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Maximum Glamour

With the resounding success of last year’s Red Charity Gala, style arbiters Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Kaye Tinga recently held their eighth annual event at the Shangri-La at The Fort. Strong and hardworking, the duo is passionate about not only presenting the best of Filipino couturiers, but likewise for their cause—the Philippine Red Cross and the Assumption HS 1981 Foundation. This time around, they spotlighted the innovative fashion-cum-interior designer Chito Vijandre.  After an absence of 30 years, the creative and visionary showed his inaugural 40-piece Filipiniana haute couture collection.

During cocktail time at the foyer of the grand ballroom, the guests couldn’t help but make side glances at the cocktail showstoppers—the male and female models in various pose and dressed in nothing but the latest in Bench underwear. A few of the lady guests dared pose alongside the models. Inside the ballroom, the show started with opera singer Lara Maigue who was accompanied by Ballet Philippines dancers with an excerpt from “Firebird.” The emcee of the evening was Sara Meier.

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  • The ChitoVijandre fashion collection (Manila Bulletin)
  • G3 San Diego and Alex Aquino
  • Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre
  • Jennifer Choon and Peninsula Manila GM Mark Choon
  • The author, Mariquita Yeung, and Mayenne Carmona
  • Ria Fernandez, Criselda Lontok, and Gigi Mabanta
  • Linda Ley and Charisse Chuidian
  • Sec. Martin Andanar, Sen Richard Gordon, Tessa Valdes, and Joseph Calata
  • Tim Yap
  • Rene Puno, Margie Floirendo, Yoli Ayson, Becky Garcia, and Rupert Jacinto
  • Derek Ramsay, Dr. Elsie Pascua, and Lovie Poe
  • Carmela Bocanegra, Kitty Doll, and Crimson Hotel GM Gerhard Doll
  • Ben Chan and the Bench models
  • Highlight of the Red Charity Ball was the fashion presentation of Chito Vijandre (third from left), with Kaye Tinga, Ivo Buchta, Tessa Valdez, and Ben Chan
  • Aivee Teo and Z Teo

Harnessing a youthful vivre, Tessa and Tim Yap came around once again with their yearly signature—the auction. The tandem possesses the skill to get the audience fired up with their charity auction and raffle.

The piece de resistance of the evening was the presentation of the much awaited fashion show. With accessories handmade and customized for each wear, it was a display of modern elegance and grace. Chito Vijandre’s silhouettes and creations far transcend minimalism, and he favors good fabrics and embellishments; yet as a noble gesture, he mentioned that the Dubai designers who were presented in the past Red Ball—designers Michael Cinco, Furne One, Ezra Santos, and Cary Santiago possess the craft of embellishment. Inspired by segments of Philippine history, the show was presented in six suites: Ethnic suite, inspired by the Galleon Trade; Revolt suite Gabriela Silang; Hollywood glam; Sampaguita Pictures; Carnival Queens; and Flapper Era. His keen understanding of Philippine history and culture translated so stunningly into his clothes and thus, makes Vijandre a compelling name in fashion. There was romance in his bridal dress, which was inspired with a medieval theme. A maximalist, Chito showcased a rich tapestry of colors producing the exciting and the new that captured the captive audience’s emotions. The grand finale was an epic moment for Chito who walked down the runway amid applause and was joined by Tessa, Kaye, international model Ivo Buchta, and Ben Chan of Bench. Show direction was by Ariel Lozada, with stylist Noel Manapat, hair and makeup by Henri Calayag.