Kaye Morales’ career as a young Filipino fashion designer has been filled with noteworthy achievements since the very beginning.
As her website www.kaye morales.com writes: “ . . . she won the best collection in her first ever fashion show at SoFA [School of Fashion and the Arts] featuring Octopodes Collection in 2010 to the trademark launch of street wear brand Schizo, and the international showcase of Debauchery Collection at Vancouver Fashion Week in 2013, and Centipede Collection at Los Angeles Style Fashion Week in 2014 . . .”
But to date, none of these could be more important than her latest accomplishment at the Spring/Summer 2016 edition of the Philippine Fashion Week, staged from November 27 to 29 at Chaos, City of Dreams Manila.
As the opening designer of the Philippines’ premier runway show, Morales came out of the “proverbial” closet along with her latest collection that fittingly blurred the lines of gender.
“There’s a message and a story behind my collection. It is all about acceptance of who I am. ‘Rebel’ is about revolution of self because I want to open myself and make the fashion industry a welcoming place to all types of gender as I come out as part of LGBT in this industry,” Morales told The Manila Times.
“Rebel” is a continuation of the designer’s androgynous aesthetic but nevertheless a wearable collection despite its playfulness and colors. It is indeed a far cry from her previous PhFW collection, “Katana,” which was wholly avant garde and made for exhibition.
But Morales was quick to clarify that it was not change that people saw on the runway for Rebel but a “come-back.”
She explained, “When I first started as a designer, I launched an RTW collection. And for my Spring/Summer 2016 collection, I wanted to get back to where I started and show my audience that I haven’t lost that other side of me. This is more of a comeback and I’m going to create more wearable clothes now.”
With this clear vision, the designer successfully tailored clothes with graphic prints in vibrant shades. Think camouflage, geometric patterns and paint blobs that come in shades of neon green, fuchsia, tangerine and electric blue—everything, a plethora to the human eyes.
The designer’s details were also pivotal to the overall vibe. Studs added a punch of punk to black ensembles, while colorful patchworks spelled cool despite layers of clothes.
Fabrics included neoprene, dark denim, and tulle for Rebel’s tailored yet wearable feel. Of course, Morales’ signature black leather could not be missed.
But what was really striking in the designer’s collection was the fact that many designs and silhouettes were unisex.
Yes, there were cropped tops and tulle skirts for females, but there were also manly items for them like lose black shirts printed with kissing girls, and paired with leather shorts. Unsurprisingly, similar pieces were worn by the male models themselves who looked fantastically feminine.
Masculinity was then redefined as men donned tulle fabrics sewn as long-sleeved jackets or sleeveless vests.
To solidify her message at the show, Morales invited special guests to wear her rebellious collection. Present were the local music scene’s fierce but stylish LGBT representatives, among them Marga on the Mic, Patty Tiu of Deuce Manila, Kat DJ, Alex Montemayor of Aspen Way, and Divine Smith.
DJ duo Ornusa Cadness and Sanya Smith—a.k.a. The Zombettes—closed the show with red and black dresses layered with tulle, featuring rock ‘n roll iconography done in sparkly studs.
Also at the show, Morales debuted her bag line inspired by her love for music. Seen were backpacks, clutches and shoulder bags made of vinyl and cassette tapes, among others.
And while the fashion industry continue to observe the dwindling number of designers and days of Philippine Fashion Week, Morales still believe that it is an effective venue where aspiring designers can shine—as indeed she has.
“Since I joined the Philippine Fashion Week, more clients are coming to my atelier in San Antonio Village, Makati and buying my pieces from my collection. Also, several fashion stylists are pulling out pieces from the atelier to feature me and my collection, or to have an artist wear my pieces on their shows. Basically, PhFW helped me grow my name and brand in the industry,” she concluded.