Proving that they too could look good in traditional Filipino attires, foreign ambassadors and their spouses took the runway wearing Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana. Picture Italian Ambassador looking nothing but dashing in a cream barong and his spouse Madame Agnes exuding grace and confidence in a red, mermaid cut Filipiniana dress.
The couple is just one of the many who joined the Global Fashion Flair 2, a rare—and fashionable—display of unity among dignitaries of the diplomatic community
Held on May 5 at the New World Makati Hotel, the fashion show for a cause was organized by the International Bazaar Foundation (IBF) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM). It is only the second edition that successfully raised funds for the rehabilitation of houses devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, Leyte, and Typhoon Ruby in Eastern Samar.
Present to welcome guests were no less than Madame Gretchen del Rosario, wife of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and IBF chairman, alongside event chairman Fortune Ledesma, who is also the Consul General of Monaco.
“We Filipinos are very fond of fiestas. Tonight, expect a colorful festival of fashion!” enthused Ledesma in her opening remarks.
With that, the ambassadors of Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Bangladesh, Mexico, Norway, Austria, Panama, Australia, Israel, Canada, Pakistan, Timor Leste, Vietnam and India took to the runway in a collection of laid-back clothes.
The ensembles— which included colorful polo shirts and cotton jackets paired with either denim shorts or khaki jeans—were a far cry from what the heads of mission are usually seen wearing of course. The honorable gentlemen proved they are just as fashionable outside the office, and gave the public a glimpse of their style perhaps for a Sunday brunch or a day at the golf course.
A great surprise followed next as the Consul General of Austria, 93-year-old Washington Sycip, emerged on the catwalk fashioning a printed, red polo shirt and blue slacks topped with a monochrome jacket. Very early in the runway production, Sycip was certainly a show stopper drawing loud cheers from the crowd, as he blew kisses of appreciation to them throughout his solo spot.
After the men’s opening number, the spouses and female ambassadors of Netherlands and Turkey took to the spotlight looking very elegant in their cocktail dresses. Leading the segment were Ledesma, Madame Sille Svenkerud Forner of Norway, and Madame Agnes Roscigno of Italy, who also serves as SHOM’s lovely and hardworking president. They modeled a suite of black and blue dresses.
A glittery spectacle came up next with the Chilean, Norwegian, Spanish and European Union spouses modelling sequined and appliquéd numbers.
For the third suite, the ambassadors returned to the runway looking dashing in the Philippines’ Barong Tagalog, which were given a touch of modernity embroideries in hip colors like blue and orange.
The evening’s highlight finally came in a whirl of evening gowns modeled by the ambassador’s spouses who each displayed their personal styles.
Madame Fehmina Mona Safdar of Pakistan advocated Muslim fashion with a long-sleeved red dress with a piña cover-up dotted with floral embroidery. Meanwhile the spouses of the Indian and Turkish ambassadors went for the Maria Clara look in their two-piece baro’t saya.
The female showstoppers were clearly Ledesma and Roscigno who wore classic Filipiniana dresses in blue and red respectively. Looking every bit regal, they stood out in their intricate appliquéd mermaid-cut gowns.
Last but not the least on the runway was Madame del Rosario who also modeled a beaded green piña dress. For the grand finale, she was joined on stage by Madames Ledesma and Roscigno, SM Investments Corp. vice chairman Tessie Sy-Coson, the Foreign Affairs secretary, and New World Makati Hotel Farid Schoucair for a well applauded bow and a job well done.
The SM Store and Kultura sponsored the clothes for Global Fashion Flair 2.