Philippine Daily Inquirer
Style pundits speak up–better posture for P-Noy, better barong for Binay and less clutter on Kris
ICE PRESIDENT JEJOMAR Binay’s first faux pas in office wasn’t arriving later than President Benigno Aquino III at the inaugural, but wearing a barong that’s deemed “less formal” for the occasion.
VThe new President, meanwhile, looked fine, fashion-and grooming-wise, but the same can’t be said of his posture. His famous sister’s terno made her look somewhat bigger. Her son, Baby James, in yellow barong with Wayfarers to match, was the “cutest baby ever.”
These were the opinions of fashion experts about the June 30 presidential inaugural, given over steaming cups of java— funny, just-between-us irreverent and caustic, insightful and stimulating.
At the “Glam or Sham? Coffee Talk” event of HSBC at Makati Shangri-La last Wednesday, the British banking giant invit-
ed fashion industry insiders and professionals to dissect the sartorial choices of the who’s who at the inaugural.
This was HSBC’s second “Coffee Talk,” to highlight the bank’s promo tie-up with Starbucks, which has been extended to Aug. 31.
HSBC believes that nothing stimulates good discourse better than a cup of joe. For a minimum purchase of P2,000 with an HSBC credit card, the cardholder can get his choice tall drink at any Starbucks outlet. nationwide.
As Johanna Garcia, HSBC SVP for group communications, puts it, conversation is yours, “coffee’s on us.” (Redemption is until Oct. 31.)
Robby Carmona, an events director and one of the panelists, said he took no issue with the new President’s look, but thought he should work on his posture, picking on Aquino’s slouchy stance. Carmona felt Aquino’s stature should reflect in his carriage—squared shoulders and straight back.
Fashion designer Rajo Laurel compared the barong Tagalog of Aquino and Binay and noted that the latter should’ve opted for a half pecherastyle like Aquino’s as this is deemed more formal than Binay’s full pechera (buttoned-down front part).
Romina Gonzalez, an image consultant and magazine editor, added that Binay’s barong was the wrong fit.
The sleeves were cut too big, Laurel agreed, and the shirt itself was too long. The designer’s tip: Stand straight with arms on your side; your barong should end at the tip of your thumb.
Laurel also expounded on “how proportion affects physique,” using Kris Aquino’s yellow dress as example. Aquino’s Randy Ortiz terno was strewn with rosettes on the bodice and sleeves; the neckline had ripples of fabrics on top of more rosettes. Adding texture to the dress of someone with a full figure, like Aquino, does the woman no favor, Laurel said.
Mich Dulce, another designer, agreed that the upper part of the dress should’ve been kept clutter-free.
“I’ve done disasters before, myself,” Laurel said to make light of it. “So this is something to learn from.”
Shalani Soledad, the President’s girlfriend, whose dress Laurel made, wasn’t, however, among those critiqued.
Laurel also took a swipe at the seeming unflattering cut of the older Aquino sisters’ identical maria clara dresses by Paul Cabral. He said there were too many horizontal lines that cut the figures of the already-petite women.
“And why were the three wearing the same and Kris’ was different?” asked Dulce. Gonzalez agreed the difference was too stark, adding Kris’ ’do was also too informal for the occasion.
“I’ve seen her with more formal hair on ‘SNN.’ There was a disconnect.”
INQUIRER Lifestyle columnist Tessa Prieto Valdes sought to remind everyone of a lesson she learned from Laurel: shoes must not show under awoman’s formal wear. One violator at the inaugural was Dr. Elenita Binay, the vice president’s wife, whose terno was apparently a bit short.
Valdes also said Baby James was the only one who got away with a yellow barong, and that his 6’1” older brother Josh should’ve been made to wear a regular ecru barong.
The panelists also discussed when accessories could ruin an otherwise decent dress. Alleged offenders: Presidential Management Staff chief Julia Abad with random brooches pinned on her terno and a watch on her wrist (Laurel: “You never wear a watch with formal wear”); Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman who wore a beaded dress with matching beaded pouch (Laurel: “That’s why I don’tmake them for clients, even when they ask. You’re not going to the prom.”)
Even the actors and TV stars weren’t spared. Gonzalez thought Regine Velasquez’s dress wasmade of upholstery fabric, which was fine with Dulce, had it been of a more modern cut. Laurel agreed the look was dated.
The latter also took issue with Sharon Cuneta’s dress. The neckline could’ve been used to the full-sized actress’ advantage by cutting it a few inches lower. By covering her up, the cut of the dress only drew attention more to her figure flaws, Laurel said.
The curvaceous Dulce, who also makes corsets, used herself as an example of how to enhance one’s full shape.
A lot was also said about the comedienne Pokwang’s dress, but the panelists decided to chalk it up for the laughs.
In the end, everyone agreed the best-dressed at the inaugural, if there was one, was former ambassador and Cory Aquino Appointments Secretary Ching Escaler, who not only wore the perfect terno—vintage Inno Sotto—to the Palace evening reception, but also the right accessories.