The exhibit introduces the works of Salvacion Lim-Higgins to everyone
The Order of National Artists is perhaps one of the most prestigious recognitions given to Filipino talent who has played a huge role in the development of Philippine arts. From theatre, visual arts, design, literature, film and more, the recipients are celebrated, revered and remembered by all. Last June 10, the Malacañang Palace conferred eight new National Artists, one of them being Filipino couturier Salvacion Lim-Higgins.
Professionally known as Slim, Salvacion Lim-Higgins’ is often considered the “Mother of the Modern Terno” after her innovation and transformation of the Filipinana dress. Slim incorporated European techniques and construction into her creation of the terno, turning it into a world-class silhouette. For over four decades, Salvacion Lim-Higgins created a diverse body of work trademarked by her exquisite draping technique and form-flattering silhouettes. She went on to establish Slim’s Fashion And Arts School with her sister, Purificacion Lim. The school she established then housed notable names in the Philippine Fashion Industry, such as Oskar Peralta, Albert Andrada, Michael Cinco and more.
In honor of Salvacion Lim-Higgins’ enduring legacy and lasting impact on the Philippine fashion industry, Slim’s Fashion and Arts Design School put up an exhibit to showcase her key masterpieces. Located in the Upper Ground Level of SM Aura Premier, the exhibition narrates her long and distinguished career through a selection of blow-up photographs, reproduced pieces and archival dresses. Those who walk by can see her careful craftsmanship and elegant creations up close.
In an interview with Wonder, Salvacion Lim-Higgins’ son and Director of Slim’s Fashion and Arts School, Mark Lewis Higgins, explains the choice of location. Built from a supportive relationship with SM that allowed the display of previous graduation collections from the school, he also wanted to showcase the designer’s work in the mall. “Putting my mom’s dresses in a museum is great, but the people that come to the malls are everyday people,” he shares. “I really wanted everyday people to see her work.”
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One of the biggest manifestations of Salvacion Lim-Higgins’ enduring legacy is, of course, Slim’s Fashion and Arts School, where her knowledge and techniques get passed down to new generations of Filipino fashion designers. But Mark Lewis Higgins also hopes that designers and even the public remember Slim as “somebody already of her time and her generation that was doing work that was so beautiful but already looks so modern.” If Salvacion Lim-Higgins was capable of creating such timeless pieces, there exists an optimism that a new generation of designers can do so, too. He expounds, “She always used to tell me this and we teach this to the students, ‘One of the characteristics of being a good designer is knowing when to stop.’”
Salvacion Lim-Higgins remains a celebrated icon in the Philippine fashion industry, a pillar whose impact is immeasurable. Upon close inspection of each piece, it’s evident that her eye for timeless designs and thoughtful decisions for her creations can transcend eras and remain relevant even in the present.
For a short preview of the exhibit, check out Wonder’s reel right here:
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The exhibit, National Artist For Design: Salvacion Lim-Higgins ran from September 5 to 14, 2022 at the Upper Ground Level of SM Aura Premier.
Photos Slim’s Fashion and Arts School
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver