Philippine Tapestry weaves the best of Philippine culture through fashion, music and dance

Community News & Features Sep 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm
PHOTOS: M. Ramos

PHOTO: M. Ramos

By Michelle Chermaine Ramos

The Philippine Tapestry fashion show breathes new life into traditional handwoven indigenous fabrics through fashion icon Renee Salud’s neo-ethnic collection. The show premiered in Toronto on August 24 at the Arcadian Court and was the highlight of the Mabuhay Festival on August 26 at Nathan Philips Square as part of its Canadian tour, which included Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal.

Philippine Tapestry was produced by 2017 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant awardee Agnes Miranda of World Financial Group in partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board and the Philippine Independence Day Council. The initiative aims to preserve the ancient indigenous art of weaving and promote a greater appreciation of Philippine fashion on a global scale. As the Philippine ambassador of fashion, Renee Salud is known for his exquisite designs and craftsmanship and for championing the promotion of the Philippine fashion industry. Inspired by the native weaves of the different regions of the Philippines, Salud’s intricate designs combine ancient traditions with modern high fashion to appeal to the new generation.

In my opinion, this is hands down the show that raised the bar for Filipino cultural fashion shows in Toronto. Emceed by Cristina Carpio, the gala night started on time with some classy jazz numbers befitting the event before the show took the audience on a visual and musical journey to the different regions of the Philippines through a video presentation highlighting each area’s tourist destinations. As each region was depicted on the screen, entertainers flooded onto the stage performing fusion dances inspired by the region’s native dance with a modern twist. This served as an entertaining introduction to Salud’s collections which were presented on the runway according to the regions where the materials came from. This truly highlighted the rich fabric of our heritage and traditions interwoven into a colorful cultural extravaganza of video art, fashion, music and dance.

First up were the colorful weaves of the Cordillera region made of Igorot fabric, followed by elegantly structured dresses and gowns made of abaca from Bicol, Lumban embroidery and hand beadwork from Calabarzon, flowing jumpsuits, shawls and structured Filipiniana gowns made of pina from the Visayas, to the tribal patterned pieces and glittering luxurious gowns made of Mindanao fabric (t’nalak, inaul, yakan, Mindanao silk and pis syabit). For the highlight, Salud presented an enchanting gold embroidered white wedding gown fit for a royal wedding. The finale took us to the chic sequined and beaded black and white dresses and gowns inspired by the glamour of Metro Manila and PIDC Miss Philippines Elizabeth Mabb looked regal as she walked the runway in her shimmering black sequined gown topped with glittering red rose embellishments.

Fashion director Raymond Villanueva deserves top praise for his outstanding stage direction from start to finish. The singers, musicians, models, dancers and crew delivered a brilliant show that made this by far the easiest review I ever had to write because I simply cannot find anything to criticize. There was never a boring moment. The people behind this production are absolute professionals judging by how everything was executed. After Chyrell Samson topped the finale with her beautiful rendition of “Isang Lahi” and the Philippine national anthem, the audience could not help but burst with pride and nostalgia for their homeland.

Agnes Miranda said that it is her dream for Philippine Tapestry to grow into an annual event to cement the presence of Filipino culture on Canadian soil, in the same fashion that the Caribana festival has done for the Caribbean community. Judging from the opening gala night, things are off to a perfect start. Looking at the dazzling intricate weaves of some of Salud’s showstopping gowns on the runway, I think we have discovered the cloth that Joseph’s Technicolor dream coat was made of. Essentially, Philippine Tapestry can be summed up in two words – simply stellar!

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Ms. Philippines Earth 2013 Angelee de los Reyes. Photo: H Garcia

 

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(Photo: Michelle Ramos)

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(Photo: Michelle Ramos)

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(Photo: Michelle Ramos)

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(Photo: Michelle Ramos)

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(Photo: Michelle Ramos)

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Fashion Show producer Agnes Miranda (left), organizers and guests on stage (Photo: Michelle Ramos)

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Designer Renee Salud (Photo: M. Ramos)

Designer Renee Salud
(Photo: M. Ramos)