Sunday, July 02, 2006

bench fever

see this man? this man is ben chan. and last friday, june 30, 2006, he was the most wanted man. because last friday was the height of bench fever, and a ticket to the bi-annual underwear and denim show was the hottest commodity. ben had no more tickets to give away—they were sold out the day they were available at the stores—and there was a last-hour scramble for those tickets. people were even texting us for tickets! but we only had two and we were using both. araneta coliseum was packed to the rafters—from the bleachers down to the VIP floor where the press, socialites, assorted artistas, and friends of BC were seated. not an empty chair in sight. we were somewhere in between, in a slightly elevated portion where we could see the stage clearly, as well as everyone coming in. we saw people beso-beso each other, who was schmoozing who, who was avoiding who, who sat on the front row,who sat on the back row, what the pecking order was, and those who were not happy to be seated behind tall people or people with big hair or tessa prieto-valdes. we were close enough to see the show without heads blocking our view and close enough to recognize the artistas, but not close enough for our camera's zoom to clearly capture the action onstage. boo. the theme of this year’s show was disco, hence all those disco balls in the ads, billboards and posters; hence, bringing in the village people and sister sledge as guest performers. the stage’s backdrop resembled a giant boombox, but we don’t get the paul-smith-esque stripes. the show was divided into seven segments, with each one styled by a designer or, well, tim and celine. first up was celine lopez and miguel rosales's "varsity." the audience screamed when those roller skaters came gliding down the runway because a couple of them almost didn't brake on time at the edge! boys and girls were in knee-highs and chucks, bomber jackets and visors. cute, fun and happy: cecile zamora was inspired by that early 80s cult classic, "tempation island." the last time we saw that movie was 25 years ago (hello, 1981), so some of the refrences were lost on us. basta we laughed when rufa mae quinto appeared as a beauty queen with a big-ass crown on her head and a sash across her body, waving that apple-on-your-palm wave at the crowd. it was true pinoy camp: next up was tim yap and his “superheroes” (smart of him to tie the name up with his super! section in the inquirer, as well as cash in on superman mania). so predictably we got muscle men in capes and boots. the highlight was guest celebrity ai-ai de las alas in her contrabida costume, copping a feel out of every muscle man! (the soundtrack to that was, appropriately enough, diana ross’s “i want muscle.”) comic books were never like this… rajo laurel’s portion was called “stripes” simply because his models all wore striped undies. so everything was stripey, from the knee-high socks to the crop tops to the wrist bands. very sporty, very preppy: rhett eala’s “tribes” was an all-black affair (and in our opinion the strongest statement). there was a dance-off between tribes, although we couldn’t really tell who belonged to which tribe. there were whips and chains, skulls and mohawks, boxing gloves and wide belts, so maybe punks vs mods, goths vs skinheads, paquiao vs larios? patrice ramos-diaz had a “victorian” theme. models were styled with tulle headdresses and floral neckpieces. we would’ve wanted to see more of those ruffled-back panties with this grouping, though. mas bagay sana… randy ortiz’s ”pucci” portion was tailored made for him, as his collections are always full of color. the graphic-print undies were styled with cropped tanks, thigh-high stockings and stiletto pumps in brights like turquoise, fuchsia and orange. ang saya-saya! lastly, joey samson, one of today’s most promising young designers, styled the denim portion, modeled by the rest of the bench celebrity endorsers. the one who elicited the most screams? in no particular order: sam milby, zanjo marudo and richard gutierrez. any guesses who got the loudest? so after all the artistas and models gathered on stage, the stylists were introduced one by one and took their bows, and ben chan received a standing ovation, the audience thought the show was over and we were among the throng who stood up to beat the human traffic outta there and left. oops! the show wasn’t over yet! we all forgot about sister sledge and the village people! sorry to say, but their appearance was quite anti-climactic. the show was already very long at two hours and busog na busog na kami, that having those two bands close the show was, shall we say, miscalculated. our two cents: they would’ve been more effective as an opening act, or as a live soundtrack to the show. can you imagine the impact of having those buff bods strutting the catwalk while the village people were performing live right alongside them?? talk about bongga! (kudos and congrats go to show director robby carmona, furball for the video, propaganda and patrick rosas for the makeup, and the bench family. can’t wait to see what 2008 will bring!!)

1 comment:

Cecilia Dean Gdorf said...

It's all hype. NO ORIGINALITY, NO FASHION DIRECTION, NO DISTINCT STYLE. Where's the creativity from a MASS PRODUCED LOW QUALITY BRAND? But if Ben Chan just wanted to put up a circus, he undoubtedly succeeded. I refuse to promote to the International fashion press that this is what you see in Manila. This is not fashion. Why do they have to mislead the people? It's absolutely crass. The masses would not take anything ugly if they had a choice. We deserve more than this. I can't say more for Robby Carmona. This show has obviously been repeated 5 years ago. He launched an apparel line called Rockstar at the Enterprise, and everything looks and feels the same! And all this hype about provincial screenings is really sad. Check this out...The models from the provinces only received Php2,000. (For International readers, that's USD40.00) Yep and that's still less their agent's commission. So for the Disco Fever Bench Show Ring Master...SO WHAT? Sit down and focus.