Slide Is the era of the ego-centric designer over? Inno Sotto and CJ Cruz think so

There’s no doubt that the pandemic is changing the fashion industry. From nearly eliminating all the conventional reasons to dress up to compelling brands to manufacture PPEs for survival, the pandemic has driven designers to pivot over lockdown. What used to be a race to create pieces based on seasons became a challenge to adjust to the change in consumer habits.

During his time in isolation after the hectic schedule of his mentorship at TernoCon, Manila’s Prince of Fashion Inno Sotto takes a step back and opens up to buzzworthy designer Carl Jan Cruz, an admirer of Sotto’s, about a newfound calmness in the current industry. 

Like sitting through a podcast, we got to listen to the two catch up and drop hot takes via Zoom about the countless lists of “Best Dressed Women,” designing the terno and whether fashion schools are still relevant.

Purging of the fashion scene

Carl Jan Cruz: Hi, Inno.

Inno Sotto: Hey, CJ. How’ve you been? 

CJ: I’ve been OK. I mean, we were messaging—I forget when, time is a social construct now. How about you? How have you been?

Inno: It’s been quiet. It’s a learning experience for me. I mostly read, play with fabrics—I’ve been actually happy. There’s this, what I call purging. All of a sudden, it’s like everything’s going to start on a clean slate and fashion will probably have to reinvent itself. I’ve been trying to figure out what the scene’s going to be like after the pandemic, and I’ve been spending more time thinking and really analyzing things. 

CJ: What about in terms of work, how has it been?

Inno: I have a lot of unfinished work. [But] I like where I am now. I don’t necessarily get people talking to me about the next order [for] the next event they’d like to go to and [asking] if I could possibly make something for them. There’s a calmness now in the whole scene.

Prior to the pandemic, there was TernoCon, there were some orders I had to finish and a wedding I did during the weekend before we were all asked to stay home. And then it [was] like somebody just switched off the light without telling me and I was really surprised by all of that. I didn’t like the way that happened. When my clients came around and ordered things for their wedding anniversary [in July], it felt good and it sort of woke me up. 

I think it’s going to be up to me and, perhaps for most of us designers, to actually sort of decide what we want to do after the pandemic. I don’t think I’d sit and wait to be told that this is what’s going to happen.

CJ: Yeah, I really, really agree with that. I was certainly in shock when March happened. We also [had a client] who wanted to get married at their house. But in our case, they wanted to get married in jeans in April. It was exactly the same feeling that yung energy mo, it doesn’t feel kalat. I realized that this is how I want it to be every time I kind of take on a project or make clothes. 

Slide “I think it's going to be up to me and, perhaps for most of us designers, to actually sort of decide what we want to do after the pandemic.” INNO SOTTO

The countless lists of “Best Dressed Women”

Inno: One of the funny things I realized, and this was way before the pandemic, was the countless, countless, countless lists of “Best Dressed Women.” Why do best dressed women, who are known for their taste and having the knack for fashion or putting things together, actually need a stylist? Will you let me know, CJ? I don’t think Marie-Chantal had one, I don’t think Jackie Onassis had one, I don’t think Audrey Hepburn had one. 

CJ: Right.

Inno: But some women were so dependent on somebody to actually make them look good. I don’t know if being on that list reflects the tastes and the ability of a stylist [more] or the innate taste of that woman [on that list] to actually express herself in a choice of clothing and in the way she entertains. You know, for the major editorials abroad or the editorial sections, there is a stylist for that because they’re working on a concept.

CJ: I get what you mean. On a lifestyle basis, right? My logic is that style really was able to define power. But because of how society or the world has evolved, unfortunately, power [now] defines style—and usually with power, you can afford certain things. That would suggest that these people can shop at certain places, but you miss the chance of finding out what these people could do with what they [already] have. For personal style, it’s nice to look at what’s going on, but it’s really different when you stumble upon it yourself and you have a response to it. To be honest, in the past six months, I don’t know about you, but I have this deep, deep fear of not really liking fashion anymore. But I mean, I realized that it wasn’t just fashion. I guess I’m finding more bliss now that I just love creating things.

Slide “My logic to it before is that style really was able to define power. But because of how society or the world has evolved, unfortunately, power [now] defines style—and usually with power, you can afford certain things.” CARL JAN CRUZ

Has the terno been tampered with too much?

Inno: I think everybody got a little too excited about fashion. When I was designing [for TernoCon], I would often say, “You know, guys, if there’s anything you should stop doing as designers, stop designing anything that’s supposed to be ‘bongga.’” I also realized that if it’s a terno, it’s worn on special occasions. But the word “special” is taken totally, totally out of…

CJ: Right. Was it like a constant fine line with costume and the terno?

Inno: It is a costume. It is a national costume.

CJ: Yeah, it is a national costume. I guess what I mean, in a sense, is that it doesn’t feel like the national costume anymore.

Inno: I think it’s been tampered too much. Everybody just started to do things with it. Unless you can make it really better and still manage to identify yourself as a Filipino wearing a national costume, I don’t think you should really change too much about the terno. Ang nangyayari kasi, the terno is worn by women who actually play a role. You have to be a Reyna Elena, a Hermana Mayor in a fiesta or a town fiesta queen.

Fashion is more than just the designer

CJ: On a local scale, I hope people get to see the value of fashion. Yes, it is classist, it’s elitist, it is defined by social class. But at the end of the day, I hope people see it as something that can be a vessel or like an engine that could cultivate culture that has defined part of history. I get that the fashion industry has evolved into something very problematic and that could be addressed. We have to be accountable for things and improve them.

To isolate it and not to be as vague, people have always asked, “Why is being a fashion designer all about you?” And it’s not just an external conversation, but an internal one, too, for me as a designer or a company owner now. Hopefully, I can take in some of those structures from people before who tried to create something really good—you can’t take much of it or make it so big that it’s possible for everyone to have it. I’m making peace with that because I also came from an educational system where there was a lot of pressure that you have to be at a certain scale already.

Slide “I hope people get to see the value of fashion. Yes, it is classist, it’s elitist, it is defined by social class. But at the end of the day, I hope people see it as something that can be a vessel or like an engine that could cultivate culture.” CARL JAN CRUZ

Inno: But I think in whatever kind of school, there will always be that pressure to have to excel. Otherwise, you miss the opportunity to be challenged and to be, how do I say, creative or more skillful in whatever you’re doing. But you know, I understand it when you say that a lot of people actually think that fashion is about the fashion designer. I, on the other hand, have always thought that it’s about the woman who comes to me. I realized, even having gone to school and all of that, the bulk of the things I know now really more have to do with all of the women who have come through that door to actually ask for an appointment to sit down with me. I think going to a fashion school helps, but I also think it’s important to actually allow your mind to wonder and to be very curious about many things.

WATCH: Inno Sotto and Carl Jan Cruz dish on style, power and terno

CJ: I guess it’s something also in the relevance of fashion schools now. As a business owner or brand owner in RTW, I keep getting asked, actually, what I look for in a resume. I do get a lot of proud submissions that they may have attended this or that and it’s good. But again, from experience too, nothing beats just what they bring to the table. It’s more about the synergy of what they can do. I get rin kasi messages or emails sometimes that say, “Sana you can consider it, wala akong diploma,” or “I didn’t really do fashion.” I don’t want people [to bring themselves down] before they [even] get started. If you think you have something, go for it.

Writer’s note: This conversation has been edited for brevity

Written by Nadine Halili
Produced by Nadine Halili
Creative direction by Nimu Muallam
Art direction by Tricia Guevara and Dana Calvo
Layout and design by Tricia Guevara
Video by Michael Yabut
Assisted by Neal Alday and Lia delos Reyes

Yesterday, designer CJ Cruz celebrated the launch of his latest additions to his pambahay collection, a series of matcha, tablea, dove and Tonio (green and pale gray stripes) pique pieces for Carljancrewz.com, with a collab with Panaderya Toyo. 

The designer sent out food, wrapped in green fabric, his signature white seams criss-crossing the material, to friends of the brand. Inside the furoshiki wrapped package, Toyo Panederya’s egg sandwich was dotted with malunggay, a reference to the grassy hues of the collection. Cloudy green icing topped the panaderya’s malunggay bicho bicho, a fried rice flour pastry (otherwise known as the Filipino donut), another ode to the color and the brand’s local flavor. 

CJ accompanied the present with a note, inscribed with “Food is the mood.”

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Pambahay mode 

This is an extension of his “aparador” collection, “created as an expression of what Filipinos commonly refer to as pambahay or house clothes.” 

On the site, the brand defines their quarantine-ideal clothing: “CarlJanCrewz (the CJC Team) hopes to innovate and embrace the concept of house clothes that can be celebrated together. Made of specially designed CJC fine jersey pique fabric, this ‘aparador’ collection of articles is an intimate take on the contemporary Filipino aesthetic.”

A movable (and social media) feast 

Friends and fans went on social media to share their food presents. 

If everyone celebrated milestone moments with food, the world would be a better, more satisfied, slightly sleepier place. We’re here for it!

 

Header photo courtesy of Bea Ledesma

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If odd is the new black, let 5 Instagram accounts give you pointers

When you think of the brand KENZO, you’re most likely to think of its urban jungle patterns. It all started when designer Kenzo Takada opened up his first store “Jungle Jap,” with it’s Henri Rousseau inspired interiors. From there, Takada climbed up the ladders of the fashion industry. One of his designs was featured in the cover of Elle back in 1970 and the rest is history.

As we all still mourn the death of the brand’s founder Kenzo Takada, let’s look back at some of KENZO’s iconic collabs:

KENZO x H&M

Back in 2016, the brand launched its much anticipated collaboration with H&M. The collection included dresses, jackets, jumpsuits, clutch bags and accessories in patterns that truly embody the jungle aesthetic of KENZO. Aside from its dope designs, it was also modeled by Chance the Rapper, which had people raving about it. My favorite piece was the short dressed adorned with ruffles modeled by Chloe Sevigny.

KENZO x Vans

It’s always so fulfilling to see luxury brands partner with street fashion ones because it’s like getting the best of both worlds. And while Vans products are mostly marketed to skaters, it seems like everyone, even non-skaters, wanted to get their hands on this collection. If it weren’t for budget constraints, I would cop a pair so it would go well with my penny board—especially the Old Skool Tulipes sneakers 

KENZO x Britney Spears

No, her loneliness isn’t what’s killing her. It’s how hot the La Collection Monumento No 2 is. In this collaboration, KENZO combined his iconic urban jungle aesthetics with Britney’s timeless denim look to make magic. I don’t think I could pull off the look as well as Britney but it’s really sexy and chic.

KENZO x Inglot Cosmetics

And while this collab only happened behind the scenes of Paris Fashion Week 2017, it’s still worth noting that it gave birth to the exclusive KENZO x Inglot Cosmetics nail enamel for men. During the show, we got to see KENZO gradient nail art both for men and women—inspired by the auroras in Iceland. Who says putting on nail polish is a gendered thing?

 

Art by Tricia Guevara

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bride

If you played those cute dress-up games in your younger years or have been wanting to match outfits like Cher from Clueless, Dani Osmeña brings those dreams to life—bridal style. Her latest release features two-piece bridal outfits you can easily mix and match.

Young designer Dani Osmeña’s new bridal collection “Bridal” features six pairs of top and bottom pieces that you can mix up to create the perfect wedding dress for you. Its accessibility and minimalism make this collection ideal for the practical but fashionable brides. Each piece can be custom-fit and personalized according to your taste, with add-ons like puffy sleeves and bow straps.  

 

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@bridalbydaniosmena’s full collection is now available for download through the link in my bio. Start planning your dream adaptable bridal look at accessible prices- cocktail looks start at 10k, gown looks start at 20k ☁️ ? @migs_naguiat ?? @martinabautista ? @avi_deguzman ? @bertiesbouquets

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The collection boasts a variety of designs to suit any kind of wedding event. So if you plan on just having a civil wedding, you could pair the “Charlotte blouse” with the “Sandra trousers” If you’re more of a grand garden wedding kind of girl, the “Ana blouse” with the “Catherine skirt” is sure to complete the full princess fantasy experience. Regardless of whatever event you choose to have, it’s your day so go wild. Just don’t forget to practice safe social distancing. 

 

Photo courtesy of Dani Osmeña

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Here’s another win to brighten your Tuesday afternoon—non-binary Filipino model Noah Carlos walked for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Vol. 2 show and we couldn’t be happier. 

ICYMI, Rihanna’s second fashion show for her “Savage x Fenty” line premiered on Oct. 2 exclusively on Amazon Prime and featured a star-studded line-up of celebrities gracing the stage like Demi Moore, Shea Couleé and Cara Delevigne. The fashion show also featured a diverse cast of models from all over the world, but our most recent obsession among them was our very own Noah Carlos. 

 

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in the garden of rih ??‍♀️✨??⚡️ SAVAGE X VOL. 2 out now on @amazonprimevideo ? thank you to everyone involved, this has been one of my biggest dreams ?? #savagexfentyshow

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Carlos is a Filipino non-binary model based in California who’s been making noise in the modeling world for both their undeniable talent and for being outspoken about issues faced by the queer community. Signed with IMG Models, they want to inspire fellow queer Filipinos and other marginalized folks dreaming of walking the runway. Hoping to make changes in the fashion community for their queer siblings, they told VICE, “Everything is slow, but fashion is the fastest. I feel if non-conforming people don’t experience different things in this industry, it won’t change. I feel like in order to change, we need to get thrown into it and then talk about what happens.”

Seeing models like Carlos bring it to the runway, especially in a show as groundbreaking as Rihanna’s “Savage x Fenty” line, is a step towards a more inclusive industry. It causes a ripple effect and sets the stage for people to come forward and be unafraid to do what they want to do. We’re proud of you, Noah. We can’t wait to see you keep slayin’ the game! 

 

Photo screengrab from the “NYFW S/S ’20 New Faces Show Pack” video

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It’s a heartbreaking day in fashion as one of Japan’s most famous fashion designers Kenzo Takada dies of COVID 19. 

Takada was the first Japanese designer to gain popularity in the Paris fashion scene in the 1970s after arriving in the country in 1965. Following exactly 50 years of staying in the country he made his home, Takada passed away in the American Hospital of Paris on Sunday. He was 81. 

 

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It is with great sadness that we have learned that our dear friend Kenzo Takada passed away today. He was an inspiring and prodigious creator and we were proud to collaborate with him. We will always remember his smile and joie de vivre. The fashion, design world and all of us are mourning him tonight and extend our sincere condolences to his loved ones. Kenzo Takada nous a quitté ce jour. Il était un homme formidable et un créateur inspirant. Nous étions fiers de collaborer avec lui. Les mondes de la mode et de la décoration sont en deuil ce soir. Nous garderons en mémoire son sourire et sa joie de vivre communicative.

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Takada’s global brand Kenzo, which he established in 1970 was deemed one of the most important brands by the end of the year. His influence in the Paris fashion scene with his “blend of ethnicity and exoticism” left an impact on the generations years after his first debut—as he opened the door to viewing fashion as something creative and fun, rather than just a “status symbol.”  Along with his vibrant designs of the signature jungle and floral aesthetic of Kenzo, LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault notes Takada as having “infused into fashion a tone of poetic lightness and sweet freedom which inspired many designers after him.”

At the time of his passing, Takada’s passion for Asian fashion transcended beyond his own brand, as he was acting as the honorary president for the Asian Couture Federation, which aimed to support and promote couture talent within Asia and around the world.

We remember Takada today for his bright and spirited personality that manifested in the pieces he designed throughout his life, reminding us not to take things too seriously and to find the fun in creating what you love. After all, if you’re not happy then what’s the point?

People who worked closely with Takada remember his legacy of happiness towards life and fashion fondly, such as fashion critic Suzy Menkes who noted, “I remember him…telling me that he wanted to make ‘happy’ clothes,” as well as model Naomi Campbell, who expressed her love and grief for his loss in an Instagram post.

 

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@kenzo @kenzotakada_official So sad to hear of your loss today .. will always remember your smile and humble demeanor.. and positivity you shined on us all . Rest with the angels ♥️???

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Thank you for your designs and your boundless joy, Kenzo. May you rest in peace. 

 

Art by Tricia Guevarra

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While it may not be safe yet to hit the beaches and go for a much-needed R&R by the ocean, you can recreate that chill island vibe through fashion. 

On Sept. 30, lifestyle brand HALOHALO dropped their latest collection halohaloworld that brings the island living feel to the city. Known for their banig totes and homeware together with their casual island-chic apparel under halohalo souvenirs, their newest drop features lightweight pieces and accessories that you can wear comfortably on a warm day out. And if you’re a big fan of coconuts, you’re in luck.

Souvenir scarf

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFv3Hf0DtF_/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Coming in their first “banig not banig” print, this multipurpose accessory is not only stylish, but also functional. You can use this silky chiffon piece to accessorize your halohalo bags, a cover-up over your bikini after you take a dip in the pool, a bandana to hold your hair back or as a scarf to wrap around your neck or layer over your mask. It comes in two prints—coconut and santan—which you can wear together and tie into different looks. The souvenir scarf retails for P2,000.

Wrap top in Rosas

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDqZxOnjEdO/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Serving us another wrap-up moment, halohalo released this cream cotton jersey top that can be worn in multiple ways. With roses embroidered all over, you can tie this top however you want it—wrapped all over, worn backward or just tied once. Match this top over your fave bikinis or tanks or wear it with a pair of jeans. There’s a simple elegance to this top that suits both the island life and the city buzz. It retails for P3,000.

Cabana shirt

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Layer it on top of a sports tank or wear it alone, this loose-fitting button-up goes well for both cool and sunny days. The cabana shirt comes in two versions—in avocado rayon with a bulsa bag embroidered and in ube cotton jersey with a cute lil coconut tree. Match this tee with a presko pair of lounge or cycling shorts for a fresh walk under the sun. The cabana shirt retails for P2,200.

Souvenir accessories

To add to the two pieces serving us a coconut moment, halohaloworld also comes with cute accessories that complete the beach babe look. Cop their souvenir coconut anklet barefoot or with a trusty pair of sandals and pair it with their souvenir coconut necklace. The anklet retails for P2,400 while the necklace retails for P1,800.

If you’re not the type to go nuts over coconuts (but why though?), you can also clasp on their rosas necklace and match it with the rosas wrap top. Inspired by their rosas banig weave, the necklace retails for P1,800.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFvrKI2DVJC/

What are you waiting for? Get into the island vibe and cop these pieces on their website now.

 

Photo courtesy of HALOHALO’s Instagram account

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From our catalog booklet for Module 1. Releasing this weekend ?

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If you’ve been a lover of designer clothing or have an appreciation for the garments of the world, Ersatz is your new best friend.

Launched earlier this year, Ersatz is a store and garment library that prides itself on celebrating unique designer pieces regardless of any season, making each one of their choices timeless. Their collections consist of secondary items sourced internationally that vary from Comme des Garçons to Yohji Mamomoto, housing all of your Japanese designer favorites. Their page reads, “Ersatz can mean anything made or used as a substitute: considering it a cheeky way to say ‘alternative’, we felt our focus on internationally-sourced, vintage, unnew garments was neatly encompassed; an ersatz method of procuring garments from other spheres of the world.”

Unlike regular garment libraries that offer its patrons the option to borrow their vintage pieces, Ersatz sells their clothing items at affordable prices so these luxury pieces can be truly yours without the buyer’s remorse.  

On their Instagram page and website, they break down each piece by year, design, material, and a brief description of the item’s execution, staying true to that garment library feel. Think of them as master chefs breaking down their favorite dishes, making them more appetizing. 

 

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From the catalog: a better look at the Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons Man AW2004 single button suit jacket. This jacket has anatomical seams at key points which allow for easy movement despite the close fit; an exaggeration of classic tailoring. These points of articulation open onto an additional inner layer of the same fabric. The execution here is distinctly Junya: A single front button with wide, curved peak lapels that draw attention to the shoulder line and create a regal, almost old-world impression despite the avant-garde pattern cutting. An exceptional piece from a season built upon technical executions that Junya rarely employs for his current menswear.

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Beyond their unique approach to clothing and their wide collection, what makes Ersatz also stand out is their minimalistic style for their pictures and website, giving the feel of flipping through a high-fashion catalog.  So whether you’re there to purchase a new fashion piece or wanting to appreciate designer clothes for more than just their name, Ersatz is your one-stop shop. 

 

Photo courtesy of Kai Pilger from Pexels 

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Coach goes digital for their new sustainable collection’s debut

Fashion house Coach will be debuting their Spring 2021 collection in a digital experience in collaboration with photographer Juergen Teller. 

On Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. (9 a.m. New York Time), the American brand will be announcing the new collection #CoachForever live on their Instagram and Facebook accounts. Executive creative director Stuart Vevers aims to serve a new take on the culture of fashion by styling the Spring 2021 collection with pieces from his past works with the brand. 

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“This time has given me the opportunity to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going, and so it felt natural to look at some of the things I’ve loved during my seven years at Coach—and even go further back,” Vevers told Vogue. “One of the things I love about Coach is that we do make beautiful things that are made to last. There’s something beautiful about exploring that through fashion, pieces that are from different seasons, bringing them together, and putting them back together in a way that feels fresh.”

Vevers takes the brand to a more sustainable path with naturally dyed leathers and bags that are organically produced and made from recycled yarns. Some of the works were made in collaboration with local artisans from New York, highlighting the importance of community and inclusivity. Produced remotely by Teller, #CoachForever will showcase portraits of Coach’s brand ambassadors and friends wearing the new pieces.

“It’s a really eclectic mix of ready-to-wear and leather goods that we’ve approached local artisans and local makers to produce. Those limited run pieces that will be available when the collection is released,” the creative director added. “It feels like a way to give back to our fashion community—and I hope these relationships will continue. This is an opportunity to highlight them and their work just so other people can find them too.”

 

Photo screengrabbed from Coach’s official YouTube channel

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The red carpet at this year’s Emmy Awards took a virtual turn. Instead of stars arriving in their best glam and sitting next to each other in a packed Staples Center, we got to see the stars come together via video call in pure social distancing fashion. Despite the mixed reactions of conducting the 72nd awards during this time, this year’s host Jimmy Kimmel opened the show by emphasizing how “our old pal television” became a sense of comfort during this difficult time. “The world may be terrible, but television has never been better,” he said. 

All the nominees had to log in through cameras and microphones sent to their homes by the crew. While video calls usually consist of its attendees only dressing up half of their bodies to save time and energy, this year’s Emmy nominees stuck to the red carpet spirit and glammed up for the historical night. Here are our favorite looks from the television stars. 

Zendaya

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This was a big night for Zendaya who made history by becoming the youngest winner of the outstanding lead actress in a drama award for “Euphoria.” Surrounded by her family and team, she accepted the award in a crystal bandeau top with a black and powder-pink polka dot skirt by Giorgio Armani Privé. The 24-year-old actress joyfully accepted the award and appeared to have winged her acceptance speech on the spot. Still, she delivered a clear message and thanked the team behind “Euphoria” and addressed the youth saying, “There is hope for young people out there…To all my peers out there doing the work in the streets, I see you, I admire you…thank you so so much.” 

Sandra Oh

Photo from Sandra Oh’s Instagram Stories

The “Killing Eve” actress took the opportunity of this year’s lack of dress code to make a powerful statement. She graced our screens in a royal purple bomber jacket with a matching facemask from LA brand KORELIMITED featuring symbols honoring the Black community and Oh’s Korean heritage.  “After George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed, I felt that as an Asian-American, a Korean-American person, I wanted to express my support for the Black community in a way that felt personal to my community,” she told British Vogue.

“It’s in a royal purple color—which is a super Korean color and brings a certain mindset for me—and it says ‘Black Lives Are Precious’ in Korean writing, because the literal translation of Black Lives Matter is impossible in Korean. The characters have to be read top to bottom, right to left, [a traditional way of writing Korean script] and there are dashes, or taegukgi, lifted from the Korean flag, which represent celestial bodies and the natural elements and all of that good stuff. And then on the right there’s a mugunghwa [hibiscus], the national flower of Korea,” the actress explained. 

Billy Porter

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Nominated once again for outstanding lead actor in a drama series, the “Pose” star appeared clad in a pure white ensemble consisting of a sash draped over a custom-tailored jacket which cascaded behind him like a cape and chic flared pants. Known for serving looks in award shows (come on, he gave us the crystal curtain opening moment at the Grammys before), he gave Instagram a first look to his fit and said, “Never in a million years, as a gay Black man who came out in the 80s during the AIDS crisis, did I imagine that a show like ‘Pose’ and a character like Pray Tell could exist.”

“I would describe my style as free. I’ve worked a long time to find a space where I don’t care what other people think about me. That’s a [really] interesting and hard place to get to,” he said. “I’m there. I’m free.” ⁣

Tracee Ellis Ross 

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Nominated for the outstanding lead actress in a comedy series award for “Black-ish,” the actress came in a stunning gold dress by Alexandre Vauthier. Not only did Ross match her facemask with her golden getup, she also strutted on her own red carpet at home. 

Dan Levy

Screengrabbed from the Television Academy’s official YouTube channel

Although the majority of the nominees attended the show from their homes, the cast of “Schitt’s Creek” accepted all seven of their awards together from a private events venue—complete with facemasks and socially distant tables. Daniel Levy took home the outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series award and stayed true to his character David Rose by coming in mismatched socks and a grey suit that—instead of pants—was paired with a pleated skirt by Thom Browne.

Laverne Cox

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The “Orange is the New Black” actress had us in awe with her all-black sheer look by Kim Kassass Couture. Being the first openly trans woman to be nominated four times for outstanding guest actress in a drama series since 2014, it’s not the first time Laverne Cox took our breaths away. While we still wait for the Emmys to give her a win under that category, she killed it last night when she debuted the printed (are those hieroglyphs?) suit and presented the outstanding writing for a drama series award to Jesse Armstrong. 

 

Art by Dana Calvo

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preen ec volume 2

What’s your purpose for dressing up at home? Is it to still the restlessness that comes with missing being part of a crowd or to erode the divide between comfort and power dressing? 

Eco-conscious and genderless fashion label EC, a collaboration between designers Eustacia “Stacy” Rodriguez and Carlos del Prado, dropped its second collection called Volume 2. With comfort as their holy grail, the new collection features relaxed three-button shirts and drawstring bottoms—all using lightweight materials made to be worn all day.

“The clothes we’ve come up with here took a bit of time, mostly in part because of how the world changed,” the designers shared on Instagram.  

A year ago, Preen.PH was able to have a chat with the designers on slow fashion and their creative process. We are able to once again sit down with them (virtually!) to talk about Volume 2.

What’s the collection about?

Stacy: It’s about mixing the idea of itching to travel the world but being at ease with staying in—if that makes any sense. 

Carlos: Clothes that work staying put but also outside, when you have to be outside. Times are strange. 

The Boxer is a pair of oversized walking shorts made of multicolored printed canvas and finished with white stitching. It has a woven drawstring and pockets at the back and side seams. It’s priced at P2,500.

Did you design this during quarantine? How did that context—staying home, not being able to attend or hold events—affect your design perspective?

Stacy: We were already thinking about this way before the lockdown but we kept getting held back because we had to respond quickly to the pandemic by helping out with PPE production and producing re-wearable masks. I think the collection ended up being more fun in terms of color and fabric, strangely because of the stay at home thing.

We got nostalgic for life pre-pandemic and excited for what could come after. However, it did force us to set aside certain ideas because they didn’t seem applicable to the way of life now. The biggest priority was for everything to stay easy-to-wear and comfortable no matter what. 

Carlos: I think the term “pivot” is used quite regularly now—seeing as we all had to do it in some way or another, as best as we could. We had ideas for what we wanted to do next, but then everything got turned on its head. We tried to build clothes around not having anywhere to go. But if you did, you were definitely ready to go. 

We read somewhere that this is a genderless concept. How would you define masculine and feminine design? How does this collection evade that binary?

Stacy: When Carlos and I started dating, one of our first dates was to work on a pair of pants we would both wear and that’s how it all started. We liked the idea of couples sharing clothes and we always design things with that in mind—that either one of us would wear them. [What made it] more interesting [is] that he’s skinnier than me. I know some men who wouldn’t dare date someone who was “bigger” than them and on the opposite side of things, I know women who would be horrified by the idea as well. 

To be honest, dating and making clothes with Carlos has made me more comfortable with my body AND my style. I guess I just really love that in EC, we design clothes that disregard “his or hers.” Here are some cute clothes. Who the f*ck cares who’ll wear them?!

Carlos: The line between “menswear” and “womenswear” just gets blurrier and blurrier. So, why not push that agenda? Granted, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We just want to make stuff the two of us are comfortable in. And I think that a lot of this fits into what people are definitely wearing—looser, easier wearing pieces. 

We start to see that people are willing to try the relaxed silhouettes because let’s face it, we’ve got to try out other things now that we don’t have as many things to do. Get creative. Get out of the box. Do SOMETHING because, my god, there’s not much else to do. We might as well see if clothes we never thought we could wear might actually work out for us. 

The Cagliari is a relaxed three-button printed shirt made from a soft pink rayon cotton blend with chest pockets made from printed Japanese cotton. Finished with brown stitching, it drapes nicely. It’s priced at P3,000.

Where would you wear this?

Stacy: ANYWHERE. Even to bed.

Carlos: Dinners out. Bus trips out of town. Long nights out. Reading books in a comfy chair. I could go on, but a lot of the scenarios involve trying the clothes out in different places, so we’ll wait for that. Especially since the clothes were made for home but also with places in mind like the beach, for example. My god, I miss the beach. 

How have your clients been interacting with your brand? In terms of what they’re looking for in fit, cut, design, material—has it changed considerably over the past six months?

Stacy: We’ve had pretty personal interactions with our clients because we didn’t have an online platform other than Instagram until the other day.

For Volume 1, we observed what our friends liked to spend on—good jackets and nice trousers! But in Volume 2, being stuck at home, we just wanted nice clothes to roll around in and make us feel better about the world.

Carlos: Mostly Instagram, but we just set up an online shop and that’s new for us. So, we’re sort of migrating and sorting out that whole new thing. It’s been fun to see who comes along. People still do get in touch via Instagram. We welcome questions and conversations. They’re always fun, for the most part. 

Materials for Volume 2 are definitely much softer, and the colors are louder—more fun, compared to Volume 1. 

The Brighton is a boxy boat neck shirt inspired by the camisa de chino. It’s made from lightweight blue seersucker with contrast seersucker pockets and finished off with yellow stitching. It has a four-button placket and a slightly longer back. It’s priced at P3,000.

Who are the coolest people who’ve worn your brand? These are easy, comfy clothing—what about people who love posting thirst traps? 

S : THEY’LL ALWAYS FIND A WAY!!!

C : I’m just happy that people respond to the clothes. That’s a great rush of dopamine right there. As for the thirst traps, [like you said], kaya yan. We have a shirt that has 3 buttons, that ain’t much. Dali lang.

You can shop the collection on EC’s newly launched website

 

Photos courtesy of EC

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preen rihanna savage x fenty show vol. 2

The queen returns, not with a new album, but with another fashion show. Today, Rihanna dropped the teaser for the upcoming “Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2” and just like last year, it’s going to be exclusively available on Amazon Prime. So, pen in the Oct. 2 streaming date and get that subscription because you won’t want to miss the chance to see Riri onstage. 

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If you missed out on the first “Savage x Fenty Show” (which you can still stream on Amazon Prime) and all the internet buzz it garnered, prepare yourself for a lingerie fashion show featuring live performances. And no, we don’t mean musicians singing their hits in the middle of the catwalk with little to no interaction with the models. Expect to see something more like a concert where most of the models clad in Savage x Fenty are part of the choreographed performances instead of simply sashaying down the runway. In fact, the first show opened with a dance number from Rihanna. 

The teaser for this year’s show boasts of a lineup that’s even more star-studded than before with musical performances from the likes of Travis Scott, Rosalia, Miguel, Ella Mai and a few others. Among the celebrities we’ll be seeing on stage are Lizzo, Normani, Rico Nasty, Willow Smith, Cara Delevigne, Bella Hadid, Demi Moore, Paris Hilton, Shea Couleé and Jaida Essence Hall. Maybe the teaser was right in saying, “Y’all not ready.”

Known for its diverse cast, we’re excited to watch BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) models of different sizes on the “Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2.” Will we be seeing more persons with disabilities on the show too? We can’t wait to find out.

 

Photo screengrab from the “Savage x Fenty Show” teaser trailer

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While I was on a quest for new outfits and accessories (yes, I dress up at home for a sense of normalcy), I stumbled upon my mom’s old fashion magazines from the 1980s. Back in the good ol’ days before social media (according to my mother), fashion magazines took the center stage in keeping up with the latest fashion trends and celebrity updates. 

Browsing through the trends of the past can provide inspiration for fresh ideas and designs. A part of the fashion of the ’80s was a revival of the 1940s—when women began entering the workforce. Much of the aesthetic of the ’80s involved power dressing with bold colors, loud patterns and oversized accessories to express independence. A lot of us can appreciate a boost of confidence during these difficult times so it wouldn’t hurt to try recreating these powerful looks. Since a lot of these iconic looks are still popular today, you might just find similar pieces after digging through your own wardrobe.

Stripes to go sicko mode

What’s now known as the pattern worn by those rich college kids hitting up the coolest drinking spots on a Friday night was once a casual summer fit. Stripes took the ’80s by storm, being printed on shirts, shorts, skirts, you name it, as a fashion staple for days out in the park and the beach. These eye-catching looks screamed “squad goals” as groups of friends could wear the same patterns but in different colors. Relive the night outs or summer trips with the homies by matching your outfits in your next e-numan or virtual game nights.

Dolphin shorts a.k.a. TikTok shorts

TikTok arguably became a popular past-time in quarantine and a lot of its users wore the iconic dolphin shorts. These shorts rocked the ’80s as workout gear in full color made out of nylon with contrast binding, side slits, and rounded corners. It’s no wonder that this comfy pair rose to fame in the past few years as loungewear and a staple for those TikTok dance crazes. Anyone down to work out to the beat of “Renegade” or “WAP” ’80s style?

Sweats, sweats and sweats

Back in the ’80s, solid-colored sweatshirts and sweatpants were athleisure looks that fitness enthusiasts wore both for working out and a day out in theme parks. Compared to today’s athleisure trends which feature sports bras and tight leggings, you could go for a sweatsuit set for a softer and more loose-fitting feel. With the ’ber months and colder weather coming up, a set of sweats looks great for a full day of working at home or heading out for a quick errands run.

Thick headbands

Thanks to the Y2K resurgence, chunky hair accessories are making a comeback. The huge clips and scrunchies that kept our hair up in the ‘90s and early 2000s already started making waves during the ’80s together with headbands as trendy hair accessories. Throw it back to the days of catching your favorite cartoons on cable TV after school with these thick headbands. They not only push your hair back but they could also put it up—just tie it like a scrunchie.

High socks and colorful kicks

The ’80s was definitely a colorful era in the fashion industry. While bold colors are still prominent in current trends (especially with kidcore making a comeback), could color-blocking high socks and slip-on kicks be next? K-pop artists are already taking on bold colors in their recent music videos like Blackpink in “Ice Cream” and BTS in “Dynamite.” Take inspiration from these colorful finds and don those leg warmers to shine through the city with a little funk and soul (yes, stream “Dynamite”).

Chunky jewelry that screams Tita of Manila

Since a lot of the titas we know grew up in the ’80s, its no wonder that their current style pays homage to it. Strap on those chunky earrings and heavy necklaces and be *that* unbothered tita at every family party. Nothing says “I’m that tita who’ll chat you up” than showing up to a party (or Zoom call) with bling all over. Just check out MacoyDubs—there is no Auntie Julie without her signature chunky pearls and rings. 

 

Art by Dana Calvo

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News alert: Designer Paul Syjuco just launched a new line of jewelry that starts at P12,800. The collection, dubbed PS ILY, is a reference to his initials. “PS also refers to the Latin post-scriptum, words written to end a letter before saying ‘I Love You’ or ILY,” he says. 

The collection includes diamond-studded infinity pendants and bracelets in white gold to symbolize eternity to gold earrings shaped in Xs and Os, his ode to hugs and kisses. 

Infiniti pendant in white gold and diamonds from PS ILY collection by Paul Syjuco, P12,800

His Infiniti pendant in white gold and diamonds, which retails for P12,800, is a delicate beauty, modestly sized and finely articulated. There’s an accompanying ring, also in white gold and diamonds, that sells for P26,000, ideal for those days you’re furiously typing out some report and need something shiny to ease the existential burden of having to work through a pandemic. 

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Having spent most of quarantine crouched over my dining table like Gollum at a buffet, I’ve asked myself: Do I really need this Infiniti pendant in white gold and diamonds? 

Does anyone need diamonds? No. Does that stop us from wanting them? Also no. 

Preen.ph PS ILY paul syjuco affordable jewelry
XO earrings in yellow gold and diamonds. “Each PS ILY piece is meant to be given and worn with love,” says Paul Syjuco

If nobody can see you wearing a diamond necklace in the forest, are you still wearing a diamond necklace? Let’s save the philosophy discussion for college sophomores who just discovered sativa. 

“Jewelry has always been about self-care, self-expression and love,” Paul says. “It’s also given as gifts to mark milestones and life’s most important moments. This more minimalist line is designed for everyday wear. A contrast to the gravitas of my high jewelry line, PS ILY is meant to be playful, light and very accessible, yet smart and chic.”

Preen.ph PS ILY paul syjuco affordable jewelry PSILY Hug earrings in gold and diamonds (1)
The collection was inspired by art, fluidity and architecture. Hug earrings in yellow gold and diamonds

The entire PS ILY collection is available for pre-order here. Email [email protected] to inquire. 

 

Art by Dana Calvo

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Earlier today, Adidas unveiled their latest collaboration with Prada—and it costs $500 (approximately P24,000). According to INQPOP!, the Prada for Adidas Superstar sneaker collaboration comes in three colorways: black, black and white, and metallic gray and white. 

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Adidas Superstars, one of the shoe brand’s classic collections that’s known for its iconic design, have been around since 1969 and usually retail for about $100 (approximately P4,800). To celebrate its 50th year, Adidas partnered with fashion giant Prada for an exclusive collaboration. 

Looking at the official photos, the collab didn’t add much to the classic Superstar silhouette, just now it has Prada’s logo neatly placed beside the iconic three stripes. What makes these shoes particularly different is that these were manufactured by the fashion giant’s shoe manufacturers in Italy, and were made with premium calfskin leather and a lightweight rubber sole with reinforced seams.

 

Art by Dana Calvo

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