Saturday, November 25, 2006

Musings about the week that was

So sorry for the looong absence, but it has been a very hectic week. You see, I've been involved with organizing some events for an organization which is the cultural arm of the Italian Embassy. Dante Alighieri di Manila staged a series of events in partnership with Milan art school NABA. The fashion show last night at Podium was the culmination of the Italian language week. The theme of the fashion show was "La Sposa Laica" and showcased bridal wear by Italian designers and the second theme of the collection was designed by NABA students. Although the show was supposed to start at 6pm, in usual Filipino (Italian) fashion, the show started FASHIONABLY late, at 8pm. I wasn't sure what to wear so I wore my default I got there around the time the fashion show was just about to begin. It was pretty interesting to see the creations, but it also made me realize that the crop of talent here in the Philippines could compete in the international arena as well, if only they were given the support by the government and different agencies. I really think we could match the surge of fashion professionals coming from Korea right now. Back in Europe, I was amazed at the number of Korean fashion students and Korean buyers at trade shows. Fashion is BIG business in Korea.

The past week was also another way for me to stay connected with the Italian community here in Manila. I think I will always have that "Italian" part of me, and being involved with Dante is a great way to preserve that. We had one event where FDCP designers and Anna Barbara from NABA had a sort of "interaction" at L'Incontro resto in Bel-Air Makati. One of the pressing issues was how to make the Filipino designer competitive globally when clearly there is no financial support to be depended on other than if you are born to a family that can provide you with the backing you need. It is sad that there is so much talent here in the Philippines that goes to waste or is largely unnoticed. But Anna Barbara was right when she said that you just have to BELIEVE that you can achieve what you want, but there has to be concrete steps to getting there. First of course you MUST put yourself out there and bang on doors if you have to. I think that the challenge is for Filipinos to bravely venture into the unknown and experience all the hardships, but if your dreams are big enough, you WILL make it. This is very encouraging and rings true for everyone I think. I myself am frustrated at the situation of the fashion industry in the Philippines, but I believe that there's something I can contribute to it, and this thought energizes me and tells me to pursue it. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled, met different people, and experience education abroad. I WANT to find a way to contribute and give back in some way. This is the challenge for ALL FIlipinos who have had opportunities in life that other people in this 3rd world country don't have. As the popular adage goes "To whom much is given, much is expected."



Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Short but not sweet

The official start of the party season is crawling uncomfortably near, do you have anything to wear? I have spotted some really cute frocks at ZARA and Tyler in Glorietta, and I was particularly drawn to the short dresses or "sack dresses," if you can call it that. There was a black tube mini-dress in Tyler that would have been perfect except for a minor problem with the skirt which showed, um, too much. Anyway, if you have time, run to the gym, use the escalator instead of the lifts, or walk that few metres to the office instead of taking the cab because your gams are gonna need the work for the teeny tiny dresses of the season.

I picked out a few of my favorite looks, and you can go from vamp, to diva, to glam girl with these. What's your poison?

Pics from and



Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Ten Fashion Commandments

I'm baaack! Like what TFD has said, the past three weeks have been crazy for me. Last Sunday, we celebrated my baby's 1st birthday. I didn't know planning a children's party can be so stressful. Oh well, enough of my personal life. I know you guys want to hear about something fashion-related (although choosing outfits for my baby was like doing fashion work...talagang kinareer ko siya)Well, we think it's about time we bring out the good stuff once more...

As a woman so consumed with fashion (well, who isn't), I believe there are certain rules we should live by. Sigh, if everyone can just follow these commandments, fashion victims will be a thing of the past. Or if we can just send offenders and sinners straight to style-hell, the world will be a better place to live in. If you're still one of those who think they've got it , when in reality is that their choices are just so irrelevant in the year 2006, better read on.


I. I am the Trend god, thou shall not have strange trends before me : You need not have formal training or be a fashion expert to know what the CURRENT trends are and which of these trends are applicable to you. You can start by carefully taking into consideration your age and your body-type. There are a lot of fashion magazines that you can read to help educate you on what’s in and what’s out. And if you can buy those hideous clothes that you think make you look so fab (barf), buying magazines should be number one on your shopping list.

II. Thou shall not take the name of great designers in vain: If you claim to know these great designers (patawarin ka sana ng Diyos!), make sure you spell their names right or better, pronounce them correctly. Can you say Ghesquiere, Proenza Schouler or Ann Demeulemeester 20 times? I doubt you could 'coz you can't even say simple colors correctly. "COCKY" and "KHAKI" are two different words, hence should't sound the same.

III. Remember thou to keep holy shopping day
: Before you go run out and buy another ridiculous outfit, why don’t you seek the help of a stylist first or even a fashionable friend…maybe she can help exorcise those bad-taste demons out.

IV. Honor thy friend's discovery: Just because you get to COPY and PURCHASE your friend's fabulous top, that doesn't give you the right to act as if you originally thought of buying the top first. Your friend will appreciate it more if you say, "I like your top, hope you don't mind if I get one as well."

V. Thou shall kill...a past fad!
: According to our dear 'ol Mr. Webster, a fad is fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period of time; So if those circa 1996 loafers were a fad during that time, they can't possibly be a fad still in the year 2006.

VI. Thou can commit brand adultery: Gone are the days when your shirt is Ralph Lauren, your belt is Ralph Lauren and your shoes are Ralph Lauren! There are a thousands brands to choose from and the key is mixing these labels and creating your own unique look.

VII. Thou shall not steal your neighbor's bag, shoes, clothes
… My friends and I are so sensitive when it comes to these things. If I know my friend purchased bag X before I did (or if I know bag X is in her list of MUST-HAVES), and I get the opportunity to get the bag, I will inform her that I intend to buy bag X. For me, that is just plain COURTESY. I really can’t stand people who pretend that they never knew you had BAG X or act as if they've gone deaf all of a sudden when you mentioned you liked BAG X. Well maybe, that’s why these people usually end up looking like fashion victims since they usually cannot pull-off a look that is stolen. (Agree, Ms. Singapore Sling? Isn’t revenge sweet!)

VIII. Thou can bear true and honest witness against thy neighbor: If you think you can’t kick the bitch off her fake pedestal the old fashion way, put up your own blog and air your frustrations there. (Salut to themanilafashionobserver and other blogs out there that write about uncensored fashion critiques and not just write about press releases. And for those who took kiss-assing to the next blog level, word of advise, please write about something more relevant 'coz for most readers, self-promotion and out-of-this world advertorials are all but nonsense chatter).

IX. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s life
: Wake up and smell the coffee (reality check my dear), if you weren’t born rich, don’t act as if you were. Don’t you know that a little research on your background can burst your imaginary-family-history bubble? Kilabutan ka naman sana sa kakaimbento mo! So what if you have rich friends? It’s not a sin to hang out with those people but it’s just plain pathetic if you talk like your parents are the Kennedys even if you only used to live in Kennedy Street, Cubao.

X. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods…or weather for that matter
: Just because you love the way Japanese, French or Italian women dress, doesn’t mean you can copy every single clothing or accessory they have, wear them here in Manila and walk in your own mythical winter wonderland. Last I checked, we only have two seasons. Unless you have a snow maker back home, use these winter items only when abroad.

May the fashion forces be with you!


The French Muse

Friday, November 03, 2006

And then there were men

Past a certain age, a lot of Filipino men noticeably start letting their, um, weight go, and along with it, whatever sense of fashion they may have possessed. Don't we all get so shocked when we see the school hearthrob in high school sporting not the latest brand of jeans, but a very obvious pouch? Get it? Compared to South Korean or Japanese men who try to keep up with the trends and make an effort to look good physically, FIlipino men in general really lack the motivation. Perhaps it's perceived to be gay in our oh-so macho culture for a man to take too much time to groom himself. I kind of agree a little. I think that for a guy to spend an hour picking out his clothes and doing his guy "beauty ritual" is a little suspect. But then I also believe that men should be more conscious of taking care of their health and their bodies. If women are expected to stay slim and youthful looking, then men should do the same. If I had a boyfriend, I would want him to have some kind of fitness regimen, and atleast make a small effort to look stylish. Hey, looking good for each other helps any relationship, no?

I was looking at and saw these T-shirts for men that are cool and yet don't try too hard. Wouldn't it be great to see your man in these? (well, maybe assuming they have the pecs and the forearms to go with these =)


as always,


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can fashion be socially relevant?

Usually, this question is asked of countries that can afford to be concerned about world issues, other than what goes on domestically. America is now joining the "save Africa" bandwagon with Hollywood celebrities leading the pack. It seems that it's not enough to have the latest Balenciaga anymore, an African baby is the new "It" thing. Being from the 3rd world, this leaves me amused and a little frustrated at the pretentiousness and ignorance of 1st world citizens. With the world looking to save Africa, other nations that need funding are left to come up with more aggressive ways of raising money. It is no secret that the major driver of the Philippine economy is the retail business. Are Filipino consumers ready to part with their hard earned money to take part in a cause? Would you buy a lipstick knowing that it would help economically disadvantaged Filipino women afflicted with breast cancer?

I am hoping that the answer is yes. The time for looking after our own is so important, as the west becomes embroiled in world issues that are more relevant to their own existential issues. Local retailers can take their cue from Bono who launched RED, a business model where companies create slick products with proceeds to help fight AIDS in Africa. I think if local retailers become more involved in these kinds of campaigns, Filipino consumers will surely respond in kind. I can already see it "Shop and save...a life."