by BOY VILLASANTA
Local fashion designers recently showed their creativity at a very unique Santacruzan.
The 29th Flores de Mayo at the Plaza Rajah Sulayman overflowed with artistry and ingenuity.
Some twenty members of the Quezon Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines initiated for the first time in Manila a display and parade of their sagalas and escorts in indigenous gowns, Barong Tagalog and other native outfits.
Organized by the Congregaccion Santissima de Nombre del Nino Jesus, a group led by veteran designer Ben Farrales, fashion designers from Quezon Province participated in a design contest of the most indigenous Santacruzan costume.
Lucena City-based Rhenee Caparros' creation used small-sized fans made from buri, a local variety of wild palm leaves, strung together to make a fantastic gown.
The intricately interwoven dried leaves were ordered all the way from Lopez, a town in Quezon, some 350 kilometers from Manila.
Caparros said he personally went to the handicraft center in Lopez to explain to the weavers the size, color and shape of the mini hand-made fans that he needed.
He said he had to hire a big van to transport the heavy and bulky creation to the city.
It took Caparros a month to assemble the native materials and finalize his creation.
The audience applauded when the woman wearing Caparros' gown walked down the runway, as it was quite hefty to bear. Her consort also had a touch of buri on his Barong Tagalog.
Emcees of the night Leo Martinez and Boots Anson Roa were amazed at how the provincial designers were able to cook up such creations.
"Pati pala sako ng asukal o arina, puwede nang gawing sosyal at maipagmamalaking Santacruzan na kasuotan," observed Boots.
Tender bamboo shoots and dried cogon grasses cut equally and diagonally were also patched in some of the sagalas’ gowns, as well as mats made from buri.
Rholand Roxas, another popular stylist in Lucena, employed a traditional fabric of finely knitted sinamay on his sagala and her escort.
According to one of the judges, society writer Rikki Jimenez, the attempt of the Quezon designers to come up with fresh ideas in fashion to dress up the sagalas will definitely add to the Filipinization of the tradition of Queen Helena’s search and discovery of the Holy Cross.