Is Filipiniana couture ready for New York?

Taking it global. Photos by Grace Hufano Labaguis and Felix Manuel

By Ryan Songalia

Fashion week in New York City doesn’t kick off until September 8, but three of Manila’s emerging couture designers started the festivities early by showing off their latest designs at the AnYo fashion event at the Philippine consulate.

Edgar Madamba, Richard Papa and Edgar San Diego put their Filipiniana garments to the catwalk test, with all proceeds benefiting the Handang Tumulong Foundation, a charity that raises funds for victims of natural disasters.

The show featured clashing designs of traditional Filipiniana gowns and clothing with a modern edge paired with denim jeans. The designers showed off barongs and dresses for a variety of occasions, from cocktails to weddings.

Despite the sold-out success of the event, Madamba isn’t ready to declare the lines fit for New York adornment just yet.

“We’re trying to take it global, but I still don’t know if it will be OK or if it will work out. But even if I don’t get global, it’s OK with me. Designing for me is fun,” he said.

The show had mixed reviews, with many raving about the flamboyant colors, intricate beadwork and the elegant jusi material, and some muting their indifference to the barong with floral prints.

“It’s not very manly,” whispered a woman who came to the show with her husband, a doctor. “I wouldn’t ask my husband to wear it.”

Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. applauded the celebration of Filipino arts and culture, and pointed to the philanthropic benefits as the show’s highlight.

“I think more importantly, this is a show for a very worthy cause,” he said. “It’s about helping those who have been affected by natural calamities. As you know, lately typhoons and hurricanes have been in the news. This is a very relevant cause.”

Eleanor de Leon, ConGen de Leon’s wife, serves as the event’s honorary chair. Troi and Mapet Santos were the show’s artistic and creative directors, while Erno Hormillosa directed the choreography. – With Cristina DC Pastor

Beaded beauty

Design looks busy.

Barong goes un-macho.

Channeling the Ifugao

Elegant petal skirt.

Designers Edgar Madamba, Richard Papa and Edgar San Diego acknowledge community's hearty applause..

Grace Hufano-Labaguis of GMA Pinoy TV, one of the media sponsors. With her is beauty pageant watcher Felix Manuel.

Ryan Songalia is a boxing journalist who writes occasional fashion & style articles.


  1. […] Is Filipiniana couture ready for New York? The FilAm […]

  2. oscar arellano wrote:

    I am so proud to know that my Kababayan is doing great in field of fashion. God bless your career and good luck.

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