: an inky black gown worn in broad daylight that screamed Goth.
If her outfit, which was more inappropriate than bad, was a symbol of protest, then De Rossi should have just stayed home and saved herself all the trouble.
If it was the perennially absent Ledesma, a congressman known for his supposed passion for female fashion as well as his poor attendance during regular sessions, who chose the gown, then De Rossi should have said so immediately. Eh, paano po kasi, wala siya.
O Sen. Pia Cayetano – If you’re as tall, as beautiful and as rich as Cayetano, then you shouldn’t be having trouble looking chic and impeccable every time you appear in public.
But you’re not Cayetano, and you should probably be glad you’re not. Since she debuted on the SONA red carpet several years ago, the senator has done nothing but leave fashion watchers in awe for all the wrong reasons.
The recent SONA was no exception. Again, she tapped designer Mia Orquico to fashion another “Project Runway”-like experiment on her: a black “Great Gatsbyesque” number with a transparent nude-lined lace bodice and tiered tulle skirt.
Almost every thing about the gown, from the color to the fit, was wrong. And as soon as flashbulbs from photographers’ cameras started flashing, you could immediately see the unflattering nude lining underneath the clingy and transparent number.
Cayetano didn’t help the situation any by striking poses on the red carpet, including what seemed like an attempt to jut out her, ah, posterior, akin to a proud seahorse.
She shouldn’t waste her beautiful face and toned body on such fashion nonsense. She should try other designers now before she completely transitions into middle age.
Rep. Sol Aragones – Yup, the former ABS-CBN broadcast journalist and newly elected congresswoman read the memo, but it seemed like she read the wrong one.
While TV demands that its reporters stay away from neutrals, especially grays and blacks, and instead go for touches of bold colors like red, orange and yellow, the red carpet requires guests to exhibit a bit more restraint and loads of elegance.
If De Rossi’s outfit lacked a single speck of joy, Aragones’ orange terno seemed amped up on happy pills and steroids in the form of heavy beadwork.
The only thing going for the busy look was Aragones’ happy and triumphant visage, which seemed genuine and spontaneous. She marched on the red carpet with her parents. Otherwise, the fiesta outfit was two months late for summer, and five months early for Christmas.
Mayor Maita Ejercito – Ejercito, mayor of Pagsanjan and wife of Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito, seemed like the SONA’s de facto timekeeper and disburser of funds.
Her accessories, from her watch to her shoulder bag, were a bit big and, um, tacky. It didn’t help that her yellow terno with beaded geometric patterns by Paul Cabral looked too busy for an afternoon event.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima – We all know how a tough, no-nonsense chick De Lima is. That’s why her decision to wear Charito Alunan’s pink terno studded with floral appliqués looked uncanny bordering on the hilarious. This time, there was a complete disconnect between her public persona and her rather sappy and syrupy sartorial choice.
Rep. Trisha Bonoan David – David’s problem is the flip side of De Rossi’s. Was this congresswoman, who seemed as if she was channeling the White Lady of Balete Drive, going to a SONA, or was she going to church to get married?
The look, which also betrayed not an ounce of Filipiniana, was too pale, too soft and too evening. The anemic off-white tulle gown by Edward Teng even came with matching shawl and pouch bag that looked too bridal.