The young designer finds inspiration in the darkness to create a nuanced collection full of texture and expert fabric manipulation
They say shadows are ominous. But Filipino designer Nina Amoncio (AKA ANTONINA) welcomes the darkness with open arms for her latest collection presented at the recently concluded Bench Fashion Week. Though the designer was not present to take a bow, her models marched down the runway as a group and stood still at different sections of the runway. Her collection is presented in full as a tableau so audiences can fully digest her distinct vision.
It’s easy to fall into the macabre if you’re finding inspiration in the dark. This isn’t the case for ANTONINA’s latest outing. Instead, she wanted to explore and manipulate the black in ways that haven’t been done before. Though her expert quilting and stitching take center stage in many of her pieces, there’s something oddly refreshing about wearing all-black thanks to the designer’s unique 90s goth vision.
“In this personal collection, I wish to express the dimension of shadows occupying spaces and escaping a source of light,” writes ANTONINA in her show notes. True enough, there is a sense of escapism—the idea of fantasy that her models and pieces are made for a totally different world and time period. The styling also emphasized this as models wore bandanas and sports performance shades.
Think The Matrix-meets-streetwear, or if you’ve watched Aeon Flux, this entire collection fits right in. But instead of the tight and sleek silhouette seen in these iconic 90s pop culture content, the designer puts emphasis on exaggerated silhouettes and oversized pieces. The blazers are boxy but made with a certain sheen, and there is also this shirt-turned-trench with its hem grazing the floor.
Sportif accents also aren’t new to ANTONINA. Her previous collection had quite an Olympic flair to it, but she went for a more distinct Y2K vibe this time around. Cue the wide-legged trousers and cargos in a nylon-like fabric that would fit right into your wardrobe seamlessly.
She also went for a mixed media approach, much like her debut collection for BFW a few seasons ago, through netted leather and knitted tops with metal rivets and rings. But the show of skin through these semi-skimpy pieces was styled together with baggy Bermudas or roomy pants to offset the nakedness.
That’s not to say ANTONINA didn’t find romance in the shadows, too. One look features frothy tulle sleeves paired with a vest and a midi skirt—a good breakaway piece that shows another side of the designer’s aesthetic. She also presented a halter dress done in patchwork fashion and featured soft and pillow-like poufs. The result is an alternative cotton candy frock that looks soft to wear and to the touch, too.
But the real highlight of the collection is the designer’s signature quilting or stitching technique. The statement jackets and sling bag of this collection feature such stitches, and it automatically adds a visceral sense of volume and weight to the pieces—almost armor-like actually. This play on size through fabric manipulation is turning into a trademark for the young designer, and we’re excited for what else she has in store.
Explore the full collection at anto-nina.com.
Words Maura Rodriguez
Photos Pao Godezano for ANTONINA
Art Macky Arquilla