The Philippine Star

JAPANESE DESIGNER TOMO KOIZUMI...

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the direction of major brands around the world, did away with the usual runway show livestream, and showcased short fashion films highlighti­ng the latest from Bench, Kashieca and Human. Endorsers like Maine Mendoza were bathed in light as models and endorsers crossed each other’s socially distanced paths in a film that felt contemplat­ive. On Facebook, the Bench short film already has almost two million views.

And for the finale, a special terno by Tomo.

“I think it’s a delicious- looking terno,” reacts Gino Gonzales, project director of Ternocon, a biannual Bench co- production revitalizi­ng the Philippine national dress. “It’s fascinatin­g how ‘ outsiders’ who don’t have the ‘ baggage’ interpret the dress with their unique aesthetics. Tomo distilled the terno down to its basic silhouette, focusing on enlarged sleeves and the mermaid line, then infused it with saccharine madness.”

Tomo is a fashion fairytale come true. He was worn by Lady Gaga in 2016, but it was really fairy godmother Love magazine editor Katie Grand who championed him two years later and brought him to debut at New York Fashion Week in a Madison Avenue venue provided by Marc Jacobs. Bella Hadid walked his show with hair by Guido Palau and makeup by Pat Macgrath. It’s legends recognizin­g legends. Tomo went on to become the LVMH Prize 2020 joint winner and part of the acclaimed BoF 500 in 2019. This newcomer already has two of his creations exhibited at the Metropolit­an Museum in New York. For S/ S21, he collaborat­ed with the color- loving Italian heritage brand Pucci. Coming up in February 2021 is his collaborat­ion with Japanese cult fashion label Sacai.

For BFW, Tomo’s terno is a jolt of fun and opulence to pandemic- induced austerity. In the fashion film, the camera races through yards of Japanese organza, Tomo’s go- to material, gathered into layers upon layers of delightful pink flounce. It is girlish yet punk all at once. Lights play around the terno scored by a techno beat. It feels futuristic — or is it? With projection­s of television static, it is also us, in the present, peering into a screen — for a connection to the world outside, a distractio­n from all the chaos. We want to be inspired, uplifted.

“For me, fashion has always been essential,” Noel Manapat, the brand’s stylist, tells The STAR. “But now more than ever, it has become more sensitive to our needs for protection and for sustainabi­lity.”

In a conscious move to reduce plastic waste, Bench now carries polo shirts made from recycled plastic bottles in its Better Made line.

He continues, “Fashion also serves to elevate our everyday experience. With comfort, loungewear in softer fabrics comes to mind.”

We see this in Kashieca’s new season of easy- chic separates in muted neutrals that can be dressed up for Zoom or dressed down for lounging in dreamy reverie, such as in one’s abundant garden, as Kashieca girl Bea Alonzo — the beautiful face of the brand for 13 years — displays in the holiday collection’s short film.

“With functional­ity, we have hoodies with pockets to carry our to- go essentials,” says Noel, which we see in Human’s androgynou­s, utilitaria­n silhouette­s, executed in vibrant pastels and tropical prints.

“With beauty — colors that soothe the eyes and graphic messages that instill positivity — and with inspiratio­n. A beautiful shirt will always lift the mood!” says Noel. We spot pop art Bench tees designed in collaborat­ion with pop art gallery Secret Fresh, styled with chinos on Bench endorsers Ruru Madrid and Grae Fernandez, who topped it off with a jacket.

Talking about fashion now is sure to ruffle a few feathers, but unless you can go on with life naked, there’s no denying that fashion is a part of life and it’s changing and adapting with us. For Bench, Maine wears a shirt that says, “New and Improved Me!” Here’s wishing that’s all of us when this is all over.

 ??  ?? Kashieca girl Bea Alonzo in a Kashieca cardigan with back ribbon tie and micropleat­ed skirt
Kashieca girl Bea Alonzo in a Kashieca cardigan with back ribbon tie and micropleat­ed skirt
 ??  ?? Maine Mendoza in Bench matching denim jacket and jeans with a roundneck shirt
Maine Mendoza in Bench matching denim jacket and jeans with a roundneck shirt
 ??  ?? Ruru Madrid in the Secret Fresh x Bench round-neck tee and chinos
Ruru Madrid in the Secret Fresh x Bench round-neck tee and chinos
 ??  ?? Printed polos and high sole boots are unisex at Human.
Printed polos and high sole boots are unisex at Human.

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