last night naman, all roads led to araneta coliseum for bench's bi-annual underwear and denim show. as expected, it was the hottest ticket in town! and because they were limited in number, bench wasn't giving tickets away to its invited guests unless they confirmed that they were coming. we confirmed yes! and from where we were seated (right side of the stage, row 2), we could see that there was no empty seat in the house (all those empty chairs in the pic were later filled up):
this year's show was titled "bench uncut: a bold look at the future." the "playbill" (naks) said (edited for length): "as bench gears itself for 2020, it takes great strides in introducing the brand to a broader demographic and on a more global scale... the leading lifestyle and fashion label features five incredibly talented haute couture designers (all trained in the mideast) to present their collections alongside bench clothing. this, with one goal in mind: being world-class." the credits said "devised by johnny manahan and overall direction," but the fashion and stage direction is by robby carmona. we were happy to see robby doing his second bench show! his first one back in 2006 was fun and we were expecting the same for this show. well, we were not disappointed...
the show was divided into five parts, each part representing a country or region. so the sets, video backdrops, styling, hair and makeup, choreography, and fabulous headdresses each reflected the culture of that particular country/region. it was a concept that was audience-friendly and easy to "get." the stage was wide and long, and the celebrities, models, and dancers got to fill that huge stage. it was a real SHOW with a cast of thousands. bongga!!!
first country was the philippines, with costumes (i.e., non underwear and denim) designed by cary santiago.
next was the far east (we assume china and japan) designed by furne one.
third was brazil designed by val taguba.
next was africa designed by ezra santos.
finally, russia designed by michael cinco.
the celebrities who got the loudest screams were pokwang in her "tentacled" gown pretending to get down on each brief-clad model on the ground; rafael rossel doing the capoeira then having his loose white pants fall off to reveal blue bench undies (which we didn't catch, dang!); wendell ramos in—what else??—his butt cheeks; and jake cuenca who stripped his bench undies to reveal bejeweled thongs!!!
hope you can identify all the celebs here because we can't! luckily, tim yap was sitting right in front of us next to rafe totengco, and since tim knows everyone, every so often we would ask him, who's that? ;-)
congratulations to ben chan, the entire bench team, and the cast and crew of the show! we heard a rumor that this was going to be the LAST bench underwear show! please say it isn't so because we would gladly have paid to watch this!!!