Efren Ocampo goes back to his Kapampangan roots and takes inspiration from the artisans of Betis, Pampanga in his latest collection for SM.
It is said that the wood carving tradition in Betis is as old as the town itself. Even before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, people in the town were already well known as blacksmiths, carvers, ship builders, and carpenters.
The Spaniards brought with them the Catholic faith, and with it, magnificent heritage churches like the Betis Church in Guagua, Pampanga. Established in 1607, the Baroque Church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum and the NCCA in 2001.
The main door to the church features intricate carvings portraying the “Gates of Paradise.” Inside the Baroque-inspired church, one can find religious frescoes on the ceiling, and wall murals very much like those of the Renaissance masters in the Sistine Chapel.
Just as Betis artisans created their wonderful works from wood and metal, Ocampo’s medium is “tulle lace appliquéd on fabric.” His clothes are definitely Baroque-inspired with exquisite details, as well as a black, white, mustard, beige, and gold palette.
Silhouettes are feminine — fitted bodices with A-line skirts, as well as off-the-shoulder, strapless, and sleeveless dresses. Ocampo says that it is his A-line skirt that makes it different from his other collections.
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“We had been doing a lot of pencil skirts,” he says, “and we decided to do A-line skirts for a change.” He also finds the silhouette very flattering for curvy women.
The Efren Ocampo collection (styles vary per store) is available at The SM Store in Makati, SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, and SM Southmall.