Lesley Mobo Presents A Sartorial Fiesta With His Terno Collection

Lesley Mobo Presents A Sartorial Fiesta With His Terno Collection


In this MEGA exclusive, Lesley Mobo’s terno collection acknowledges our Latin influences, from Spanish roots to contemporary chic at Bench’s Paskong TernoCon show 

From its roots in the Spanish era to its contemporary setting, the terno boldly embraces change, becoming a chameleon that mirrors the shifts in societal norms and aesthetics. With its butterfly sleeves spreading like the wings of cultural change, this iconic Filipino garment transforms as vibrant as Philippine history itself. At SM Aura, Bench and Paskong TernoCon unite this year to celebrate Filipino heritage and modernity in a vibrant Christmas collaboration with Lesley Mobo. The designer breathes new life to the terno, crafting a style that reflects the rich diversity of Filipino culture. His unique approach to the iconic garment, once reserved for ceremonies, has shifted, making it a part of daily identity expression.

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Michelle Dee dons a black-and-white polka dot terno

The terno tangos

Mobo reveals the nuanced dynamic between form and function in his designs. It’s a collection that exudes the lively spirit of a fiesta, each piece carefully crafted to pay homage to the historical ties between Manila and Latin America, referencing Mantón de Manila. It accentuates the amalgamation of Filipino-Latin cultural threads. Under Mobo’s direction, the terno transforms into a cultural bridge, merging the constructs of history with contemporary aesthetics.

The extravagant headdress takes on the focal point of the ensemble
A green-and-violet combination takes on a contemporary approach with the traditional garment

The terno, he explains, embodies the unique identity of Filipinos—not quite wholly Asian, not entirely Latin, but a captivating mosaic of influences. “Maybe it’s because of religion and the colonization of Spain, somehow we kind of geographically belong to where the Spanish colonies sort of belong. So it’s the collection is more Latin-inspired,” he muses, unveiling the subtle Mexican undertones that find expression in the fold. It’s a riveting account that ventures the a dynamic drama of diverse elements, each playing a unique role in this cultural saga.

The ternos present a playful and diverse display of Philippine cultural identity

From ceremonial to cool

“The whole idea of working with TernoCon is making sure that they’re still appealing to a younger generation of Filipinos,” Mobo stresses, highlighting the dedication to redefine the terno not merely as a traditional symbol but as a dynamic expression of youthful vibrancy. “What I would like to see is for young Pinoys to be able to wear ternos everyday.” It’s a festivity of diversity, a unique twist on cultural identity.

The soft floral print terno is complemented by the baby blue gloves which gives it a distinct Mobo look

The designer reveals his foresight in aligning it with the sensibilities of the younger generation.”I’m trying to make it appealing to the younger generation,” he articulates, foreseeing not a radical revolution but a nuanced evolution. This transformation aims to elevate the terno beyond ceremonial attire, envisioning it as a regular wardrobe staple. He’s the auteur of a historical drama, staging each ensemble to narrate a compelling story that spans generations. In this collection, Mobo is a visionary director, carefully choosing the cast of fabrics and colors to bring forth the terno as lead, as it evolves from ceremonial attire to an essential.

Attraction gravitates

With the precision of a seasoned artisan, Mobo unveils the inner workings of his designs. “Hand draping is the most traditional way you can do it,” he says, conjuring images of skilled hands molding fabric like clay. In a contemporary landscape saturated with technological marvels, Mobo’s dedication to traditional craftsmanship serves as a poignant homage that materializes when fabric succumbs to the irresistible pull of gravity.

With the backdrop of a beach on the dress, the chicken adds a quirky touch to the overall ensemble

Mobo’s work is a physical manifestation of the interaction between talented hands and the natural force of gravity. It represents the connection between material and artisan. Mobo’s designs, which flawlessly integrate heritage and modernity, convey an intriguing history that moves past passing trends. The designer shines out as a craftsman effectively handling the fine line between the grip of gravity and the eternal attraction of classic beauty.

“We must not forget and ignore that celebrating our identity is so important.”

Lesley Mobo

Charting culture, preserving identity, going global

Mobo perceives TernoCon not solely as a conventional fashion event but as a triumphant celebration of cultural preservation. “Culture, tradition, heritage, it’s not really a frivolity,” he declares, underscoring the imperative to embrace and spotlight Filipino culture. In this expansive theater of identity, TernoCon assumes a prominent role, with influential entities like CCP, Bench, and SM playing the vital supporting cast. These private companies invest in and champion collective advocacy for diversity, fortifying the foundations of a cultural legacy.

The satin yellow ribbon adds a touch of luxe to the look
The burnt orange polka dot ensemble brings life to the bright pink floral headdress complemented with dark gloves

The designer also acknowledged the pivotal roles played by Ben Chan and the artistic director, Gino Gonzales, in propelling the vision of TernoCon onto a bigger platform. He conveyed, “It’s a start, and I hope that it will continue. I think a lot of exciting things are coming, and it’s good.” Mobo’s words imaged a sentiment of cautious optimism, emphasizing the significance of commencing this cultural journey with measured steps. “We have to start in little steps, every little thing helps, but we must not forget and ignore that celebrating our identity is so important,” he concluded, underscoring the fundamental importance of cherishing and embracing cultural identity.

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Latin influences abound in the colorful display of ternos by Lesley Mobo

In a world where cultural appreciation frequently surrenders to transient trends, Lesley Mobo’s visionary outlook underscores the paramount significance of commemorating one’s identity. With his Paskong Terno collection, Mobo reflects, reverberating with the anticipation of opportunities on the horizon through our multifaceted identity. It calls for the commencement of gradual steps toward a deeper and widespread cultural embrace on a global scale, like a gravitational pull, adorned with the unmistakable face of a Filipino.

Photography GRANT BABIA

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