|Me and Corazon Reyes, this year's Grand Marshall.|
This past September, another group also called Friends Indeed USA held its own charity ball, and it came right in time for Fashion Week in New York City. The event, which took place at World Astor Manor, showed off the Philippines’ rich fabrics and collections of four Manila couturiers: Edgar Madamba, Richard Papa, Edgar San Diego and Tony Cajucom.
Guess who was asked to tread the ramp modeling their stunning creations?
Madamba, Papa and San Diego are all active officers and members of the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines. For the past decade or so, they have been traveling extensively as a team doing shows for the international and Filipino communities in key cities like New York, St. Louis, Syracuse, New Jersey, Maryland, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Glendale, San Diego, and London (England). Their next stop after this New York show: Hawaii.
Corazon Reyes was the chair of the September 15th grand ball for Friends Indeed USA, the highlight of which was a parade of exquisitely designed collections by these Manila-based fashion couturiers. A nursing professional, Reyes is also this year's Grand Marshal for the Philippine American Friendship Committee during Philippine Independence Day and Friendship Parade. The grand ball was a strictly black-tie by-invitation-only event, with bow for the gents and formal long gowns for the women.
As for the fashion show itself, the women wore colorful ternos. And we, the men, wore contemporary variations of the Barong Tagalog. The producers of the show even held a couple of rehearsals for those of us who signed up to be models.
The Barong is an embroidered formal shirt, very lightweight and worn untucked (similar to a coat or dress shirt), over an undershirt. In lowland Christian Filipino culture, it is a common formal attire especially in weddings.
The term "Barong Tagalog" literally means "a Tagalog dress" in the Tagalog language; the word "Tagalog" refers to the ethnic group's traditional homeland in central and southern Luzon, and not their language. The Barong was popularized as formal wear by President Ramón Magsaysay, who wore it to most private and state functions, including his own Presidential Inauguration.
I hope you enjoy the photo album from our affair with high fashion. --rg