By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – The east meets west, the ancient converges with the youth in a signature fashion parade by two of the best Philippine couturiers at the Empire Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt on Lexington over the weekend.
The COUTURE CULTURE CHANGE, a black tie evening hosted by Erno Hormillosa (who’s also the event director) and Hazel Sanchez, featured the creations of Jaki Penalosa, famous for her glamorizing the hablon, an indigenous woven fabric by women of Iloilo province.
On the ramp are youthful ladies, some of whom are born through interracial marriages, donning her modern Filipiniana collection of about 40 exquisite pieces appropriate for cocktail, formal, and bridal wear. The Philippine fabrics are a mix of the distinctive old meld of silk, hablon, jusi, abaca, cotton, and pina.
Penalosa, who flew in from Iloilo for the October 1 event, said she is happy to have reached New York to show her creations. In the recent months, she was in London and Toronto.
Coming from the third generation of fashion designers in her family, Penalosa takes an advocacy of optimizing indigenous materials of Iloilo and providing training to weavers to ensure the life of the fashion industry.
“We have an abundant supply of resources and artisans,” she assures. Her fashion house, now on its 30th year, is ready to take on the international market with modern, chic Filipiniana.
Designer Albert Andrada shines equally in the same evening with his luxurious fashion collection of dresses and gowns embellished with crystals and fine lace.
Andrada is respected and famous for dressing up actress Paris Hilton and Miss Universe-Philippines 2015 Pia Wurtzbach in her royal blue pageant gown.
Photographer Philip Dizon also launched his coffee table book Philippine Faces and Places during the well-attended event.
A brain child of the Philippine Business Chamber of New York and the US Philippines Society, it wants to show the world the finest of Philippine creativity while continuing its support for charities for children and persons with AIDS. Businesswoman and civic leader Loida Nicolas Lewis and the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce president Michael Nierva formally opened the event.
The Event4Good organized the fashion show and benefit gala for the Bantay Bata Program of the ABS-CBN Foundation and the Global Action Platform. (With photos from Boyet Loverita, Joji Jalandoni and Edwin Josue)