The President’s State of the Nation Address is one of the most anticipated events of the year, not just for political junkies but for fashion lovers as well. Solons and celebrities graced the red carpet in classic barongs, ternos, baro’t sayas, and maria claras—a colorful display of the richness and extravagance of Philippine Fashion.
Accompanied by two friends, actress and political spouse Assunta de Rossi stood out in a beige terno covered in paisley lace. She wore her hair in a simple bun. Congresswoman Lucy Torres-Gomez was a vision of grace and elegance in a pink terno designed by Randy Ortiz. She entered the Batasang Pambansa through the north wing entrance with husband Richard Gomez by her side.
Actress and Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado walked the red carpet in a teal, yellow, and orange Mindanao-inspired gown by Rajo Laurel accompanied by her husband Sen. Bong Revilla. Senator Pia Cayetano attended the event in a grey, 1950s-inspired gown with modern sliced petal sleeves. Her champagne-colored gown was embellished with feathers on layered tulle, and had a 1920s-style hem. Congresswoman Imelda Marcos, who set fashion trends in her conjugal dictatorship heyday, is still elegant in her 80s and was dressed in a blue terno with green beads on the bodice. The President’s sister Kris Aquino was also spotted inside the plenary hall clad in a green, off-shoulder Randy Ortiz gown and accompanied by friend Boy Abunda.
The men may not have as wide a range of sartorial options as their female counterparts, but that did not stop a few from making fashion statements of their own, sometimes literally. Just like last year, President Benigno Aquino III wore a barong by designer Paul Cabral, but this time without a yellow ribbon pinned to it. Bayan Muna representative Teddy Casiño (left) continued his tradition of wearing his sentiments on his sleeve—or in his case, his entire front, as his Edgar San Diego barong was emblazoned with the words “Presyo Ibaba” as a protest against rising prices in the country. Other politicians espousing their advocacies through their outfits include former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, whose gown had a “north meets south” concept—a T’nalak butterfly bolero paired with an abel Iloco gown by Joel Acebuche.
Acebuche also created Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao’s forest-green silk gown, which mirrored her love for the environment with its petal paillettes, gold embellishments, and embossed flowers. Casiño’s fellow Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares wore a barong from Bacolod designer Renan Ortiz, painted on the front with a call for freedom for political prisoners. Sulu Congresswoman Nur-Ana Sahidulla walked the red carpet in a hijab and an extravagant, blue and purple Muslim gown embellished with Swarovski crystals and multicolored sequins. Beside her, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. accentuated his barong with an Ifugao Pungot headdress traditionally worn by upper-class men and a sash made of Ifugao cloth
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