By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – At the Philippine Reception for the 119th celebration of Philippine Independence, the Philippines’ pinya (pineapple) fabric dazzled in the Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog in every style – classic, chic, modern – worn by Filipinos here. Last night at the Philippine Center, I believe that Ave Pimo wore the Philippine costume best, in classic elegance. And so did fashion diva and critic Erno Hormillosa, whose flare for the night was to modernize the Barong Tagalog.
Hormillosa wore an embroidered plaid pinya Barong where designer Barge Ramos fused classic and modern art on a tuxedo collar and cuff but with a scarf instead of a tie.
The always impeccable Pimo was serenely regal in a vibrant orange and gold classic Maria Clara gown with bell shaped sleeves paired with a Muslim-inspired silk skirt and accentuated by a tambourine necklace. Later in the day, I was informed that Pimo’s fabulous terno was designed by respected couturier Cora Manimbo.
There were a lot of head turners too: Consul-General Tess de Vega in her hand-painted silk and cotton dress; former PIDCI president Joji Jalandoni in a purple lace gown with embroidered butterfly sleeves; Vice Consul Khrys Corpuz in an soft blue inabel top by Aloysius matched with a ball skirt and highlighted by a bib necklace; and the top three who glamorized the Barong Tagalog Jerry Sibal and Edwin Josue and Grace Labaguis in her sequined and embroidered Barong blazer.
Pinya fabric has claimed its fame in New York and Europe by its natural magnificence and sturdiness. Tediously made by hand, from the pineapple leaves, and woven with silk, abaca, and cotton or polyester, the soft and sturdy pinya fabric is a work of art of the thousands of women artisans whose craft is an ancient tradition.
While the world is stunned at the exquisite beauty of the pinya fabric, there is more reason to sustain the industry by taking care of land and its artisans which is being carried out by private persons and organizations. (With photos by Boyet Loverita and VC Khrystina Corpuz)