The Fashion In Vogue Philippines’ March 2024 Issue

Women Capturing Women: The Fashion In Vogue Philippines’ March 2024 Issue

MICH DULCE dress and headpiece, MELISSA FARAH shoes. Photographed by Allyssa Heuzé for the March 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

In a series of portraits shot through the lens of women photographers, Vogue Philippines celebrates the Filipina. Within the pages of its March 2024 issue, find the stories of Maria Ressa, Karen Davila, Nanette Medved-Po, and Nadine Lustre, framed by fashion that plays on contrasts.  

Maria Ressa is uncompromising in the way she dresses, shares Vogue Philippines fashion director Pam Quiñones. It’s a quality that she shares with many of today’s great thinkers, from fashion’s Pierpaolo Piccioli (black T-shirt, black pants, white sneakers) to CEO Ariana Huffington’s easy rotation of long-sleeved dresses. In her day-to-day, Maria leans toward slim-tailored trouser sets and a distinguishable pair of specs. But for her Vogue Philippines shoot lensed by Colin Dancel, Quiñones’s styling involved “a series of menswear looks that play on construction and deconstruction.” She says, “It was an honor for Vogue to be able to dress her in a slightly different direction.” 

The looks comprised Carl Jan Cruz’s Jan Shell Siksik jacket, densely quilted with white stitching on black piques, and RAFGLANG’s signature split suiting: a vest-coat hybrid that ends at the hips but juts out at the back, coattails extending down to the floor. It was a reworking of the traditional silhouettes that Maria typically leaned toward, but not in the form of disruption; rather, it was one of homage. 

CARL JAN CRUZ jacket. Photographed by Colin Dancel for the March 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

“An oversized unisex Carl Jan Cruz jacket felt so contemporary and Filipino,” Pam explains, “while the deconstructed suit by RAFGLANG was smart, surprising, and powerful—the very same qualities I admire about [Maria].” 

For her, dressing the Nobel laureate was “an experience.” She recounts how, in between outfit changes, they would share conversations on everything from the psychology of fashion to the origin of trends. It proved to be a fitting prelude to the conversations that Vogue Philippines’ March 2024 issue might spark, featuring fashion that picks apart convention and plays along a scheme of contrasts: evocative volumes versus columnar silhouettes, careful versus subversive tailoring, delicate tulle layers versus oil-slick-dark latex. 

However, in these pages, fashion is used not only to further the narrative of its ever-evolving landscape but also as a medium to tell the stories of the women featured. Through the lens of a female photographer, their images “capture and celebrate the grace and fortitude they exude in a male-dominated world,” Pam says. 

In the images featuring Maria and Karen Davila, “the fashion is expressed through timeless looks framed with interesting shapes and silhouettes that flatter and empower,” says Pam. “We wanted to introduce looks that sit outside their comfort zones but feel good in. For this shoot, it was all about the details.”

COMME DES GARÇONS dress, BALENCIAGA pumps. Photographed by Colin Dancel for the March 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

Like Maria, Karen has pieces in her wardrobe she frequently gravitates toward, one of which is a classic men’s button-down shirt. Pam chose one from Balenciaga for the shoot, pairing it with a voluminous accordion skirt by Joey Samson. “I adore the contrast of something so banal with something quite individual,” she says on the idea behind the look. These twists on the quotidian manifest in the March issue fashion’s silhouettes, and also in the featured design techniques. In another layout, Karen wears Maticevski, the namesake designer of which is “brilliant in construction,” shares Pam. “Toni Maticevski’s clothes are always feminine and sharply tailored. Karen moved with so much ease and confidence in this look, and it shows in the images.” 

The main look she wears is a satin dress from Comme des Garçons, which features a full-structured skirt and sheer overlay, which Pam notes as both “playful and clever.” She elaborates, “In a poetic way, this look felt very much like how I see Karen.” In all of Dancel’s portraits of the acclaimed broadcast journalist, a smile plays at the eyes. Perhaps it’s because, as she enters her new role as United Nations Women Philippines goodwill ambassador, she carries with her an informed optimism that women will continue to carry the path forward. 

OFF-WHITE dress. Photographed by Colin Dancel for the March 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

This is an idea that coincidentally permeated the story behind fashion featured in Nanette Medved-Po’s shoot, too. Introducing the March issue in her editor’s letter, Vogue Philippines editor-in-chief Bea Valdes tells the story of how Nanette would “serendipitously find an old Off-White dress, with ‘WOMAN’ embroidered at the shoulders,” she writes. “As photographer Colin Dancel’s images come through, Nanette takes a peek. She loves that it is an image of her back, and that you can’t quite see her whole face.” The image is telling. Nanette would respond to it, “It can be anybody. And everybody.” It can be any woman, or every woman, whose back can lead. 

The two dresses that Nanette wears in the images were pulled from her own wardrobe. Still, “both looks proved to be the perfect choice for us,” Vogue Philippines fashion assistant Neil de Guzman says, as the images would strike a neat balance between contemporary and classic. “The black sheer Off-White dress with shoe laces provided a perfect contrast to the timeless elegance of the classic white dress.”

It was an interplay of contrasting design elements that would even work its way into the March issue’s pages featuring Nadine Lustre. Shot in Paris amid the frenzy of last season’s fashion week, and in merely a window of three hours, Pam and Vogue Philippines producer Anz Hizon sought to capture another side of the musician and award-winning actress. “The meaningful conversations we had about her decision to live a more mindful lifestyle are reflected in her fashion choices, personal style, and inspiring frame of mind,” Pam recounts. “There was this sense of reflection and rediscovery of self that we wanted to capture—an evolving facet of Nadine beyond the physical and rooted in a renewed voice driven by purpose.” 

MICH DULCE dress and hat. Photographed by Allyssa Heuzé for the March 2024 Issue of Vogue Philippines

Captured by French-Filipino photographer Allyssa Heuzé, Nadine trotted along the edge of the Seine river, wearing pieces from Mich Dulce’s latest collection unveiled last year at Bench Fashion Week. “Nadine [wearing Dulce’s collection] delivers a poetic message of movement and progression, of maturity and evolution,” Pam expands. “Two formidable Filipino women coming together in a story that’s lensed by another Filipina is a celebration of the power of the divine feminine, something that’s front and center in our March issue.” 

Framed by willow trees, Mich’s delicate black tulle and crisp white layers flutter about Nadine. In other layouts, she wears latex, 3D-draped and tied to look almost like liquid. “Though seemingly simple, Mich’s collection highlighted her construction of garments that sit well on the waist, sculpted as if corseted and boned.” 

With looks that go from airy to sleek, “the many contradictions of her collection provided the right amount of push and pull that would draw you in even more,” Pam explains. “There’s provocation, and then there’s modesty.” 

In the making of these pages for the March issue, there was always that same dynamic: of push and pull, of uniformity and the unconventional, of contemporary and classic, of supersized and sleek. Before the lens of women photographers Colin and Allyssa, Maria, Karen, Nanette, and Nadine came with no airs and graces and, thus, were captured wholly, in all their complexities and in all their individuality. 

Vogue Philippines: March 2024 Issue

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