All roads led to the unveiling of the title’s maiden issue.
The 29th of August was a night to remember as the maiden issue of Vogue Philippines was unveiled in spectacular fashion. Celebrities, creatives, and industry leaders came together at the Grand Ballroom of Shangri-la The Fort to celebrate the birth of the global title’s 28th international edition. This year marks the 130th anniversary of Vogue, a name with a long tradition of championing journalism and documenting culture through the lens of fashion. Vogue Philippines will serve as a medium for the country to forward its artists and preserve its crafts.
Dressed to the nines, guests came out in stunning renditions of the classic black and white theme. The likes of Rissa Mananquil-Trillo arrived in a creation by Rich Fortu with around 12,000 pearl beads while well-established designers Inno Sotto, Rajo Laurel, and Ivar Aseron mingled with contemporary creatives like Carl Jan Cruz and Jude Macasinag.
The doors opened at 7 PM to the grand ballroom, where guests took their seats at dinner. Vogue Philippines publisher Rhoda Campos-Aldanese took to the stage and started off the evening. “Prior to this launch, we were asked by almost everyone, ‘Who is actually on the cover?” she shares. “And we would instinctively say, per [MGLI President] Suki [Salvador], that the cover of Vogue is the Philippines. Because this was truly an homage to our mother country and the family, who we hold dearly in our hearts.”
Following Campos-Aldanese was Markus Grindel, the Managing Director of Global Brand Licensing at Condé Nast, who spoke about the birth of the vision for a Filipino Vogue. He recounted that finding Mega Global Licensing was the key to manifesting the magazine. “It was indeed clear that there was a person that shared our vision, that there was a company that shared our vision and that spoke the same language, had the same ambition,” he says. “Amy [Mangino, Director of Media Licensing] and I felt very sure that there is a possibility of the dream of Vogue Philippines.”
Every aspect of the party, which was directed by Robby Carmona and SAGA Events alongside Vogue Philippines editor-in-chief Bea Valdes, celebrated Filipino identity. Linens, placemats, and tablecloths were heirloom piña fabrics while the centerpieces were meticulously crafted by stylist Nikki Chato and featured local flora. The four-course meal, a contemporary take on Filipino staples, was by award-winning Chef Margarita Forés and Chef Carlo Huerta of Shangri-la The Fort.
As dinner was served, a quartet from the Manila Symphony Orchestra serenaded guests before giving way to Valdes.
“An adventure is the only way I can honestly describe the crafting of a maiden issue,” she says. “As our team charted out a course to explore the Philippines’ fashion identity, we yielded ourselves toward our value in nature—to be connected, not separated, by seas and horizons.”
After her speech concluded, the lights dimmed and dancers stepped out holding lanterns. They made their way through the crowd and ushered guests into an exhibit designed by scenographer Gino Gonzales, who was inspired by the pages of the historic issue and sought to bring them to life.
Led by the dancers, attendees of the Vogue Philippines Gala made their way past the intricate paper backdrop designed by Wataru Studios. At the turn, they found themselves at a bridge, lit up by floor-to-ceiling images projected onto sheer mesh panels. A gentle rhythm of a brass kulintang accompanied the viewers who stepped into a fashion’s new frontier.
As the delicate percussion faded, a video of a golden Chloe Magno sprung to life. Here she is on a small banca zipping on the water, dancing in a dress by Dries Van Noten, and laughing with a group of children. Then it too faded away and revealed the dawn-colored cover of Vogue Philippines’ maiden issue.