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Toronto runway show dazzles with indigenous PH fibers

Jewel tones for an evening gown; among the clothes designed by Renee Salud at Philippine Tapestry 2017 in Toronto. INQUIRER/Marisa Roque

TORONTO, Ontario — BAM!  POW! Vavavooom!  Maria Clara, this is no longer about Sisa’s baro’t saya.

Guests to Philippine Tapestry 2017 on the evening of August 24 were bedazzled by the gemstone colors and intricate patterns of cloth woven by Philippine indigenous tribes–transformed into stunning haute couture by world renowned designer Renee Salud, dubbed the “Philippine Ambassador of fashion.”

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The two-hour runway gala, staged at the iconic Arcadian Room of the Hudson’s Bay flagship building at 401 Bay Street in Toronto, mesmerized the audience made up of some members of the federal and provincial governments, diplomatic corps, corporate sponsors, media practitioners, volunteers from the Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDC), and guests.

Revisiting the barong Tagalog. iNQUIRER/Marisa Roque

The show served as the opening salvo in a three-day series of events under PIDC’s Mabuhay Festival umbrella.  The goal of Philippine Tapestry 2017 is to showcase the colorful and exotic weaves from the various regions of the Philippines–from the Igorot fabrics of the Cordillera, abaca from Bicol, pineapple fiber from the Visayas and t’nalak, inaul, yakan, Mindanao silk, and pis syabit from Mindanao.

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Dresses inspired by Bicol’s delicate embroidery on abaca. INQUIRER/Marisa Roque

Philippine Tapestry 2017 toured the key Canadian cities of Vancouver (August 20): Toronto (August 24 and 26); Montreal (August 29); and Calgary (September 1).

Renee Salud maintains his “strong sense of pride for fabrics that are specific to the indigenous Filipino tradition…(to) produce intricate creations representing a fashion statement on the exotic and regional influences of indigenous groups.”  He continues: “Throughout my career, I have been championing the development and promotion of the Filipino fashion industry for the purpose of reaching the global market.”

Evening wear inspired by Maranao malong. iNQUIRER/Marisa Roque

Philippine Tapestry 2017 also wowed the crowd on Saturday, August 26, when the show was presented in Nathan Phillips Square’s open air stage.   There is nothing timid or hesitant in the well choreographed show:  the models, both the ones who travel with the production to various venues worldwide and local talents recruited from Toronto–proved just how world-class Philippine talent and materials can be.

The creations of Filipino fashion designers Luciano “Shannon” Pamaong and Renee Salud took the audience’s breath away, aided by Filipino dance troupes Sindaw Philippines Performing Arts Guild, Siningtala Dance Company and Gruppo Tribale, a trio of musicians who provided the exotic sounds and rhythms of drums and gongs throughout the show.

Cocktail dress with the colors of the Kalinga sunset. iNQUIRER/Marisa Roque

Originally, “Philippine Tapestry had its first run in London and was an auxiliary event at the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines last January.   It has been shown in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, and Germany,” said Karen Pascual-Binaday, PIDC executive vice president and artistic director for the Mabuhay Festival.

“Agnes Miranda, a recipient of Royal Bank of Canada’s top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award, is the producer of the show,” added Binaday.  “She also happens to be the sister of PIDC president Norma Carpio.”

Models at the finale. iNQUIRER/Marisa Roque

Philippine Secretary of Tourism Wanda Teo led a delegation of tourism officials to Toronto to promote the Philippines and Philippine Tapestry 2017, focusing on the colorful and intricate cloth fashioned by indigenous weavers and transformed to high fashion worthy of the world stage by talented Filipino fashion designers.

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Secretary Teo pledged her commitment to “promote nontraditional and underdeveloped tourist destinations in the Philippines to support countryside development, capacity building, and sustainable development.”

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TAGS: abaca from Bicol, Filipino fashion designers Luciano "Shannon" Pamaong and Renee Salud, Igorot fabrics of the Cordillera, inaul, Mindanao silk, Philippine fashion designs, Philippine Independence Day Council (PIDC), Philippine indigenous fabrics, Philippine Tapestry 2017, Philippine tourism promotion, PIDC's Mabuhay Festival, pineapple fiber from the Visayas, pis syabit from Mindanao, runway show, t'nalak, Yakan
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