THE SPOUSES OF the Heads of Mission (SHOM) Manila recently held their fifth annual fundraising dubbed ?Along the Catwalk.?
The event at Edsa Shangri-La Isla ballroom was a five-part fashion show of limited-edition barongs, jewelry and the latest collections of two designers.
Models from the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP) wore clothes by young designers Frankie de Leon and Lizanne Cua.
De Leon, described as a ?great favorite? among the wives of diplomats, was applauded for his elaborate shift dresses, pantsuits and gowns decorated with floral corsages and sequins.
Cua opted for a more minimalist approach with dresses in bold colors.
Stunning accessories by Janina Dizon Hoschka (of Jul Dizon jewelry) and South Sea pearl jewelry from Jewelmer were also displayed.
In between collections, Sherwin Sozon, John Glen ?Juan Alberto? Gaerlan and Jack Salud from the Philippine Opera Company performed.
No matter how stunning the collections and models were in the first four parts of the show, it was the last collection?a limited-edition barong Tagalog by Jean Goulbourn?s Silk Cocoon?that stole the evening.
Twelve ambassadors to the Philippines modeled the barongs decorated by eight guest designers.
Sculptors Gabriel Barredo, Eduardo Castillo and Impy Pilapil, painter Manuel Baldemor, painter and writer Jeannie Javelosa, furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue and chef Claude Tayag embellished barongs with whimsical touches like graphic embroidery, metal clips and painted details.
The ambassador/models were were: Mario Schuff of Argentina, Herbert Jaeger of Austria, Gregoire Vadarkis of Belgium, Jaroslov Ludva of the Czech Republic, Gerard Chesnel of France, Ludwig Weber-Lortsch of Germany, Irzan Tanjung of Indonesia, Leuane Sombunkhan of Laos, David Pine of New Zealand, Muhammad Naeem Khan of Pakistan, Mohammed Ameen Wali of Saudi Arabia and Adnan Basaga of Turkey.
Each ambassador was greeted with applause and friendly catcalls as he walked down the ramp. Visibly nervous at first, the men eventually relaxed and gave their all as they strutted on the catwalk.
New Zealand Ambassador Pine said later, ?I was very nervous! But I realized that the best thing about being a retired model is that I can have all the dessert I want.?
Austrian Ambassador Jaeger said, ?I was excited and nervous, as it was my first time on the catwalk. I had one whiskey and a Philippine cigar before the show to calm my nerves. Good thing it?s easy to look good in a Silk Cocoon barong!?
Turkish Ambassador Basaga suffered no jitters. ?Compared to what we usually do, this was very easy. We?re used to crowds. I would definitely do it again for a good cause!?
?What am I doing in the diplomacy?? chimed in Ambassador Vadarkis, laughing. ?It was so refreshing to do the show. The camaraderie among my colleagues backstage was excellent.?
Saudi Arabia?s Ambassador Wali added, ?It was a good experience, and for a good cause.?
The money raised for the event will go to beneficiaries that include the children of Tondo and Payatas, indigenous minority groups in Palawan, and elderly and disabled communities in Manila.
Last year, SHOM raised P2.8 million for its beneficiaries.
?Through our work, we hope to make some difference in the lives of our beneficiaries,? said SHOM president Cosetta Cassin Fedele. ?We are certain of one thing: When we leave the Philippines, some of the most memorable and rewarding moments of our stay will be those spent working together for the needy.?
In support of SHOM, Silk Cocoon will donate 10 percent of sales from the custom-made designer barongs until the end of May.
E-mail the author at email@example.com