Fabulous Philippines in New York

After the endless rainy weather, sun-obscuring skies of grey, and unbearable cold, you might find yourself, like me, with reduced tolerance for the endless parade of dictators showing signs of dementia and stupid politicians on both sides of the Pacific. Although it may not be a permanent cure, I have a suggestion that may take the edge off: point your imaginations to April in New York—there is something Filipino happening there.

Fabulous Philippines is an April extension of Fashion Week (typically a mid-February event) that features a collaboration between Albert Andrada and Barge Ramos. The event takes place on April 13, 2019 and will be held at the Landmark on the Park, a neo-gothic former church located steps away from Central Park West and the Museum of Natural History. With any luck it will be a cool night following a sunny day with newly planted tulips care of the Central Park Conservancy. Most of all, you can cheer on the achievements of two of our tribe who are the first Philippine-based designers to be part of New York Bridal Fashion Week.

Tickets can be purchased through this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fabulous-philippines-tickets-53489253798or, simply, search for “Fabulous Philippines” on Google.

Known for dressing Filipina 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurzbach in the blue mermaid gown she wore when she was crowned, Albert Andrada is a proud Filipino designer. However, his plays on color contrasts, strong shapely silhouettes, and touches of geometry are a departure from traditional signature Filipina eveningwear. He dresses stars, both domestic (Philippine) and International, and maintains a measure of inaccessibility—Andrada has no website. You can seek him out in Makati or you can meet him in Manhattan where all serious designers have to pilgrimage eventually.

Barge Ramos’ designs revolve inexorably around the Barong Tagalog, the staple of Philippine menswear. In recent years, with the worldwide discovery of the Philippine textile piña, the barong has found itself reaching as far as high fashion houses like Valentino. Ramos uses silky blends of the pineapple cloth to create flowing constructions that look more like organaza than the piña we buy off the shelf. Barge Ramos has been featured in past years by Bay Area headquartered charity Philippine International Aid in its late fall event.

These two designers have become regulars at New York Fashion Week, arguably the epicenter of the world of high fashion (sharing this status with Paris and Milan). However, let me use this opportunity to highlight up and coming Philippine designers who are based in our vicinity such as Mestiza New York, a collaboration between Alessandra Perez-Rubio and Louisa Rechter, Anthony Cruz Legarda (anthonycruzlegarda.com), who is also a barong-whisperer, Gia Galicia, who has hosted fashion shows to benefit causes such as breast cancer, and CrisantaMalig of FAYE, Inc.

With so many designers in our community, I have a good excuse to cover this beat more often. What a wonderful break from the dark  and seedy characters that emerge during Congressional testimonies.