Last week, I attended the finale runway show of the top 6 designers from the MEGA Young Designers Competition 2012 season. I was really happy to see that all of the collections featured looks which were adaptable or already wearable to the workplace. Of course, I was looking for ensembles with elements that could be rinsed, worn and repeated for maximum mileage. Below, I share my top 3 favorite standout collections from the evening.
1. Mara Chua’s thoughtful, inspired collection. It seemed clear off the bat that the designer knew exactly how she wanted the clothes to sit on the model, in the way that she experimented with fit and proportion. This was particularly evident in Look 4, which was a deceptively simple black jacket that hung beautifully on the model like the slouchy but sculptural creation it was. I couldn’t help but note how well her work complemented the works of other great designers like Haider Ackermann or Jil Sander.
I believe the strongest look in this collection was still Look 2, which was the only gown out of an entire collection that mostly consisted of grayish-black separates layered under plastic-like sheeting molded into vests and jackets. Mara Chua’s multi-textured gray gown was a sight to behold, not to mention very wearable to any major event. The plastic vest initially made it appear tougher, but once removed, revealed cascading straps, dreamy contrasting textures, and a delicate floral design. I loved the tension between the gothic and industrial.
2. Oz Go’s clean, futuristic collection. At once dramatic and simple, the show focused the audience’s view on the clothes by having the models’ faces covered with large gas masks. Gimmick aside, the white collection (with some hints of sky blue) was very clean and modern, reminding me of work done by Jonathan Saunders or Peter Pilotto.
The sharp tailored white pantsuit caught my attention, reminding me of the costumes in Stanley Kubrick’s movie adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. I especially noted the daring cutouts on two of the dresses, which nonetheless retained their sophistication and form. While tough and hard-edged, the collection was also elegant, very feminine, and still versatile. I was disappointed that this designer did not place in the top 3, but I feel sure that he will produce more stunning work down the line.
3. Robin Gundran’s trendy, retail-friendly collection. I could easily imagine Robin’s entire collection as a special tie-up with a retail giant like Oxygen or Maldita. Many of the pieces could be worn straight off the runway with only a few modifications to the cutouts. I loved how the models were styled, with clean faces and sleek topknots. Robin also thought about the shapes made by the gray and black patterns on the clothes, incorporating texture with some sheer materials and ruching. My favorite was look 5, which I would love to own myself after some minor adjustments to the sheer overlay.
I was also happy to chat with Santi Obcena, who told me about his upcoming work for Philippine Fashion Week. I was thrilled to hear that he’ll be working on a Klimt-inspired collection following that.
Renan Pacson ultimately won the competition, followed by Mara Chua and Robin Gundran.