The Philippines pavilion for the MAISON&OBJET PARIS 2016, after years of bringing the country’s top shelter brands to the fair, will usher Fashion Philippines’ debut on the international stage. This will be the first time ever that an exhibit will be devoted solely to fashion accessories in MAISON&OBJET PARIS, ably represented by 10 fashion-forward Philippine brands. The participation is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, or CITEM, an agency of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry.
The country’s showcase, which is entitled Reimagined Traditions, will highlight present-day iterations of Philippine jewelry and bag-making crafts which trace their roots to ancient times. A landmark exhibit titled Philippines: An Archipelago of Exchange held at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris three years ago showed an elegant assemblage of artworks that could be befittingly called traditional Philippine culture. It included an array of accessories that held symbolic meanings or served various functions—as ceremonial accoutrements, signifiers of social status and wealth, markers of rites of passage, utilitarian objects, or simply decorative vanities.
While paying homage to generation of craft skills and techniques, and inspired by the Quai Branly exhibit, the 10 brands this September are present day design ambassadors of the Philippines who come from the country’s main regions, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao — each represent the diversity that is the Philippines but united and reflect an intertwined story of passion and crafts. For the MAISON&OBJET PARIS 2016 edition, the 10 brands draw from this well of methods and styles as they express their own confident voice on contemporary fashion.
Crystal Seas is based in Davao in the Mindanao region, home to the indigenous T’boli people. The brand borrows the T’boli cloth’s T’nalak patterns for its MAISON&OBJET PARIS presentation. It veers away from literal interpretations, reappropriating the patterns to non-woven forms instead. Materials native to Davao—Paua shells, metals, abaca fibers (Manila Hemp), mother-of-pearl alongside snakeskin—will endow the brand’s pieces a unique sense of place. Hands of artisans from Mindanao will help realize the brand’s designs, with metalsmiths from one of Davao’s mining towns melding, plating, and polishing the various components of Crystal Seas’ jewelry and clutch bags.
Cebu, an island province that lies south of Manila, is recognized as a main hub for fashion accessories with its rich natural resources that yield a wide range of components, and its renowned handcraft capabilities. The province is expected to put up a strong show with four home-grown brands showcasing an expansive range of Cebu’s jewelry and bag-making traditions that honors the province’s exuberant tropical sensibilities.
For Avatar CEO Butch Carungay, the fair will be a momentous event as he is set to unveil his company’s reincarnation as ZAI Design Hive. He says that they will be presenting “a more refined aesthetic which combines cutting-edge materials, traditional Philippine craftsmanship and excellent attention to detail – all with the quirky idiosyncrasies that have characterized our work over the years.”
Mia Arcenas will reveal her Spring 2017 collection, a series inspired by technology and nature with the designer highlighting her signature materials—brass, shells and resin. Arcenas’ line typifies the contemporary approach adapted by Cebu’s designers, melding modernity, natural elements and handcraft techniques. “It is about nature as being the source of all things beautiful, and with the help of technology, we are able to adapt these organic ideas to our ever-changing world,” the Arcenas disclosed.
Floreia’s collection for MAISON&OBJET PARIS embodies the brand’s commitment to sustainable fashion. Floreia brings its conscientious slant to the fore with a series of casual jewelry and bags that are handcrafted using Floreia’s award-winning, patented materials—Nucast®, which is made from recycled paper products, and Naturecast®, made of agro-forest debris.
MegaBijoux completes Cebu’s stellar contingent. Its expertise in metal-plating and resin lamination will be fully exploited in a special collection that express MegaBijoux’s flamboyant—and playful—design philosophy.
Just a short drive from the country’s capital, Bulacan is a province renowned for its more than five centuries-old jewelry industry. Two brands harness the Bulacan’s jewelry-making skills to create contemporary styles. Lush metalwork defines Ann Ong’s design identity—a reinvention of the maximalist concept, tamed and polished for modern times. Ong says that she will be showing her signature pieces which make use of bamboo and salvaged wood, lavished with intricate handmade detailing.
Kit Silver is based in Meycuayan City, which is also in Bulacan. The brand exploits the Meycuayan artisans’ mastery of the filigree craft–skills passed on by the Spaniards during its colonial rule–for its initial presentation at the fair. A series of evening bags and jewelry accompany Kit Silver’s centerpiece for the exhibition—a bold reimagination of Philippine-Hispanic accessory, the balabal, or shawl, rendered in metal brass.
Three Manila-based brands capture the vibrant spirit of a fast-growing metropolis. Beatriz sets the agenda with bold colors and geometric patterns. For the brand’s casual line, texture and angled forms are created with fine yarns painstakingly attached to the pieces’ skins. The brand’s evening collection continues with the angular concept, this time expressed using metal with the surfaces lightly hand-polished and buffed to add a hint of understated glamour.
Jennifer Lo takes cues from her grandfather, using his favorite material, rattan for a collection of fashion accessories. Lo infuses drama with a broody palette of neutrals, black and gold accented with abaca, gold macramé and stones.
Michelline Syjuco brings a daring edge to the exhibition with a style philosophy that has captivated mavens who have sported the brand’s funky skulls, daring cuffs embellished with macabre creatures and other intriguing forms. The brand borrows from Goth elements which are lavishly enhanced with baroque treatments.
10 brands are set to regale the MAISON&OBJET PARIS 2016’s audience with spirited expressions of contemporary Philippine style. CITEM, through Fashion Philippines, invite visitors to examine and explore a new expression of national identity and the generation’s design sensibilities.
With the virtuoso workers’ indigenous knowledge on the different craft skills and commitment to traditions and the designers’ new interpretations to these artisanal crafts, MAISON&OBJET PARIS will be the focal point to experience Fashion Philippines’ Reimagined Traditions.
See you at Hall 7, Scène d’ Intérieur, Stand F 198 – G 197.