Fashion Icons, Rising Stars

Community News & Features Jun 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Canada Philippine Fashion Week 2014 showcases:

By Rachelle Cruz

It’s so easy to get lost in and mesmerized by those-oh-flashing-lights, the glitter and glam of bubbly champagne toasts and not-to-be-missed after-parties, the endless photo-ops and red carpet moments with celebrities. But what’s really exciting about Canada Philippine Fashion Week comes right back down to its first love: The love for fashion. The love for Filipino culture. The thrill to witness the eclectic fusion of haute couture and Filipino aesthetics, creativity, artistry, and mostly unique talents of both iconic visionaries and fresh-faced pop-up designers who knew existed?

Venus Raj, Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2010, in a Francis Libiran gown, at CPFW 2014, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto. Photo: HG

Venus Raj, Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2010, in a Francis Libiran gown, at CPFW 2014, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto. Photo: HG

Besides, it’s all for a good cause, with proceeds benefiting children with disabilities through The Kol Hope Foundation for Children, headed by the Founding President Melinda Parreño Rustia. Need I say more? Oh yes, this year, CPFW won the FEO 2014 award for Best New Festival of the Year, proudly endorsed by the Philippine government, and is also part of Celebrate Ontario. Yes, it’s pumping $5.5 million into the City of Toronto, so why not?

The week-long festivities (June 9 – 14) that marked this newly-minted award-winning festival just got bigger and better. For one, supermodels like Ria Bolivar (who was a stunner in the unforgettable sweeping Noel Crisostomo white gown; Crisostomo also honoured for this year’s CPFW Visionary Award) can do her catwalk down a long white ribbon of a runway like it’s the Milky Way galaxy leading dead center to the media pit. Oh lucky me! The Fairmont Royal York Hotel housed Fashion’s Biggest Night on June 13th, hosted by none other than founder of CPFW, Filipino-Canadian personality Jeff Rustia.

“Ever since last year, many of the Filipino designers who showed in Toronto have since attracted a wide Canadian clientele . Francis Libiran, for example, has become a huge brand not only among the Filipino Canadian community but among Canadians as a whole. The Canadian fashion industry has also embraced Filipino fashion, and Canada Philippine Fashion Week as a viable and formidable source of talent, innovation and creativity,” Rustia said.

Francis_L-1It was a well-curated mix of Philippine fashion icons and rising stars. For instance, Manila Chic paid homage to today’s fashion’s stars and Filipino modern day aesthetic. OPM songs brewed nostalgia and pulled you back to the streets of Manila, as collections of Kim Gan, Ronald Arnaldo, Norman Noriega among others in their group graced the runway…”Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko…” sound familiar anyone? And let’s not forget that we spotted Susan Langdon, Executive Director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), who tweeted a photo with caption “The Show Stopper,” of Frederick Peralta’s white lace gown draped over the arms of supermodel Jasmine Maierhofer like she was a goddess fairy bird. Filipino Future Perfect is another segment of the program, a collective of young Avant-garde designers emulating forward-trending, breaking-the-mold standards spearheaded by “Look of Style 2012” winner Roland Alzate; and other presentations of Michael Leyva, Jaggy Glarino, Renan Pacson, Joana Almagro, and Emir Yamamoto. The Philippine Reporter caught up with Joana Almagro, Filipino-London-based fashion designer and here’s what she had to say:

1. This is your first time with CPFW. What were your expectations and what was the experience like so far?

I am really overwhelmed with my first time with Canada Philippine Fashion Week. I started my label in London, UK and I don’t know it’s surreal for me because it’s my first international outside London. I used to be a nurse and then I decided to become a designer two years ago. It’s a very different field totally, but it’s such a wonderful fulfillment because ever since I was young I wanted to be a designer but my family wanted me to become a nurse! But I was like, this is it, this is my chance to become a professional designer. Finally!

Noel Crisostomo creation Photo: Ash Reginald Evasco

Noel Crisostomo creation Photo: Ash Reginald Evasco

2. Where did you get your inspiration from?

My inspiration was basically from my research from Manchester Science Industry Museum– The Thunderbolt P-47D fighter jets during their World War 2 era. They’re quite the strongest airplanes during that time. And all the silhouettes, the folded pleats reminded me of that jet, it’s wings folded and the engines and big turbines signify the skirt, and then the jackets have different types of textures so it looks like the engine itself. The fur because it’s winter so during that time it’s really, really cold so they like big jackets of leather and fur.

3. From what you’ve seen from other designers here, what’s your take on their artistic approach and design?

I love our culture and the way our designers back home showcase their collection. But from what I’ve seen, they are all gorgeous! Each one has a very distinct style. For me, I’ve tried to merge both Eastern and Western culture.

For those who skipped on this year’s event, you missed out. But have no fear, CPFW launched its showroom right at Royal York, a pop-up boutique intended to promote designers from the Philippines and Canada in a retail environment so shop away! Or you can catch it… next year.

Francis Libiran and Jeff Rustia  (Photo: Rachelle Cruz)

Francis Libiran and Jeff Rustia (Photo: Rachelle Cruz)

Canada Philippine Fashion Week 2014 by the numbers

33,000 Total visitors

10,000 Unique attendees

Generated $5.5 million into the City of Toronto

70 models

More than 30 fashion designers

400 volunteers

Plus 30 sponsors

(Source: Jeff Rustia)

Francis_L-3

frederickperalta-courtesy-of-Susan-Langdon

Shannon Pamaong showing his Ambassador of Philippine Fashion Award at the Canada Philippine Fashion Week, Tribute to Francis Libiran segment.

Shannon Pamaong showing his Ambassador of Philippine Fashion Award at the Canada Philippine Fashion Week, Tribute to Francis Libiran segment.

Melinda Parreno Rustia, President  of Kol Hope Foundation, at CPFW 2014, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, June 14.

Melinda Parreno Rustia, President of Kol Hope Foundation, at CPFW 2014, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, June 14.

Joana Almagro Future Perfect designs

DSC_3602

DSC_3603

DSC_3610

DSC_3626

DSC_3628

DSC_3634

DSC_3639

Designer Joana Almagro (left) with a model (PHOTOS: RACHELLE CRUZ)

Designer Joana Almagro (left) with a model (8 PHOTOS: RACHELLE CRUZ)