Filipino Artistry and Tradition at Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo S/S 2024

Filipino Artistry and Tradition at Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo S/S 2024


In a fusion of Filipino heritage and contemporary design, Bench Ternocon 3 designers Dennis Lustico, Chito Vijandre, Ricky Toledo, and Joey Samson unveiled their terno and barong collections at Rakuten Fashion Week

Presented under the banner of “Bench Presents Ternocon,” the stage was set ablaze at Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo S/S 2024 as designers Dennis Lustico, Chito Vijandre, Ricky Toledo, and Joey Samson presented their works. The Japan capital witnessed a remarkable convergence of fashion and culture on August 30 as each designer’s unique vision transformed the runway into a canvas of Filipino artistry.

RELATED: Ternocon 3 Takes Center Stage at Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo

bench ternocon

Where magic meets mayhem

Behind the curtains, mindful creations were playing out—one of creativity, chaos, and raw craftsmanship. Backstage, each designer and their dedicated teams toiled relentlessly, cutting, sewing, embellishing, and beading, adding those final strokes of artistry to their designs.

It was a controlled chaos, a beautiful mayhem of unfinished creativity, with each designer’s vision taking form and shape in real-time. The frantic pace, the hum of sewing machines, and the intricate handwork were all part of the symphony of creation. The backstage area was a bustling hive of activity, where dreams and ideas were transformed into mesmerizing fashions.

To those privileged enough to witness this behind-the-scenes frenzy, it was an awe-inspiring experience as this was where the real magic happened. The runway, with all its poise and elegance, was merely the calm before the storm of creativity that unfolded backstage. It was a testament to the passion, dedication, and sheer hard work that goes into bringing these stunning collections to life.

A natural collective: Dennis Lustico’s Ternos

Dennis Lustico’s creations took the spotlight, offering the audience a visual symphony inspired by the natural world. His designs featured motifs drawn from his travels across various Philippine provinces, notably a captivating cluster of coconut trees. The collection seamlessly blended modern aesthetics with traditional elements, breathing new life into the balintawak, the rustic counterpart to the iconic terno.

bench ternocon

Lustico’s innovation extended beyond the terno as he introduced barongs for women that elegantly incorporated the pañuelo or fichu. The presentation was elevated further by the inclusion of exquisite jewelry pieces by Arnel Papa and Adante Layesa, adding a touch of sophistication to an already dazzling display.

Joey Samson’s ode to Jose Rizal: A thoughtful trubute

Following Lustico’s vibrant showcase was Joey Samson, whose collection paid homage to the work of the Philippine National Hero, Jose Rizal. Samson’s creations deftly melded elements from traditional menswear, including the barong, camisa, and Western suit, with iconic features from women’s clothing, such as pañuelo, alampay, tapis, and enaguas. The collection exuded a somber elegance, characterized by a muted palette of ecru, black, and white.

bench ternocon

Samson’s presentation was accompanied by a thoughtfully curated soundscape by Melvin Mojica, creating a multisensory experience for the audience. The collection was further accentuated by the use of antique jewelry pieces from Unang Panahon and exquisite escapularios by Bordados de Manila.

Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo: Celebrating maximalism

Closing the show, Chito Vijandre and Ricky Toledo celebrated maximalism, multiculturalism, kitsch, and camp. The hall reverberated with Filipino pop music by Aegis, while models held onto microphones or lorgnettes, exuding an aura of playful extravagance. The use of bold colors, intricate embellishments, and unexpected combinations of fabrics and textures reflected the vivacity of Filipino culture.

bench ternocon

Their runway presentation was a whirlwind of colors, textures, and styles that paid homage to the exuberant spirit of Filipino culture. It was a mix of high fashion and pop culture, a juxtaposition of the opulent and the everyday, and a testament to their fearlessness.  It was a deliberate rejection of restraint, a refusal to conform to the conventional norms of fashion. Instead, it was an invitation to revel in the joy of self-expression, to embrace individuality, and to celebrate the uniqueness of each person’s style.

The “Bench Presents Ternocon” show at Rakuten Fashion Week Tokyo was a reaffirmation of the brand’s unwavering commitment to showcasing Philippine design and culture on a global stage. Through this remarkable presentation, Filipino identity found its place on the international fashion map, demonstrating that garments can be more than just fabric and threads; they can also be vessels for heritage and stories, resonating with audiences far beyond borders.

Photos: BENCH

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