From director Isabel Sandoval to collage artist Jessica Dorizac, these Filipina creatives flaunt their artistry through fashion.
The love affair between art and fashion is undeniable. Fashion designers are either inspired by art—Yves Saint Laurent‘s renowned 1965 shift dress was inspired by Dutch abstract impressionist Piet Mondrian’s “Fashion”—or the artists themselves—Phoebe Philo referenced photographer Lee Miller‘s boots for her 2014 Céline runway show.
Artists have great flair and their sartorial choices have been one to watch. Take Niki de Saint Phalle, a friend of Dior’s creative director Marc Bohan known for her high-waisted black suit with a white ruffled collar, and Yayoi Kusama’s trademark avant-garde polka-dot dress in a striking red—artists take pride in creating their personal look, an homage to their individuality. In the Philippines, women artists have also crafted their unique thumbprints in art and in fashion—some even landing them deals with major fashion houses. Here, we’ve compiled a list of Filipina artists with enviable style. Come for their art, stay for their fashion.
When director and actor Isabel Sandoval isn’t working with Andrew Garfield on the set of Under The Banner of Heaven, she’s busy being a style icon. Sandoval made history as the first trans woman of color to direct and star in the film screening of Lingua Franca (2019), but is perhaps most known for her short film Shangri-La, which premiered at the Sala Perla in the 2021 Venice Film Festival. But the Filipino-American filmmaker who focuses on multidimensional trans narratives via sensual dramas with socio-political statements is also known for her style and was even commissioned by Miu Miu. With an assortment of Miu Miu ensembles composed of white pantsuits, a floral dress with an oversized collar, and a juxtaposed pink bralette paired with a Parisian polka dot skirt, Sandoval’s style is skewed towards soigné sensuality. A celebrated artist, she embraces classic pieces and puts her own personal spin on outfits whether she’s in a denim pantsuit or a sheer black Marchesa dress with lace details.
Primarily using analogue printmaking techniques, wool, oil paint, and Perspex, Filipino artist Nicole Coson creates monoprints with semi-abstract figures that often look otherworldly. The London-based artist’s works are deeply personal with anthropomorphic abstractions and motifs that reflect her experiences and notions about identity.
Coson’s monoprint aesthetic translates from the canvas to her wardrobe too. With a roster of minimalist and monochrome pieces including a grey two-piece suit, oversized bombers, and a selection of iconic Carl Jan Cruz pieces, Coson is one to watch for an essential minimalist wardrobe.
Bright and optimistic collages and cut-outs are the centerpieces of Dorizac’s body of work. Her many-layered geometric paper pieces that are inspired by architectural patterns are dynamic—much like her nonconformist style. Think: Issey Miyake meets Rei Kawakubo. Equal parts grunge and modernist, loose silhouettes and draping make Dorizac’s flair distinctly unique.
“Fashion is an extension of my personal interest in the power and play of texture, color, form and pattern in textiles. The reason I have the sensibility and sensitivity in my own style is due almost completely to my husband, Miguel Aquilizan. His passion and insight into the craft and creation of fashion, continues to give me an education and in teaching another way to express oneself through garments and accessories, has brought utter joy and excitement into our lives,” Jessica Dorizac tells Vogue.
Filipino-Canadian artist Stephanie Comilang creates experimental, documentary-based works that contemplate dissolution, migration, mobility and labour. With statement jewelry and sleek monochrome choices which include a variety of intricate jewelry and vintage-inflected black leather trenchcoats, Comilang’s style is achingly curated.
Filipino-German Marita Ganse creates quilts with intricate geometric compositions—color-blocked soft sculptures with various handsewn textures. With a focus on the interplay of color and form, each quilt tells a story. A muse for local designer like Rajo Laurel and Jojie Lloren, and a model for slow fashion brands like Eairth and cool-kid brand JOS Mundo, Ganse is familiar with the fashion scene. One-hued wonders like an all-white, all-navy, and all-black fit make up the majority of Ganse’s wardrobe.