Fashion will save the world.

In cities like Paris, Milan, London, and New York, fashion plays a crucial role in the local economy. The cities have established themselves as design capitals, with the best designers holding court in their boutiques and flagship stores. The locals take clothing seriously and hold events that the world anticipate. Case in point, Fashion Week. But in recent years, a new storm has taken over the global fashion scene. It’s called Fashion’s Night Out.

Conceptualized in 2009 by Anna Wintour, Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and NY & Company, Fashion’s Night Out aims to resuscitate the economy by urging the people to spend. By inviting Hollywood celebrities and fashion royalty, consumers are drawn to the one-night celebration filled with music, champagne, limited edition merchandise, activities, and the promise of a great new handbag by the end of the night. What started out as a one-night event in New York has stretched to a three-week extravaganza held every September in over 19 countries.

“It was clear that something needed to happen to get people comfortable with shopping again and to remind them that their purchases were helping to support the economy and the lives of those around them that worked in fashion,” says Susan Portnoy, vice president of Condé Nast. At the success of the worldwide event, we wonder: could we pull off a Fashion’s Night Out in the Philippines and save our economy?

It’s no secret that a large chunk of the money we make is through remittances made by OFWs, with a recent report by the National Economic and Development Authority claiming that we cannot be completely independent from it. But what would happen in case the demand for OFWs slows down? Where would that leave us?

An event like FNO could be the answer. The clothing industry is a key player in the global economy, and can affect the country involved. If you think that the business of suiting up is best left for the rich, consider that in New York alone, the industry provides 100,000 jobs and has $14 billion in earnings. In 2008, the global community spent $192 billion on clothing, a healthy sum that can buy the entire Louis Vuitton S/S 2013 collection and a Rajo Laurel dress. In the Philippines, apparel is one of the biggest exports, rivaling that of the computer chip and the OFW.

But can fashion really save the Philippines? The thought of having FNO Manila seems like a long shot, considering how Filipinos aren’t as committed to fashion. Being in a third world country, most have bigger priorities such as food and shelter. An event as frivolous as an all-night party with designers and models doesn’t sit well for most Filipinos. The cultural divide is palpable, the dominant side a group that doesn’t care for heelless shoes and slouchy chic.

Established blogger and fashion star Cecile Zamora-Van Straten isn’t impressed, too. “I witnessed it in Tokyo last year. I was in a cab with my friend and we saw these fashion blogger-types lined up outside stores and I couldn’t be bothered or be excited to join them,” she says.

But fashion designer Santi Obcena offers a more positive view. “The concept of Fashion’s Night Out is indeed a great way to showcase up-and-coming brands from young designers and companies. God knows how hard it is for Pinoy brands, small or big, to compete with cheaper imports from other countries nowadays.”

Burgeoning shoe designer Joco Comendador has a few ideas on how the industry could help the country. Comendador, whose latest project is dressing up the models of the recent Bench Universe shows, is known for his killer heels. “The fashion industry can save the economy by maximizing locally produced raw materials such as fabric and leather, and hiring skilled workers locally instead of importing materials.” Involving everyone, from designers to mass retailers can encourage everyone from all economic backgrounds to join in the fun.

“The challenge for the Filipino market isn’t convincing them to buy, it’s basically to buy Filipino goods. Why aren’t we buying our own? I guess a Pinoy Fashion Night Out would be a great way to edit that perspective and probably bring the whole fashion community closer, hitting so many fashionable birds with one glamorous stone,” Obcena concludes.

Let’s admit it, the Filipino is becoming stylish. We’re not there yet, but the talents of our local designers are proof that we are ready for an international market. And the smizing Filipino public is hungry for more. A revolution is starting, and the best-dressed will lead the way. Dress appropriately.

Philippine Fashion Week: The Holiday Collection 2011 (Part Une)

Last night, I was at SMX with Nikko Panti for Philippine Fashion Week. We got tickets for Menswear and Arnold Galang/Chris Diaz/Gerry Katigbak from Stylebible at the last minute.

Menswear had 12 designers and I liked Bang Pineda, Drei Soriano and Ulysses King. Pineda used a lot of interesting circles in his designs, especially on his jackets and dress shirts. Soriano mainly used blacks, greys and leather and it looked really badass. I liked how S&M his collection looked and I might pick up some stuff from his collection. The 12 designers mostly used blacks but King broke the monotony by preparing pieces in vibrant and refreshing shades of oranges and blues.

For the next show, I really liked Arnold Galang’s collection. I think his peg was Tibet or Thailand and his pieces were a tasteful combination of reds, greens, and oranges. The fabrics looked really soft, flowy and elegant. I didn’t really feel Diaz’s collection because it looked too Single Ladies, complete with leotards and that metallic glove that Beyonce seemed to obsess over a time. Katigbak used a lot of beautiful lace.

The best part of the night was seeing Chat Almarvez, Charo Ronquillo and Ria Bolivar in one show. I almost had an orgasm.

Because we got the tickets at the last minute, I didn’t have enough time to put together an outfit. Uniqlo shirt, custom-made blazer, Lee jeans, French shoes, nonprescription glasses from the tiangge. Not very fasyown, I must admit but hey, I was under duress.

My socks are also from Uniqlo. I’m so into the brand that even the underwear I wore was from Uniqlo.

I have invites for L’Oreal tonight but I can’t make it because I have a dinner. But I’ll be there this Friday for Luxewear and Oxygen, and Ford Model’s Supermodel of the World Philippines and Design Fusion this Saturday. See you guys there!

Nota bene: I need to get a better camera.

Vogue Nippon, March 2011

The cover featuring Izabel Goulart in Dolce & Gabbana, shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
A feature on Angelina Jolie, with a photo shot by Mario Testino
Interesting eye makeup from Look Out!, a fashion editorial styled by Aurora Sansone
A feature on Tom Ford
The Return of Splendor, styled by George Cortina
Coordinating Lesson with looks from Marc Jacobs, YSL, and TopShop
From Fred and Ginger, styled by George Cortina and shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin
From The Look Says It All, styled by Anna Dello Russo
World Traveller, a feature on vacation spots
The supplement, Nippon Vogue Color Bag and Shoes Dictionary


Yellow
The March 2011 issue of Vogue Nippon was boring compared to its other issues. Perhaps it was the lack of interesting pictures, which is what I look at when I read foreign editions of magazines because of the language barrier. I did, however, like the cover because of the use of animal prints, even on the title!
The issue is titled Catch The Look and it featured looks by fashion personalities like Alexa Chung, Anna Dello Russo, Taylor Momsen, Vivienne Westwood, and Carine Roitfeld; and the makeup of Faye Dunaway, a young Jodie Foster, Grace Coddington, Jerry Hall, and Jane Fonda. 
There were several features that I wanted to read, such as the ones for Angelina Jolie, Tom Ford, and Tommy Hilfiger. But because it was in Japanese, I had no way of understanding it. In fact, the December 2010-January 2011 issue of French Vogue did an extensive feature on Tom Ford and I couldn’t read it either, doubling my frustration.
The editorials were good, but I noticed the decimated number of pictures. Some editorials only had four shots. But they made up for it by being dramatic, especially Fred and Ginger, The Look Says It All, The Return of Splendor, and the eye makeup of Look Out!

The issue also featured top vacation spots which ignited my wanderlust. They featured wonderful places like Greece, Morocco, Maldives, and Shanghai, the last of which I’ll be visiting in May. I’m looking forward to buying cultural items like Mao memorabilia and of course, stacks of Vogue China.
The issue came with a supplement, a dictionary of bags and shoes arranged by color. The dictionary is a wonderful guide, and I had fun sifting through the items. Arranging it by color was a brilliant idea and I think every stylist/style-conscious person should own a copy.

Vogue Nippon, January 2011

The cover featuring Gisele Bündchen in Gucci

The supermodels of the 90s: Naomi, Claudia, Christy, Linda, Cindy, and Kate

The supermodels of the 2000s: Gisele, Karolina, Natalia, Gemma, Lara, Lily, Freja, and Karlie

From The Elements of Wonder, a jewelry editorial. The pieces are superimposed on photos!

Choose Your Icon, Anna Dello Russo cites Carine Roitfeld (a good choice)

What Makes an Icon?

Kate Is Vogue! Kate’s Vogue covers from French, Espana, Russia, Nippon, US, and Australia

A beautiful beauty editorial featuring Dior nail polish

Mina Kawai (a doll, literally), the beauty editor in Balenciaga

Always Playing The Star, styled by George Cortina

Another shot from Always Playing The Star

Anna Dello Russo

I finally got around to blogging about the January 2011 issue of Vogue Nippon. I’ve had it since November and I’ve been meaning to share some of my favorite parts but life happened so I forgot about it. The issue is about icons and everything about it. I think it’s appropriate that they chose Gisele to be on the cover, who personifies the fashion industry. Not everyone is its abject slave but even the most unfashionable person knows who Gisele is.

The content focuses on icons, both past and present, which makes the issue cohesive as compared to other issues of Vogue Nippon. There are articles on what makes an icon, which I’m dying to read; the fashion icons of the past two decades; the icons of fashion insiders (no one chose Anna Wintour and Mitsuko Watanabe, the chief editor chose Rei Kawakubo); international icons from the US, Italy, and France; and how to dress like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Faye Dunaway.

The staff of Vogue Nippon seems to have an unwavering loyalty to Kate Moss because she seems to be featured in every issue. This issue isn’t spared and there is an entire layout dedicated to her Vogue covers. I’m not going to lie, I love Kate so I enjoyed the special, which included her looks from the past 20 years and famous photos shot by the best photographers like Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Terry Richardson, and Mario Sorrenti (who shot Gisele for the cover).

I was disappointed with the editorials, mainly because Anna Dello Russo didn’t style anything, but I’m starting to like George Cortina, who styled Always Playing the Star. The contrast between the luxurious (and somewhat tacky) clothes had a nice contrast with the run-down background. Some of the other shots involved Edita Vikeviciute standing in what looked like a maintenance area, in rubble, and walking along the shore amidst people and boats and sand. There is of course that wonderful shot where she stands with the elderly women, who look so real as compared to Edita.

The issue came with an Emilio Pucci mirror, which I broke when I was on my way home from Cubao X last Saturday. Sigh.

Hong Kong Elle, February 2011

The cover featuring the lovely Chinese model Shu Pei Qin

There are 40 editions of Elle! Vogue only has 18. And look, PAL and Cebu Pacific are in the issue!

The editor-in-chief is a man!

Anne Hathaway looking so fine in Stella McCartney

The Fresh Spring

The Girl Who Steals the Show

Fruit Loops

Recipes with hearts on the food!

A supplement that includes the runway collections for S/S 2011. I have an issue of Mode et Mode from Japan featuring the same stuff

The Little Prince shirt from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and glitter shoes from Miu Miu!

An interesting layout from Elle Collections

My mom went to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year and she got me a copy of Hong Kong Elle‘s February 2011 issue. Unlike Vogue Nippon, this edition features local models, which I appreciated. After seeing so many Brazilian and Eastern European models, it’s a breath of fresh air to see Asians walking down runways and appearing in fashion editorials. My only issue with the magazine is the overload on beauty advertisements. Majority of their ads are beauty products and it made it look like our edition of Cosmopolitan. No wonder we have good skin, we are bombarded with anti-ageing products every two pages of fashion magazines.
The editorials were good. Besides the fact that they used homegrown models, they featured a white background, which made the pages look clean and edgy. They balanced it with an editorial on fruit (adorable!) using a foreign model but the production team was Asian.
The supplement was thorough – it featured runway looks as well as the best shows, front row attendees, models to watch out for, and the curtain calls of designers. I also loved how the looks were presented in different and unconventional ways but I was a bit bothered how they tagged Rachel Bilson as Leighton Meester and how they misspelled Chloe over and over again.

Vogue Nippon, November 2010

The cover featuring Lily Donaldson in Miu Miu

Alessandra Ambrosio for an Anna Dello Russo-styled shoot

A map of Harajuku

Versailles

Mischief Painter’s Portrait

The Midnight Tribe, styled by Yuki Matsuyama

After months of gathering dust on my shelf, I finally got around to reading Vogue Nippon’s November 2010 issue (I have issues up to March 2011). I was a bit disappointed because they mostly use Western models and stylists but you can still feel the Japanese vibe throughout the pages. They have a habit of mixing photos with art which I found adorable. I especially loved the editorial Anna Dello Russo styled, the one for children, and the one that featured shoes (I love looking at women’s shoes).

Jungle Fever

After reading several Japanese fashion magazines (four issues of Vogue Nippon, Shel’tter and Mode et Mode), I developed this feral liking for leopard prints. The Japanese seem to be addicted to the stuff and feature many items in their magazines with the print. I blame Anna Dello Russo, that maximalist Italian woman who runs the fashion section of Vogue Nippon.

I’ve always turned to the classics when it comes to style, relying heavily on blazers and leather lace-ups to complete a simple and sophisticated look, but Dello Russo makes matching prints work, and my jungle fever gets stronger each day.

I’m desperate to own anything with a leopard print but I don’t want to surprise the whole world by arriving at a party with a full-length coat. A scarf, maybe?

Last night of the year

As per tradition, I will be spending New Year’s Eve at my aunt’s house in Quezon City, across ADMU.

This morning, I was reading the latest issue of STATUS magazine (the one with the David LaChapelle interview) and I was inspired to wear khaki after seeing a spread on the material. I decided to wear it for tonight’s celebration, paired with something red, another tradition.

Shirt from Japan; polo shirt from Calvin Klein; khaki pants from Armani; shoes from Hong Kong; necklace is DIY, made from a keychain my brother gave me; sunglasses from a tiangge.

Enjoy your last day of the year!