CAll it one enchanted evening as a darkened stage seemed lit only by the glow of dangling boughs of night-blooming ivory orchids to the front, and hanging crystal chandeliers shining from beyond with the backdrop of a starlit night. And when a phalanx of white dresses on statuesque brides
started traipsing down the runway, one knew it would be nothing but pure bliss at the Waterfront Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City for the 2017 edition of “Weddings At The Waterfront” on the evening of October seventh.
A powerhouse ensemble of 12 fashion forces convened to present their individual vision and interpretation of wedding style. It was a mix of old guard and young blood. It was an amalgam of the classic paired with the current, the traditional and timeless vis-a-vis the contemporary and au courant. From the moment the first bar of a love song was heard to the second the heavy velvet curtains centerstage were drawn close, it was wedding romance at every turn and chance; from first look till last glance, it was stylish elegance at Le Relance.
Avel Bacudio was the fitting first note that heralded what became a style symphony for the senses. Bacudio’s clean, crisp looks were steeped in his expert understanding of form and fit. Perfectly cut black tuxedos in patterned fabric looked dandy and dashing on his grooms; and long and lean dresses rendered in rich white and muted embroidery looked sleek and striking on his brides. It was the perfect opener drenched in restrained glamour—simple yet stunning.
JC Buendia followed with toile de jouy bridesmaid dresses that sent everyone singing along to a happy Carpenters tune. Playful yet polished, the full, floor-length creations gamboled on the catwalk with the same glee one would get attending the wedding of a dear friend. Shoulders and waistlines were beribboned for exuberant contrast as ladies looked fay and fabulous infancy dresses perfect for a day wedding bubbling with romantic whimsy.
“I did not come here to blend in,” declares Mark Bumgarner when asked about his wedding looks. The proof? A runway chock-full of flounces and folds that artfully sprang on sleeves and skirts. Characteristic of Bumgarner’s show-stopping looks in pure alabaster were his deft manipulation of depth and detail. One stellar look was an intriguingly stark yet stunning bodice attached to a ball skirt abloom with shiny crystals and mille-feuille-like layers. Like one regal rosette, top runway model Ria Bolivar sashayed in his last bridal look that danced and
dazzled with her every graceful move.
Cebu maverick Harvey Cenit who is making waves in his UAE base showed high-octane looks that straddled cross-cultural aesthetics. The icon-inspired Ave Maria finale gown, heaving with drama and diamante was a sight to behold. One could sense every face in the crowd transfixed by this alluring apparition onstage. His presentation was proof that opulent fabrics married with crystalline accoutrements on traditional ballgown shapes has judiciously become his trademark. Call it the perfect homecoming for Cenit.
Jun Escario, a formidable fashion entity from Queen City showed his refined mettle and métier via his chic, cosmopolitan looks. There were soigné and sophisticated ensembles of blouses with layered neck accents topped with plush, pristine coats that were partnered with tapered dress pants in butter-soft creams and vivid blush tones. Dresses with puff sleeves and oversize bows lent a decidedly French flair to Escario’s presentation.
A traditionalist and a romantic, Michael Leyva displayed swags and swaths of dainty lace patterns on figure-hugging shapes that spilled on to
bustles and floor-length skirts. His brides were delicate and desirable, tender and tantalizing in equal measure. His looks were splendidly possessed of sheer and sheen, volume and verve. His last gown featuring a sweetheart neckline, a tiny waist, and a voluminous explosion of embroidered skirt folds was a gold-spun enchantment.
Loose and lush, soft yet sharp were the nature of Jojie Lloren’s designs. Sheaths of white tails that cascaded to the feet were clipped on the small of the back with sprigs of tiny flowers. This ability to handle and harness, to sew and spin garments into extraordinary creations speak of the handiwork of a true talent. With his skillful displayof fabric and fold, of cut and creativity, Lloren took breaths away that night through his procession of posh, progressive looks. His Filipiniana bride in a modernized terno was divinity made incarnate.
Without question, the bride is the center of attention on the most important day of her life. Wendell Quisido understands this fully. What went down the runway was a gala of glittery gowns perfect for a beauty queen, fit for a femme fatale, made for the standout bride. Shiny, slinky, see-through gowns in hour-glass silhouettes were captivating as were the classic wedding ballgowns which bloomed with plenty a petticoat and many a sparkle.
Celebrated Cebu designer Philip Rodriguez enthralled with petals and paillettes, lace and layers all imbued with an old-world charm. Tasteful, tiered and textured describe his coterie of chic confections. One playsuit spun from snow-hued lace with a matching floor-length skirt over it was classic and classy, modish and modern in the same breath. Rodriguez’s bridal gowns had artistic flaps and folds at the sides and back which glided ever so gracefully with his bride’s every step.
Val Taguba was the personification of high-wattage looks that night. His brides were stately yet seductive. Subtly sheer and cleverly crafted to give the illusion of the nude form underneath, the gowns were redolent with thick tiers and painted with swirling, gleaming curls and curlicues. His final look of an ebony gown that was so deliriously deep, so deliciously dark was all you needed to understand thata Taguba bride is one you cannot miss.
Feathers and froth, flora and fauna were the order of the night for Philipp Tampus. His wedding dresses bathedin a pure, pearly glow grew tendrils of foliage and flowers that crept from bridal head to hem. His sweeping, spectacular bridal gown made fanciful with fingers of feathers on its layered skirt pirouetted like a proud ballerina down the runway. It was frolicsome freshness anchored on élan.
Ever the show master, Cary Santiago showed looks that were sheer and sensuous, daring and diaphanousthat the folds of fabric and array of appliqués floated with meaningful languor in the misty air. By way of an astounding dress alone that had bare shoulders,a bejeweled mock turtleneck, and a racerback detail that clung to every curve of Cebu top mannequin Marjay Ramirez, this fashion genius proved one can lend sartorial artistry to the wedding ritual.Truly befitting, his finale presentation that night, as key mover of this year’s fashion spectacle, were beguiling wisps of ethereal elegance, a prelude to bigger, bolder, brighter bolts he is set to release into the Cebu wedding sphere—and beyond.