In the opening month for 2017, consciousness guru and best-selling author George Sison, now a Doctor of Divinity, honored his mother Priscilla Sison on her birthday by throwing an intimate gathering for the best-dressed women of the country.
Titled “Epitome: Dressing at its Best,” George’s list of best dress women of the year—which he began releasing in 2014—is his special way of honoring her late mother. This, of course, is because Priscilla Sison, more popularly known in society as Prissy Sison, was a fashion icon and had always been in the list of National Artist in Fashion Design Ramon Valera’s Best Dressed Women of the Philippines. Ultimately, she made it to the Hall of Fame together with Elvira Manahan, Chona Kasten, Imelda Cojuangco and Baby Fores.
These women according to George, epitomized dressing at its best. Moreover, if you will check what qualified them to become the National Artist’s best dressed, this is what Valera had to say, “They are meticulous in their clothes from cloth materials to the smallest stitch in the hemline; they all own originals from world-famous houses of fashion in Paris, Italy and the United States; each one is equipped with a bank account that could easily launch a thousand gowns a year; all are endowed with good looks and a trim figure; general grooming which includes hairstyle, shoes, bags and jewelry. These women knew how to choose their things to go with their dresses. Everything is just right in anything they wear. They do not have to be coached or advised by any couturier about what to wear and with what. They instinctively know what to pick out.”
Epitome 2014 included Karen Davila, Amparito Lhuillier, Tina Maristela Ocampo, Nanette Medved Po, Mandy dela Rama Santos, Kaye Tinga, Bea Valdes, Maricris Zobel.
The 2015 roster, meanwhile, included Beng Dee, Bianca Araneta-Elizalde, Heart Evangelista-Escudero, Zelda Kienle, Kai Lim, Marivic Vazquez, Mariquita Yeung and Kit Zobel.
In these two years, George simply announced the names of his choices and sent them each a Priscilla statuette and featured the awardees in his widely read column, “And so it is.”
However, this year, on the 30th anniversary of his mother’s transition, he gave an intimate cocktail party at the Fashion Interiors to celebrate the occasion. His guests ranged literally from A to Z — from Araneta to Zobel.
His awardees for Epitome 2016 are Gemma Cruz Araneta, Tina Jacinto, Criselda Lontok, Gina Lopez, Vicky Morales, Helen Ong, Michelle Tan and Crickette Tantoco. DENR Secretary Gina Lopez was unable to come but sent her representative Belle Maestro while Crickette Tantoco’s statuette was received by her daughter Nicole whose twin sister Camille has been the steady date of George’s nephew Sancho.
For that evening at Fashion Interiors, George asked Raul Sunico to play Broadway numbers which his mother loved and to recall Raul’s rehearsals at the Sison’s Forbes Park mansion whenever he could.
“Every rehearsal time was a concert for us,” says George. Raul Sunico’s Tita Conching was also Prissy’s Tita Conching but she always warned George, “Don’t you ever dare call me Lola.”
Johnny Litton was so impressed with the evening’s ambiance and activities and remarked, “This party has reawakened happy and forgotten times of Filipino society at its best.”
Paul and Gela Cornilessen, who have truly taken a liking to George, offered their entertainment area in their showroom at Pasong Tamo, Makati and gave him the authority to use their place anytime and for any event he may have in mind.
The whole evening was accompanied by violin music from Dick Saraza while Gemma kept on saying, “And I drank nothing but champagne.”
Amongst George’s guests are the so-difficult-to-invite Jun and Marilou Magsaysay; past awardees, Zelda Kienle and Kit Zobel; Manoling and Sandie Poblador; Rupert Jacinto proudly escorting his awardee wife Tina; King Reyno with daughter Daniela to bring support to wife Vicky Morales; Jesi Mendez who was one of Priscilla’s favorite stylists; Café Juanita’s Efren Vazquez; Fortune Ledesma; Jojo Zabarte; Yoli Ayson, Linda Ley; Chito and Anna Sobrepeña; Peter Jentes; Bal Endriga; Rene and Ann Puno, Charade Puno, Ito Curata, Bob Miller, Thelma San Juan; and Mario Katigbak who helped George set-up the event; George’s family, Louie and Patricia Sison with niece Camille and son Ditto Reyes, who George is setting up with a beauty queen. The family later happily and proudly posed beside their mother’s Fernando Amorsolo portrait which was easled and positioned by the grand piano.
I have never met anyone who honors his mother the way George does. It looks like he will be doing this, in his own words, “for the rest of his life.”