Once upon a time, everyone actually looked forward to and focused on what the president was going to say in his State of the Nation Address—until many got apathetic and indifferent, and others became more interested in what people will be wearing on the Batasan catwalk than in learning about the country’s progress report.
Fashion industry insiders trace back the beginnings of this fascination for red carpet style during the SoNA to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term. Perhaps it was because the Filipino public, who hasn’t had a female president in several years, was eager to see how a woman will project and conduct herself as a whole (and her look plays a huge part) at this landmark event (especially coming from EDSA People Power 2). And perhaps also because it was during the early 2000s when we started to be more in touch with fashion as a nation (fashion magazines became bibles for women, and trends were snapped up one after the other, from triangle haltered tops to elephant pants).
Today, the State of the Nation Address is as much a fashion spectacle as it is a state of the nation address. It’s PNoy’s last SoNA, and as curious as we all are to know what’s on his report, we’re also wondering if Nancy Binay will make it to the best dressed list for a change.
You’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of piña, tulle, satin, and butterfly sleeves you will see in the SoNA coverage, but to make your life simple, here are the only things that matter, the only ones you should keep a close eye on, fashion-wise:
The recycled gowns. You can expect a lot of our female legislators and lawmakers and senatorial and congressional wives to be in their ternos and gowns from years past, albeit maybe tweaked a bit to give them a fresh update. “This year, understatement is very much a trend. There’s a decision to repurpose and refresh pieces they already own so as not to call too much attention to themselves,” says fashion designer Rajo Laurel, a go-to of the SoNA set. One of his clients, Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, asked him to repurpose and update a lavender gown he made for her a few years ago.
What Kris Aquino will be wearing. The Queen of All Media always goes the whole nine yards when dressing for the SoNA. Last year she made it to the top of the best dressed polls in her yellow and black Maria Clara ensemble by Cary Santiago. She has already revealed that she’s wearing a Michael Leyva creation this time around, and my, she’s definitely aiming to keep her best dressed throne: The gown is opulent and stunning, in true Kris Aquino fashion.
What the fairest ladies of them all will be wearing. Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo, Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Sen. Grace Poe, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Tootsy Angara, Heart Evangelista-Escudero—these are the women who never fail on the red carpet. They’re so easy on the eyes, both for their naturally good looks and their on point fashion and beauty choices for the SoNA. Some clues: Sen. Poe opted for a white handpainted terno, while Sen. Angara’s lovely wife will be donning terno separates in silver brocade with exquisite blush details, Rajo shared.
What the President and the other gentlemen will be wearing. The ladies are really the main fashion stars on the red carpet, but let’s not forget the men. Barong Tagalogs may look the same at first glance, but they’re not. There are more intricately embroidered pieces than others, so if you want to see how much effort a legislator or SoNA guest put into his look, appraise his barong’s fit and design. Then again, there are those who will go for the classic tuxedo set, but the same style standards apply.
What Sen. Nancy Binay will be wearing. While she gained much flak last year for both of her outfits, Sen. Binay chose to stick with Randy Ortiz as her couturier of choice for SoNA 2015. She shared that she though she wasn’t very particular with the design, she specified to the designer that she wanted to use Filipino fabric to help promote the textile industry. Randy is a very talented designer (a favorite of Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez and other celebrities and high-profile personalities) and for sure he’ll whip up something wonderful for Sen. Binay, let’s just hope this time around everything falls perfectly.
As we enjoy the grand spectacle that is the Batasan red carpet, let us not forget the true essence of the SoNA and keep our focus on what really matters, and that is the state of our nation.
Photographs courtesy of Instagram.com/withlovekrisaquino, Instagram.com/lucytgomez, Instagram.com/iamhearte, and Instagram.com/piacayetano