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The Best Designer Shows at Bench Fashion Week Summer 2024

The Best Designer Shows at Bench Fashion Week Summer 2024

This Bench Fashion Week’s crop of designers will keep you sartorially ready this summer

 

 

On March 8 to 10, 2024, Manila’s most stylish trendsetters and tastemakers gathered at the basement of BGC’s Bench Tower for the much-awaited biannual Bench Fashion Week. Since 2017, the retail giant has championed the country’s most exciting and talented designers, giving them an avenue to stage and show off their latest collections.

 

While Bench’s mall-staple retailers like Cotton On, La Vie en Rose, Human and Urban Revivo presented their ready-to-wear collections for the season, there was much buzz around what this season’s crop of designers had in store for Manila’s fashion crowd. Fashion, after all, is obsessed with the new—and when it comes to Filipino design talent, there’s nowhere to go but up.

 

Ahead, check out the best designer collections from Bench Fashion Week Summer 2024:

 

Jo Ann Bitagcol

 

When it comes to fashion, is there anything Jo Ann Bitagcol cannot do? The industry veteran made her start as one of the country's top models in the 2000s, pivoted to a much-lauded photography career, and is now venturing into fashion design. Her debut collection felt like her attempt to redefine what luxurious style is in her own terms: roomy, languid silhouettes rendered in rich jewel tones and vibrant prints. All in all, it felt like a distinctly luxe and downtown take on contemporary Filipiniana, and we can’t wait to see what she has in store next.

 

Kashieca by Rhett Eala

 

Local retailer Kashieca has taught young ladies and ladies-in-training how to embrace their femininity in the way they dress. And this collection, helmed by esteemed designer Rhett Eala, isn’t any different. Out paraded classic womenswear staples—full midi skirts and breezy knit blouses—all of which eschewed trends in favor of chic ladylike style with a playful edge. Adding a dash of girlish fun were whimsical touches like multicolored sequins and playful berets.

 

Gabbie Sarenas

 

For this bridal collection, Gabbie Sarenas decided to fully lean into the romance this season. Entitled “Tanan,” her take on romance is stripped bare and reminiscent of a Fernando Amorsolo painting—optimistic, dappled by sunshine and defined by a strong sense of Filipino-tinged nostalgia. Seeing this collection walk down the runway almost feels like seeing a photo of your grandmother as a blushing bride on her wedding day all those decades ago. There’s a very heirloom feel to it all: from the scalloped edges of the lace headscarves to the bright floral appliques like the ones you’d see on a vintage terno

 

nicolò

 

Young designer Nicolo Perez knows who the nicolò customer is by heart. He knows that Manila’s young trendsetters dress in comfortable, urban-ready pieces but like to punctuate it with certain items that explode with personality, whether through color or pattern. This collection delivers exactly that: a very utilitarian unisex uniform rendered in memorable eye-searing hues and cool design elements. Our favorites include the denim co-ord sets with the brand’s trademark squiggly pattern and the oh-so-cool sheer jackets.

 

LE NGOK

 

There’s a proper and effective way to show a conceptual fashion collection, and that’s exactly the feat LE NGOK is able to pull off here. Inspired by her own experiences with anxiety, designer Carla Zhang admits that she’s an artist first and a fashion designer second. And we see that theme of anxiety reverberating through every single piece: from the multiple rainbow-hued loops emblazoned on a jacket that feels like it could be tugged from all directions, a fringed hat that obscures the wearer’s vision, to a literal cage that trembles with every movement. LE NGOK shows us the proper way to do avant-garde correctly: emotional, evocative and effective.

 

Joey Samson

 

Considered by many as a maestro of tailoring, season-esteemed designer Joey Samson takes us into his secret garden. Sharply cut suits, day dresses and formalwear walk out seemingly straight out of a child’s storybook, marked of course by Samson’s signature deconstructed approach to tailoring. But then comes the blooms: a shock of flowers explode like an Elizabethan ruff around a menswear ensemble, and a playful cocktail dress is designed to look like a discarded bouquet of roses.

 

From classic everyday wear to more cutting-edge conceptual fare, Bench Fashion Week Summer 2024 proves that there are no limits when it comes to Filipino design creativity.

 

 

Words Jer Capacillo

Photos BENCH

Art Macky Arquilla

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