National Artist Ramon Valera Honored by Freeway Art

My sister and I were one of the few bloggers who were exclusively invited to Freeway Art’s launching of Ramon Valera’s collection. In honor of this occasion, the late Valera’s muses exhibited their gowns at the ground floor of Glorietta 5. The exhibit was only open on October 12, 2010, so it was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me.

Honestly, I am quite torn about how to write this. There are two warring forces within me: one is the lifestyle blogger (who is very much in love with Freeway) and the other is the art blogger (who knows that Ramon Valera refused to go into RTW). I’ve decided to write about two aspects of this collaboration and I’m indulging the lifestyle blogger here. (The art blogger can wait until I’ve finished designing the other blog. I have enough photos for both.)

Anyway, I love how Freeway’s people handle events. They’re very professional and they make sure that the event is well worth your time. Alex and I arrived early because we were advised via text that Valera’s original gowns would be showcased before the formal launch.

These are the gowns owned by Elvira Manahan, Margarita Romualdez, Susie Bayot Ortigas, Adelaida Mendoza, Maritess Pineda, Evelyn Teehankee, Fe Leyson Qua and Caridad Velez Leyson.

National Artist Valera’s craftsmanship is just…there are no words for it. His attention to exquisite detail, which the fashion designer was internationally known for, just astounds me. I still can’t get over the intricacy of the bead work. I can’t even stop talking about it.

My camera cannot do them justice. Really. (That’s why I’m saving my close-up shots for the art blog.)

Like I said earlier, Freeway’s event-handling is top notch. (Thanks, Mira!) See how pretty my press kit is? They really prepared for this. I don’t usually pay attention to press kit details, but this is definitely something I’m keeping. Because it’s lovely.

Media people usually know what’s inside the press kit, which contain, of course, details about the launch. Here’s a snippet of what the entire fuss is all about:

Modern Pinay fashion meets timeless historical works of fashion. This Holiday season, get ready to be fascinated and enthralled as Freeway brings in the latest installment of the much celebrated National Artist Collectors Series. On its forth edition, this series will feature inspirations from the brilliant creations of National Artist for Fashion Ramon Valera.

Ramon Valera is the first fashion designer to be proclaimed as National Artist for Fashion (2006). Valera is known for his elegant gowns and ternos. Valera was celebrated for his ingenuity and craftsmanship, for revolutionizing the national costume, for his mastery of embroidery and beadwork and for and translating Philippine motifs into contemporary terms…

Earth and my sister Alex viewing the contemporary incarnation of Valera’s masterpieces. I have a lot of favorites in this particular collection. But Earth couldn’t contain her excitement. She actually bought a shirt before the program started!

I got a little bored waiting for the program to start so I told Alex that I wanted to view the gown exhibit from the second floor. I was shocked to find that Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos had already arrived. She and Tessa Prieto-Valdes marveled at the gowns.

I swear, I tripped all over myself — even accidentally digging my high heels into several photographers’ feet — just to get a very close shot of her. She may have been controversial, being a Marcos and all, but no one can ever deny how she made the Philippines beautiful. She was — and still is — patroness of the arts.

Gosh, she’s tall! She dwarfed just about everyone in the room! No wonder she was one of Valera’s favorite muses.

Charming Tessa Prieto-Valdes served as the host for the night. As usual, the lady was decked in all sorts of finery. (I actually took close-up shots of that belt. Haha!)

After her introductory spiel, we were treated to an audio-visual presentation that took us through various points in the designer’s life.

After the AVP, Ms. Prieto-Valdes interviewed key people who were predominant in Valera’s life. Among them were his niece Peching Zulueta-Gomez (Valera’s niece), fashion designer Aureo Alonzo and National Museum of the Philippine’s curator Nick Legazpi, Jr.

Our most anticipated part of the night was the fashion show.

Beautiful and statuesque models dramatically sashayed down the runway to romantic French music. I totally adore the 1950’s hair and how various pieces were put together. I’m posting here my favorites. You might notice that most of them contained Valera’s sketches, which proved that he was as much a visual artist as he was a fashion icon. I kind of prefer those over the re-interpretation of his finished products.

After the parade of clothes, it was Madame Imelda’s turn to be interviewed. Ms. Prieto-Valdes was absolutely right when she said that all eyes were trained on the former first lady even though she stood beside the much younger models.

It was a wonderful night, overall. I do wish that one day, all of Valera’s masterpieces would be housed in a gallery. I couldn’t stop thinking about how his creations were specifically customized for the form and personalities of the illustrious women he had so enjoyed dressing up.

We regular folk may not be able to wear his pieces with the kind of flair that these women afforded them, but at least Freeway made the dream somewhat reachable. Now we can project our own personae onto these contemporary revivals. Now, it falls upon our matter of styling.

This souvenir photo was taken by Cris Dumlao.

EDIT 10.16.2010: Wee! I just got my press photo from the Freeway Facebook Page. This was taken by Freeway’s official photographer.


  1. Roch

    October 14, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I was there too but not aware that you were there too sayang.

  2. earthlingorgeous

    October 14, 2010 at 9:02 am

    @ Bea wahaha I just love the collection and that shirt was calling my name haha! nasuot ko na nga kahapon haha! I want the dresses too!

  3. skysenshi

    October 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I think we were all too busy taking photos of the clothes. I was hypnotized, actually. Hahahaha! (If you see a curly-haired girl with a point-and-shoot cam, rolling on the floor just to find an unobtrusive camera angle…that's me. Hahahaha!)

    I know, right! Nanggigigil din ako sa dresses! Especially the ones I posted here. And to think, I'm saving my best pictures for the other blog. Shucks. I want those dresses!!

  4. skysenshi

    October 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    It's not yet finished but it will be at I'm still designing it. 🙂

  5. *MrsMartinez*

    October 15, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Kung may P-noy ako, may Imelda ka naman! haha

  6. skysenshi

    October 15, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Haha! Yeah, Imelda is more related to my line of work than P-Noy (being Patroness of the Arts and all). Although having the president a stone's throw away from you must have been an exhilarating experience. He looks really thin, ha.

  7. Rowena Wendy Lei

    October 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Sayang talaga, I wanted to attend this since I'm a fan of Madame Imelda and I wanted to see Tessa again after our brush at HSBC.

  8. skysenshi

    October 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    In demand ka kasi, haha! It's so difficult to be in too many places in one day. I heard that Makati was full of blogger-related events that night. Grabe!

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