Archive for November, 2010

Black day

November 30th, 2010

No, I didn’t venture out of the house on Black Friday, opting to take a much needed day off to do … nothing.

The holiday madness doesn’t appeal to me and I am grateful that I am not in a position that makes it necessary to stand in line at risk of injury to save $10 or whatever on a Christmas gift.

No one could escape the video of local Wal-Mart madness, but even more dispiriting were comments attached to the video making “welfare” and “animal” cracks about those caught up in the madness, without appreciating their own good circumstances or acknowledging that we’re all part of a society that equates spending with love and affection.

I would wager that the same people who condemn the Black Friday crowds are not immune to the same pressures that make them victims of a materialistic society, whether it’s celebrating a birthday with gifts or buying the biggest diamond ring one can afford to propose marriage. The only difference is the level of spending involved.

Last  fall, when the recession hit, there was a lot of talk about a new kind of Christmas that would be more about values, family and caring than about money. Columnists talked about a recalibration of spending and a new era of needing and wanting less.

That has not materialized.

It’ll probably take successive generations, brought up with less, to wrestle that genie back into the bottle. In the meantime, one place to start would be to be more charitable toward those start life with less, and who may not know they can choose to opt out of the games marketers play.

Holiday ‘Salud Y Vida’ at Hawaii Prince

November 23rd, 2010

Nadine Kam photos & video stills
Designer Renee Salud, second from left, posed for photos with designers Eric Chandler and Takeo, and Nana Walch.

A Honolulu audience was treated to a fashion show of Manila-based designer Renee Salud’s “Salud Y Vida” 2010 holiday and bridal collections on Nov. 21.

The show, presented by Vogue Pygmalion to benefit the young performers of the Larawan Youth Ensemble, was produced by Leo Rojas Gozar, a longtime supporter of Filipino fashion, culture and the arts.

Maybe it’s an extreme case of rock fever, but I’ve always been interested in seeing what’s going on in other parts of the world, east and west.

Salud is a believer in taking pride in one’s ethnicity, and manages to combine classic Western silhouettes with ethnic details, which was interesting to see. It’s not every day we get to see the colorful textiles of the Philippines indigenous tribes, much less see them cast in such a contemporary way. Some of the pieces looked as if they could have come out of Milan or Paris.

It’s not easy to merge classic western and ethnic sensibilities. The last time I was in New York for fashion week, one of the shows that didn’t make it into print was the Couture Luxury shows, representing designers from Egypt to China.

During the “Project Runway” finale judging, Nina Garcia raised some eyebrows when she told Andy South his work was bordering on being ethnic. Some people I talked to here said they took that as a racist comment. The only thing “ethnic,” to me, was the chartreuse color popular in Asia, that I’ve also seen John Galliano use in his collections for Dior, and I’m pretty sure he’s playing to the new couture customer.

While the ethnic aspect figured into my not mentioning the Couture Luxury shows, it wasn’t because of racism, but just the general taste level associated with the kind of clothes you’d usually see in child beauty pageants or Eastern European ice-skating costumes. It just has no bearing on what contemporary American streets look like, and I’d say lags current fashion by 30 years.

It was a testament to Salud’s contemporary vision, combined with a wish to champion Filipino textile makers efforts, that he was able to blend the two so beautifully, and there was a mad rush to try on pieces after the show.

These days, there is so much disposable fashion that it was also joy to see pieces made by hand as practiced over decades, if not centuries, meant to be kept and treasured.

iPhone video link

iPhone video link

Marisa Gey walks down the runway in one of Salud’s designs, made with fabric handmade by indigenous tribes of the Philippines.

The show’s producer Leo Rojas Gozar, right, with Mylene Reyes, left, and Tess Bernales.

Cecilia Villafuerte admired this strapless gown made with fabric from the Kalinga province, a farming region also known for expertise in basket and loom weaving. The white pieces are shells. Low event pricing for so much handwork was $350. A detail of the fabric is shown in a jacket below.

One of Salud’s wedding gowns from the show’s finale. The gowns typically start at $5,000.

A barong Tagalog of banana fiber with weave detail. More detail is shown below.

A classic, contemporary look.