At The Intimate Audrey Exhibit, A Special Section Features Filipino Designers

At The Intimate Audrey Exhibit, A Special Section Features Filipino Designers

Photographed by Kim Santos

A special section in the exhibit is dedicated to her influence in Philippine fashion.

From Brussels to Amsterdam and now Manila, Intimate Audrey finally docks in Philippine shores, featuring the personal collection of Audrey Hepburn‘s family that reveals intimate stories about the legendary actress and humanitarian. An exceptional addition to the Manila exhibit is a section showcasing the works of Filipino fashion designers who have been inspired by Hepburn’s enduring legacy.

“I wanted to show Sean [Ferrer] and his family how Filipinos love fashion and how his mother [Audrey Hepburn], was an inspiration for a lot of our homegrown talent,” Carmina Sanchez Jacob–responsible for bringing the exhibit to Manila–said. “Filipinos were always constantly inspired by her, even through generations.”

Sanchez-Jacob notes how the 22 designs on display come from different eras. A Ramon Valera beaded dress and a tufted terno with floral beading on the skirt by Salvacion Lim-Higgins are both from the 50s and they seem to have been inspired by some of Hepburn’s most iconic looks. “Look at how timeless they are,” Sanchez-Jacob exclaimed, adding that what binds them together is the fact that her style, elegance and timelessness got picked up by some of the featured designers to be interpreted in their own way.

Dress by Salvacion Lim-Higgins. Photo by Carol RH Malasig
An Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress by Ramon Valera
Dress by Ramon Valera. Photo by Carol RH Malasig

“I think that’s super important to show because Filipinos love fashion and I want to give the Filipino audiences with something from FashX because our company is really dedicated to promoting Filipino fashion, working with different brands and different designers,” she said.

Len Cabili’s quilted, fine abaca number was influenced by a pink Givenchy ensemble Hepburn wore in Paris When it Sizzles (1964). The pink dress was later immortalized by photographer Bob Willoughby which would feature as the cover of his coffee table book containing his collection of the late Hollywood legend’s photographs. 

Cabili’s version was created specifically for the exhibit. “I had fine abaca that was being quilted and it came back just in time,” she said. For Cabili, Hepburn’s influence as a humanitarian runs deep. “What I really admire about her is how she lived her life with purpose and how she used her influence for other things, not just in the in the context of like her personal career.” 

An Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress by Len Cabili and Ivar Aseron
Dress by Len Cabili (left) and Ivar Aseron (right). Photo by Carol RH Malasig

JC Buendia’s contribution to the exhibit is a recreation of the gown he designed for Alyssa Gibbs’ wedding reception. The white, silk gazar and laser cut organdy strapless number shows similarities with Hepburn’s iconic gown in Sabrina (1954). Buendia, however, added a modern twist–using dots instead of flowers. “Back when I didn’t know what a fashion designer was, I [already] enjoyed watching her movies,” he shared with Vogue Philippines. “Most likely it was because of fashion. That’s why I was drawn to her.”

In 2021, Buendia posted on Instagram how one of his closest friends noted that he has Audrey-fied the terno. “Her style has immensely influenced my design aesthetic,” the designer admitted along with his Valentine’s Day ritual of rewatching Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). “I’ll watch it all over again and I’ll cry all over again,” he said as he smiled, recounting his favorite scene of Hepburn and George Peppard finding Cat.

An Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress by Jun Escario and JC Buendia
Dress by Jun Escario (left) and JC Buendia (right). Photo by Carol RH Malasig

Puey Quiñones’ creation was inspired by a YSL dress Hepburn wore in 1960. Using organza, he and his team created each florette by hand. “I think this was the dress that really represented my brand,” he said. “I really like volume and texture.” Quiñones also shares how Hepburn has motivated him and his fellow designers in one way or another and that Fridays with his partner are often reserved for black and white, classic movies that star the late actress.

An Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress by Rhett Eala and Puey Quiñones
Dress by Rhett Eala (left) and Puey Quiñones (right). Photo by Carol RH Malasig

Jojie Lloren, meanwhile, brought a dress from his archive. A dress he created for Ria Bolivar, which she wore to the 2014 Red Charity Gala. “She [Hepburn] is, of course, known for the Sabrina neckline. I wanted mine to be different so I raised the neckline,” he shared. The colorful dress featuring bold hues of red, blue, and green used silk dupioni, silk crepe, and chantung, was inspired by a plain black shift dress with a similar neckline. It was immortalized in a photo by Pierluigi Praturlon in Rome, 1958.

An Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress by Randy Ortiz and Jojie Lloren
Dress by Randy Ortiz (left) and Jojie Lloren (right). Photo by Carol RH Malasig

Other notable pieces include an elegant black dress from Dennis Lustico that drew inspiration from Hepburn’s iconic black and white outfit in My Fair Lady (1964). It features a modern version of an alampay, topped with a dainty white bow in the center. A silver, Auggie Cordero gown with similarities to the dress worn by Hepburn when she played Natalya Rostova in War and Peace (1956). A Tiffany-blue and black Cesar Gaupo dress clearly inspired by a classic Hepburn look where she wore a satin blue dress for the publicity photos of Two for the Road (1967).

An Audrey Hepburn-inspired dress by Dennis Lustico and Rajo Laurel
Dress by Dennis Lustico (left) and Rajo Laurel (right). Photo by Carol RH Malasig

Intimate Audrey is open to the public from 1 August to 29 October at S Maison. It’s not just for the people who have adored Audrey Hepburn throughout her lifetime but also those who have yet to discover her enduring influence.

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