All that grows, crawls, and flies

YVONNE Quisumbing is pretty—cosmetics-free except the subtle tint of pink on her lips.

Her hair is tied in a bun.

She has a slim frame, convenient to slip into any of the sample fit of womenswear she has designed over the years.

Easy, well-defined clothes as per Philippine Fashion Week but they’re nothing like the wardrobe of choice she is in for this particular Saturday night—a baggy black blouse over a wide-legged pinstriped vintage-type linear prints on the pants.

And a pair of men’s leather shoes.

Odd things usually happen on Saturdays.

“My favorite has already been sold,” Yvonne gazes through the small crowd of patrons across, searching for a particular item in
a sea of identical display on tall, cube pillars pressed against the warmth of the wooden floor and walls.

She cannot figure out anymore. It should be the baguette Peridotter I suppose that is on top of the fashion designer’s mind.

A collection of 26 Capiz shell purses designed by Janice Chua, Yvonne has painted on each piece of the item with botanical figures—leaves, flowers, insects, berries. The artist recalls how she used to observe the metamorphosis of living creatures, not to mention, her father cultivated butterflies in their farm in upland Cebu.

Titled “Facets,” it has been released in a one-night-only private showcase at the Pig and Palm on Nov. 8, a Saturday.

The cut of the bags mimics the shape of gemstones, observing a strict adherence to lines and cross points.

True to the inspiration, she also renders the oil-on-Capiz illustration with the precision of fashion design; she proportions the size of the subject according to the figure of the bag.

Blue Dust is the oval purse with four cabbage roses, a shade bolder than its twins called Spectrum Split and Crystal Moss.

Still shaped oval, Cradle is named after its protective horn cradling a gemstone; Topaz has two dissimilar gems suspended by indigo berry vines.

On the other hand, in cushion shape, Topaz Palace takes in the elegance of two high contrast colors: light pink roses on an oversized lime yellow stone.

Gold Dust, Crown of Carnation, Foliage reflect Yvonne’s fascination of plants and flowers while the color scheme of Kiss, Sky, and Tendrils obeys the organization of light and shadows.

She has now become the permeable membrane of fashion and art that diminishes boundaries among visual platforms.

In the history of her interdisciplinary engagements, there is zero problem in transition.

In 2011, she released a series of apparel at the Philippine Fashion Week in Manila with a Nikki Luna art installation as headgears: horns and twigs.

In 2014, still on the same show, she created floral helmets to accompany yet another series of skirts and blouses.

“I have books about botany,” she tells me.

“I like nature because it’s always about the cycle of birth and rebirth.”

“Everyone has different sides. It’s like the gem. We have different dimensions and facets, so we cannot judge… or we have to get to know all sides before we could even judge,” Yvonne says that clearly templates her next step into the future: an invitation to be her classmate in gemology and botany.

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