Twelve designers debuted their modern takes on the Balintawak.
Yssa Inumerable was just crowned the winner of the third-ever edition of TernoCon receiving the newly titled Pacita Longos award, for her interpretation of the Balintawak. Gabbie Sarenas was this year’s runner-up taking home the Pura Escurdia award, with Glady Rose Pantua receiving the Ramon Valera award for third place.
After months of preparation and workshop mentoring, the first TernoCon after several years away during the pandemic culminates today at the brand new Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez Black Box Theatre at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The terno has long been heralded as a hallmark of Filipino culture and heritage. The garment’s origins tell the story of our own history; our past as a Spanish colony, and influences from Victorian England, Japan, and Latin America. There’s perhaps no better example of how fashion has the ability to capture the zeitgeist of any given era.
Though it remains an important symbol of Filipino identity as our national dress, these days, the terno is most commonly associated with formal occasions. TernoCon, which was started by the CCP and Bench, aims to change that notion by reviving and reinventing the terno. The contest and convention brought together emerging artists from around the country.
For the first iteration of TernoCon since the pandemic, 12 finalists from all over the country were brought together with the task of reimagining the terno for the modern-day Filipino: from NCR, Yssa Inumerable from Parañaque, Geom Hernandez from Batangas, and Dee Javier from Manila; Luzon, Amor Albano from Ilocos Norte, Glyn Alley Magtibay from Oriental Mindoro, Bon Hansen Reyes from Rizal, and Gabbie Sarenas from Rizal; from the Visayas, Bree Esplanada from Cebu, Karl Nadales from Iloilo, Al Rey Rosano from Negros Oriental, and Marc Carcillar from Iloilo; lastly, from Mindanao, Glady Rose Pantua from Zamboanga.
Each of them was mentored by the likes of Inno Sotto, Denis Lustico, Chito Vijandre, Ricky Toledo, and Joey Samson. According to TernoCon artistic director Gino Gonzales, the aim of the event is to normalize the terno and to reimagine the traditional garment for the modern-day Filipino.
“I chose the Balintawak in particular because I thought that since we’re emerging from the Pandemic, it’s the most appropriate attire,” Gonzales tells Vogue Philippines. “It’s a less formal version of the terno and it also connects people to the countryside, which is what people are pining for these days. In a way, it’s also less ostentatious… It’s the right time for it.”
Guests arrived at the venue styled in their own best interpretations of the Filipiniana. Some chose casual silhouettes made with fabrics like cotton or linen or decided to go fancifully maximalist, while others stuck to traditional takes such as the traje de mestiza complete with tapiz and panuelo.
After a round of cocktails outdoors, guests were ushered into the venue to take their seats. The runway show was set up in two halves, with each designer presenting both of their looks one at a time.
After the 12, previous TernoCon winner Hannah Adrias presented her collection, followed by Dennis Lustico’s collection with guitarists live scoring his segment, and Vogue Philippines beauty editor Joyce Oreña closing the show. Joey Samson followed suit, with his models walking to the songs of the Philippine Madrigal singers. For the last collection, Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo kicked off their show in silence, with their first model walking out to punch in her favorite karaoke song on a jukebox. Three models took the stage microphone in hand to sing along to the tune, before walking off to welcome the rest.
Each of the winners were announced at the end in a shower of golden confetti, marking the next generation of designers to take on the heritage dress.