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A reason to watch fashion shows again.

Just when industry insiders have become jaded with the same old template of local fashion weeks, here comes a pioneering sartorial affair that revolutionizes the way we see fashion.

This is the Manila Fashion Festival (MFF), now on its sophomore season and more competitive than its debut. Everything about MFF is different, new even. It is housed at The Eye in Green Sun Hotel, under new management by Art Personas, a fashion management company of contemporary artists, and with a new attack on the runway: Fashion designers are king, given full creative control over their own shows.

On paper, it seems to be the perfect platform for designers and a must-see event for fashion enthusiasts. But MFF delivers. Not only are new talents discovered season per season. Designers we have grown to love are seen through fresher eyes, too.

Since fashion is creative as it is a business, Art Personas CEO Ronnie Cruz claims that this new collaborative endeavor aims to bridge the gap between local designers and consumers. As soon as guests step out of the 360-degree surround venue, the pieces are officially for sale at the SOMA store in Green Sun.

The four-day show brought out sartorial powerhouses that packed a punch for their Fall-Winter 2015 showcase. Starting strong for Day 1 was Jot Losas palette-cleansing collection. Consider his show a pick-me-upper; tailored coats with a huge ribbon detail right in front spelled "easy does it."

There were bold A-line shapes, against which the light chiffon made for a wanted contrast.

Coming through with an unbridled, free-spirited set was Vania Romoff. The floor-sweeping ruffled dresses made for an easy mood, as relaxed as Sunday dressing in the spring.

Feminine lace in blush tones created a modern kind of romance.

Relaxed sensibilities seem like a forerunning trend, and Ziggy Savella hopped on, too, but through pajama fashion. It was grandpa/grandma dressing, but catapulted to now with luxe robes and bedtime prints that suddenly seemed like an idea worth trying for the season.

On the opposite side of the spectrum was a good old sporty remix. Charina Sartes cleverly curated mix of scuba-inspired designs in sexy, sleek separates was a showstopper. Theres something about mesh-be it in a bomber jacket or a cover-up-and daring cuts that are empowering when worn.

Old-school prep it was, on the other, for Chris Diaz, as the charm of the classic preppy was reinterpreted in the now and made timeless.

Jumbo scarves, vintage embellishments and varsity stripe belts were the details of comfortable shapes that looked chicly lived in.

Finally, Cheetah Riveras prim silhouettes were easy favorites. The embroidered birds on baby-doll dresses and evening wear were a great reimagination of "the great migration" that fueled our flights of fancy-a fantasy brought by clothes we miss.

The MFF breathed new life into local fashion. To the designers, its like second wind. To spectators, its plain and simple-theres reason to come see the shows again. It has always been about the clothes, as it should be.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Mar 27, 2015
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