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15 years and a P20-million bra

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ANTHONY RAMIREZ has been designing for celebrities for 15 years. Among his favorite clients are LGBTQ+ TV host Vice Ganda, actresses Nadine Lustre and Kathryn Bernardo, and beauty queen Celeste Cortesi, he said during a group interview after his Oct. 18 show. For that show, he tapped into a current fantasy: the 1990s-era socialite.

Mr. Ramirez is riding on the Gen Z wave of ‘90s nostalgia as well as old money style, which explains the sleek bobs most of the models sported on the runway. For the clothes, he used a color palette of pastels and neutrals.

The show opened with a glittering bikini top with pants, and a shawl wrapped around a bag, which the designer said he is getting into (he also said that the shoes for the show were his design, and that he’s definitely thinking about going into that field).

The ’90s had a touch of nostalgia for Old Hollywood glam if we’re judging from red carpet looks from that era, so that reference was not lost in a white sheath dress accompanied by a trailing wrap. The designer used velour and velvet, also a ’90s staple, seen on suits and coats on both men and women.

A male model went down the runway in a bronze jumpsuit with tuxedo lapels, its silhouette reflecting loose and easy styles. Another bronze dress felt like one seen in a Marilyn Monroe movie, and more dresses followed ‘90s red carpet styles (a lavender dress reminded one of a dress worn by Uma Thurman). A sky blue number on a woman featured another ‘90s detail, corsetry details (thanks, Madonna). More outfits with these hints were seen on the runway. With fuchsia suits and romantic dresses paired with bare midriffs, it seemed like a ’90s magazine spread come to life.

Still, we saw local details like a capiz (windowpane oyster) body chain and a capiz skirt.

The designer did remark that he was moving on to more elegant directions. We pointed out how some of the outfits could be quite revealing, but Mr. Ramirez said, “That’s the most controlled hubadera (stripper). I can do more!” When his use of trails and trains were pointed out, the designer said: “We just want to add drama.”

We’re not ignoring the elephant in the room here: the P20-million bra. This was made in collaboration with jewelry brand Viera. “I designed a bra, and I asked for the diamonds,” the designer said.

The bra was worn by a model under a white silk shirt and a black ballgown-length skirt. Upon closer inspection backstage, it was made of two small triangles studded with diamonds, joined by several diamond strips forming a network over the model’s bosom. Jo Ann Bitagcol, the Filipina supermodel of the 1990s, also walked the runway while wearing serious jewelry: her dress was held up by a long diamond chain, from the same brand.

The models finished the show while walking to The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”

This collection reflects many changes in direction for the designer: he recently moved his atelier from one part of Quezon City to Horseshoe Village, moving into a house built in the 1960s. There was a light drizzle on the day of the show, putting a damper on attempts to hold the show in the garden, designed to mimic the set from Meet Joe Black (which featured Claire Forlani as a 1990s socialite).  They eventually did hold the show outdoors, but this reporter stayed inside. Perhaps the little wrinkles of the day were telling of the designer’s method: “I create clothes based on my emotions for that day.” — Joseph L. Garcia

Neil Banzuelo




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