Sunday, November 23, 2008

Me In Business Mirror (The Stars Are On Aries)

Another set of photos I took grace today's (11/24/2008) edition of business mirror. These photos were taken during the final fashion show of the Project Runway Philippines reality show at the Philippine Fashion Week Spring Summer '09. The article is entitled "The Stars Are On Aries" by C. Mendez Legaspi. Thanks Charlize.

By the way, I'm sharing the photo credits with Lem Estiva.

Below is the complete article and if you check the newspaper version there are about 9 photos that are used in the article (click here for the web version):

The technician Aries Lagat’s winning Project Runway Philippines collection, which was showcased during the recently held Philippine Fashion Week The collection was a marvel of technique and execution.

The designer from Mindanao trumped the contenders from the Visayas and Luzon in the compelling finale of the first season of the runaway hit reality show Project Runway Philippines. Though not exactly fashion’s “Promised Land,” creative talents from Davao, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro are fast pulling their acts together.

Aries Lagat, the winner of the behind-the-seamstress addictive reality program, hails from war-torn Iligan City and had to do his final collection at the house of fellow designer Jerome Salaya Ang in the metro. “I plan to have my shop here. I’m now Manila-based. Now that I have the money [to set up shop], I will strike while the iron is hot,” the fast-talking former instructor at the Fashion Institute of the Philippines says. “I want to dress up young celebrities, the ones who understand what I do like Teresa Herrera and Alessandra de Rossi.”

“I also plan to have a shop here [Manila] as well as in Cebu. Enough of being a slave outside the country!” echoes first runner-up Philipp Tampus, the Lapu-Lapu City native who toiled for years in the Middle East. “I want to dress up Kris Aquino, because she is maingay and magandang endorser!”

The “second princess,” as he wants to be known, is Makati-based VJ Floresca. “I want someone who is challenging, like Gretchen Barreto.” To which Tampus reflexively says, “Ay ako si Gretchen na rin!” And the three finalists burst into infectious laughter at Club Bureau at A. Venue, Makati.

It may have been a grueling competition but the three, definitely the most equipped and the most hardworking on the show, developed a friendship among themselves and the other contestants. “We were always told, ‘This is a competition! Huwag kayo magtulungan!’ Eh ganun kami eh. Tulungan talaga. There was unity. There was a bayanihan spirit,” the loquacious Floresca shares.

The show aired on ETC and produced by Unitel and Solar Entertainment rewards real talent, unlike other reality competitions where text and online votes affect the outcome of a given challenge. Lagat was the most triumphant, Challenge 1: Individuality as a Designer; Challenge 4: Nesvita Design Challenge; Challenge 7: Beverly Hills 6750. Tampus snared Challenge 2: 13 Legends, where he appropriated Augie Cordero; and Challenge 11: the Terno.

Floresca, The Modernist, won one: the Cinderella RTW Challenge. Because of that, he opted to do a retail-inflected “practical” collection for the final runway show at the recently concluded Philippine Fashion Week at the SMX Convention Center. It was a radical departure from his avant-haute aesthetic. Needless to say, some of his supporters were terribly disappointed.

“I have no regrets [with what I showed]. It was more of a challenge for me to shift [my design direction].

I wanted to prove that I was versatile. If people weren’t disappointed, then I wouldn’t have fulfilled the challenge [that I set out for myself.]”

Tampus, The Romantic, unleashed an “ethereal” collection of lace and crochet that belied his Arab references. “It was really torture on my part to edit and edit my collection,” he recalls with a heavy sigh. His Arab clientele, he says, are fond of embellishments, “but this was a competition. Gusto ko sana ilabas lahat! But I showed my range, from swimwear to gowns. Pero tame na yun!

For his mind-bending “Transformation” dresses, something akin to Hussein Chalayan’s 2006 morphing robo-dresses, Lagat the Technician earned the bragging rights of being the “Philippines’ next big fashion designer.” A former scholar of Ben Farrales, Lagat won P500,000 prize money from Beverly Hills 6750, Brother sewing machines, a spread in a glossy fashion magazine, a clothing line at SM department stores (which was also offered to the other two), and a showcase at SM Makati.

“During the competition, we were able to show the thought processes of the Filipino designer,” Lagat says. “I learned to love my work even more. I learned all the components of a fashion show. Naramdaman ko ang mga narararamdaman ng mga mananahi,” Floresca shares. “Before Cary Santiago came along, designers who worked in the Middle East were considered baduy. But that perception has changed,” Tampus says. “I want to push crochet because Filipinos are crochet lovers.” Already, Season Two is in the works with auditions tentatively slated in December. With the number of fashion schools sprouting all over, expect Project Runway Philippines to be a hit many times over.

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