• Red carpet ready for the SONA

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    Sen. Grace Poe always goes for simple elegance as she did in her 2014 SONA terno by Roulette Esmilla; this year, she has asked Paul Cabral to design her gown

    Sen. Grace Poe always goes for simple elegance as she did in her 2014 SONA terno by Roulette Esmilla; this year, she has asked Paul Cabral to design her gown

    And the truth about the ‘Hot Air’ balloon gown

    While political analysts are in the thick of forecasting, assuming, advocating and possibly insisting what may and should be in President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s final State of the Nation (SONA) address, those of us in the Lifestyle arena are also deep into our elbows with our own hopes and predictions for July 27: That the red carpet outside Batasang Pambansa may be as glamourous as glamorous can be for this annual and ceremonial report of the President to the Filipino people.

    And so, with just a little over a week left into preparing for the one time of the year that law makers and their better halves are allowed a “Who are you wearing” moment, amid an avalanche of flashes, The T-Zone has checked in with a carefully chosen few of sure bets for SONA Best Dressed.

    ***
    The perfect formula for dressing fashionably yet appropriately for the SONA is always “simple elegance.” After all, with Filipi-niana as the obligatory attire for both men and women, an equally obligatory amount of respect must be placed in interpreting our national costumes.

    Nevertheless, excitement, glamour and ingenuity can still unfold on the red carpet with the likes of Tootsie Echaus-Angara, wife of Sen. Sonny Angara. In the July 28, 2014 SONA, the fair and dignified beauty was definitely a standout in her Cordillera-themed gown by Rajo Laurel. In spotlighting the distinctive Igorot pattern, she not just wowed the fashion scene with her vibrant terno and its cropped butterfly sleeves, but she also effectively showed her appreciation for regional fashion.

    With her success in last year’s red carpet, Tootsie told The T-Zone she will happily don another Rajo Laurel creation come July 27.

    Heart Evangelista has asked Inno Sotto to design her first SONA outfit as Mrs. Chiz Escudero; she wore a Joey Samson ‘caged terno’ in 2014

    Heart Evangelista has asked Inno Sotto to design her first SONA outfit as Mrs. Chiz Escudero; she wore a Joey Samson ‘caged terno’ in 2014

    “Now palang I’m having it made! Hahaha!,” she said via text. “Rajo [Laurel] will use silk, tulle and lace. [The gown will have] a separate top and skirt, making it more practical so I can wear it again.”

    Another annual head turner on the SONA red carpet is the statuesque Cindy Lotuaco-Ejercito, wife of Sen. JV Ejercito. She has consistently made it to the Best Dressed SONA list even when her husband was still San Juan Representative. A practical lady, she has also been honest in saying whether she wore a “recycled” gown to the Batasan in the past, and if her mother-in-law Mayor Guia Gomez lent her the jewelry to go with it.

    But of course, the 2013 and 2014 SONAs were special to Cindy since she attended the President’s report as the wife of a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines. On both occasions, she chose the Ejercito-Estradas’ go-to designer, Paul Cabral, for her gowns, the first of which was an ultra-feminine and sophisticated pale peach saya, then a bolder show-stopping flaming red gown the following year.

    Gaining the nod of fashion critics both times, she told The T-Zone that she returned to Cabral’s atelier for three in a row.

    “It’s a Filipiniana ensemble in black with lace and beadwork,” Cindy said for a sneak peek.

    As for the multi-talented artist Heart Evangelista—the actress and painter—this will be her first year to officially attend the SONA as Mrs. Escu-dero. Nevertheless, she had added extra glitter to the Batasan red carpet for two consecutive years as Sen. Chiz Escudero’s girlfriend, each time choosing a non-color in ecru for her classic 2013 Ivar-luski Aseron classic terno, and a very avant garde immaculate white, Joey Samson trademark “caged” terno.

    Cindy Ejercito will again go with Paul Cabral in a black Filipiniana gown this year as a follow up to his show-stopping red terno in 2014

    Cindy Ejercito will again go with Paul Cabral in a black Filipiniana gown this year as a follow up to his show-stopping red terno in 2014

    This year, Heart told the T-Zone she has asked Inno Sotto to design her SONA gown, and sweetly declined to reveal any details about it. “Surprise!” she chimed.

    And to be sure, much as many pairs of eyes will be glued on three of the senatorial spouses we just checked in with above, all eyes will definitely be on the woman of the hour too: Sen. Grace Poe. Will she be delivering the next SONA? Whether she will or she won’t, what’s certain is that she will come to this one, as she always has, in the most dignified of Filipiniana gowns. In 2014, she came in an off-white terno by an upcoming designer named Roulette Esmilla that just had the simplest of accents in slim muted gold belt and intricate lace bodice.

    Busy as ever—what with every political camp eager to gain her attention. All Sen. Grace was able to inform the T-Zone was that she may wear a Paul Cabral creation on July 27.

    ***
    Along with our hopes and predictions for the SONA red carpet also comes our deepest wonder: What will Sen. Nancy Binay look like for the SONA this year?

    It will be remembered, of course, how long after the Filipino people had forgotten what PNoy said in his report, the image of Sen. Nancy dressed in what looked like a blue and yellow hot air balloon lingered more than it probably should have in their minds.

    Going viral in social networking sites, everything from Sen. Nancy “flying” high up in the clouds, or Photoshop-ed like Princess Fiona of Shrek were posted and reposted to infinity on the World Wide Web.

    Tootsie Angara will wear a Rajo Laurel for this year’s SONA just as she did in this uniquely stunning Cordillera-themed terno in 2014

    Tootsie Angara will wear a Rajo Laurel for this year’s SONA just as she did in this uniquely stunning Cordillera-themed terno in 2014

    Asked today about the whole fashion faux pas, Sen. Nancy admitted that the truth about the hot air balloon gown was that she simply wore it wrong.

    “May tali dapat yon sa skirt na hindi ko nahatak. Dapat mas maikli yung harapan,” she said of the Randy Ortiz creation.

    Good-naturedly she poked fun at herself and added, “Nagpapasalamat nga ako tinanggap pa rin ako ni Randy [this year]! Siya yata ang na-trauma.”

    Revealing the top designer’s condition for designing her SONA 2015 outifit, Sen. Nancy shared, “Pero sabi niya kailangan may mga friends ka na na kasama sa fitting. May committee na!”

    On a roll bringing on the laughs at a luncheon this week, the daughter of embattled Vice President Jejomar Binay seems to be immune to the incessant bashing she receives on the Net.

    “Minsan nga ako pang nata-tawa,” she added. “Nagpapa-salamat nga ako sa bashers ko kasi dahil sa kanila nanalo ako [as a senator]. Ganoon nalang iniisip ko at hindi naman ako nasasaktan.”

    She also said the same of how her family is taking all the issues her father has to deal with these days, as well as the temporary suspension of her brother Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.

    Sen. Nancy Binay is grateful that Randy Ortiz agreed to design her SONA gown anew, even after the ‘Hot Air Balloon’ brouhaha of 2014

    Sen. Nancy Binay is grateful that Randy Ortiz agreed to design her SONA gown anew, even after the ‘Hot Air Balloon’ brouhaha of 2014

    “Wala akong natatandaan that I had to console them kasi yung dalawang yon, they’re very tough,” Sen. Nancy explained. “Unang-una alam namin yung katotohanan kaya bakit namin yon didibdibin. And when we go out, may disconnect nga kasi ibang klase yung suporta ng tao sa amin kahit na ano pang ginagawa ng kalaban sa amin.”

    Instead, the lady senator said their family just wants to focus on finding more and more ways to help the public. Well, that, and for Sen. Nancy, to take on the challenge of fellow Sen. Bongbong Marcos.

    “Sabi kasi ni Sen. Bongbong kailangan daw mas pag-usapan pa yung gown ko sa SONA this year kesa sa gown ko last year. So sabi ko, yung SONA outfit ko, gagawin kong ka-level ng SONA speech ni PNoy!”

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