Sunday, April 09, 2006

delayed reaction

if you've noticed, we don't usually blog on the weekends (hey, we need our rest too, you know), but as you can see, we have a bit of catching up to do. plus it's holy week and just like any good catholic, we need to take some time out for confession, reflection, abstinence, fasting, going to mass, doing the stations of the cross... (hmm, looks like we've got a lot of catching up to do there too...) anyway these two events happened nearly a week ago (tuesday to be exact) but we had to share...

MANGENGUEY
when we were growing up in the 70s, shoe mart (back then all they sold were shoes) had just opened its first big department store in makati commercial center. we remember brands like parisian (shoes) and mary quant (makeup), but our favorite was azabache. visiting that section was always magical, it was like entering a fantasy land: the floor, walls and ceiling were all black, but the clothes and shoes were all so wild and colorful. the woman behind it, helena carratala (left), was originally from spain, but settled here after marrying photographer wahoo guerrero and having two children (they've since divorced and she has re-married). last tuesday, at her little condo unit in makati, she regaled us with stories about her days in the philippines back in the 70s, when pierre cardin had an atelier here, and he was assisted by an unknown french designer named jean paul gaultier. yes, that same dude who designs for herm├Ęs now! helena was hired as an interpreter for this young, skinny monsieur who spoke no english and she ended up being his fit model. what was he like, we asked? "oh, he was so straight!" exclaimed helena. "his necklines were always so high, i'd tell him to cut them lower, and his hemlines were so low, i'd tell him to make them shorter!" so inspired was he by her creativity that he taught her everything she knows about designing, draping, sketching, cutting, patternmaking, etc. we heard so much about her legendary parties and how she and her friends would all dress up in outrageous costumes, some which took days to make, others which required trucks to transport. fun. but alas she left for new york and manila has never seen a character quite like her again. now she is back and ready to launch mangenguey. it seems nobody knows how to pronounce it, but it was named after an island somewhere in palawan, which she wants to eventually transform into a haven for artists and artisans. in the meantime, she presented us with prototypes ("experiments" as her daughter katya called them) of fabulous gowns and statement jewelry, modeled by her old barkada...
above: mary ann, evelyn and tats wearing the "experiments," gowns with exaggerated silhouettes and dramatic accessorizing. the fabrics are beautiful tie-dyed african cotton with gold batik print over them. the jewelry is gold and baroque pearls (prices start at 10,000 pesos). needless to say, it takes a certain personality to carry these OTT creations off, and these ladies certainly have it. there were also a couple of vintage azabache outfits, but this one caught our eye...
...because doesn't it resemble this couture gown by christian lacroix?? (from the "dialogues!" exhibit at the ayala museum.)


(ok, we gotta end this now. we don't want to miss "the gospel of judas" on national geographic tonight. to be continued tomorrow...)

2 comments:

carlosceldran said...

The vintage is way better than the current collection.

the fash pack said...

that appears to be the consensus.