The Islamic Fashion Festival comes to Manila for the first time

Sometimes we have this tendency to equate fashion with the showing of skin, more skin and much skin. I’ve been to a few fashion shows, including some for lingerie and swimwear, and skin exposure is inevitable. Even wedding gowns which, in my younger days, used to mean long white sleeves and high-collared gowns have now evolved to the point where you sometimes wonder if the gown is too scanty to be worn in front of the altar.

Today, I was privileged to experience a different kind of fashion show in Manila – the first of its kind in Manila. All the beautiful models were covered from head to toe – beautifully! This was the Islamic Fashion Festival Manila 2012 (IFF), hosted by the Malaysian Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen.

The IFF was launched in 2006. Its aim – “To build an updated visual and cultural reference from which Islam can be related to the modern world through the creative arena of fashion divorced from political, economic and social strife”. The very first IFF was held in Kuala Lumpur in 2006 and eventually, showcases were held in places like Abu Dhabi, Astana, Bandung, Dubai, Singapore and Kota Bharu as well as New York, Monte Carlo and London. Now, add Manila to that list. “Manila..has the honour of being the curtain-raiser for the series of IFF showcases for 2012” says Raja Rezza Shah, Founder & Chairman of IFF.

The theme of the festival was very appropriate: “Discover the Beauty of Modesty”. In a world where our children are growing up thinking fashion means wearing the shortest skirts, the lowest neckline, the barest backs and so on, seeing the Malaysian models parade down the catwalk fully covered up was an eye-opener for me to the world of Islamic fashion. You can look fashionable, classy and stylish while remaining fully covered.

The collections of 7 designers (Malaysian and Filipino) were featured — some in bright and vibrant colors, others in black and white renditions; swirls of sheer cloth in layers of various shades and hues; modern batik designs; exquisite embroidery and bead work; and beautiful turbans and veils wrapped around the head in different ways.

Showcase #1: “Love” by Tom Abang Saufi of Kuala Lumpur

Peonies and Oriental hues inspire this collection which revolves around the universal theme of ‘Love’. I really loved the play of colors – all eye candy! With summer coming up, this collection would look just great.

One of my favorites in the collection

Oh, I love this one too! Including the head wrap!

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Sassa Introduces its Summer Swimwear 2010

A good number of my yoga outfits are by Sassa. They look good, feel good, and wear good.

So when they invited me to take a look-see at their 2010 swimwear collection, I did not hesitate.

I took videos of the fashion show thinking I’d put them here but a very strong spotlight that some guy used during the entire show spoiled my entire video because none of the models’ faces showed up at all. Thankfully, I took some pictures of the collection they were featuring that night and came away with two very cute board shorts which I have already tried and love.

What I love about this line is the ability to mix and match. It’s no longer the case that top has to match bottom. We saw the models walk down the ramp with combinations of tops and bottoms in different colors. Beautiful! Now, if only I had the body…harhar!

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UNO’s Man Up! Fashion Show

More than those corporate attires which make you look very respectable but cramps one’s style, I prefer very comfortable, casual and feminine outfits. The most manly outfit I confess to wearing is oversized pajama tops.

So, when an invite came up to attend UNO magazine’s fashion show for 2009 with the theme “Man Up!” featuring women dressed in men’s attire, I became intrigued about how the collections would look. Would the models turn out manly-looking (a thought I was not too keen about)? But curiosity got the better of me and before long, I was part of the beautiful crowd that went to the NBC Tent at the Fort last Nov. 16.

At the entrance, I was greeted by RJ Ledesma, UNO’s editor-in-chief. Yes, there too was Chris Tan, the boss of Kring at who I first met at RJ’s book launch. Soon after, I spotted other blogger friends: Vince, Jayvee (also UNO’s Online Editor), Fritz, Noelle and Dhon. After a quick light meal at the buffet table spread out (c/o Tamayo’s Catering), Noelle, Fritz, Dhon and I found seats on one side of the runway. They announced free beer too (c/o San Miguel) but really now, I am not a beer drinker!

There were 4 stylists featured in the show: Mara Reyes (Gas, Bench and Diesel), Tricia Gosingtian (Massimo Dutti, Marithe et Francois Girbaud, and Levi’s), Xie Antonio (Gap, Celio, and DC), and Dominique Tiu (Blued, Raoul, and Marks&Spencer). This actually caught me delightfully surprised because it turns out that Tricia and Dominique are my oldest girl’s friends. Imagine that! So young and already bursting into the fashion scene!

The collections fortunately did not disappoint me. I thought they would all show up in striped suits like the invitation above! Good thing it was far from it. And it was fun to have Noelle beside me because while I had no idea who the models were, she’d lean towards me once in a while and give this fashion newbie her comments.

One fascinating thing she pointed out to me was the style where two men’s shirts were worn like a dress with parts of one shirt gathered at the back for that sheered look.

There were some clothes that really appealed to me. Classy yet sexy! Good for officewear. Great-looking for dinner out after.

For a first, this fashion show did show elements of men’s clothing although they did not bring it to the max yet as most of the styles were still more sexy than manly (which I actually liked, haha). Maybe they’ll be bolder next year and actually incorporate men’s clothing with a dash of femininity. That I’d like to see!

Here are some videos. The first one is from Dominique Tiu’s line; the second one is the parade of models towards the end of the show.

I did not go to the after-show party anymore at the For Members Only club but Noelle and I did get to have a few shots together, thanks to Fritz, our ultimate photographer! Thanks, Fritz.

And to everyone at UNO magazine and the 4 stylists, a big congratulations for a fantastic show. SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

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