Energy fiesta at Bench Fashion Week

When it comes to rousing the fashion community, trust fashion empire — make that its founder himself, the unstoppable Ben Chan — to be two, even five steps, ahead of the game. And that was exactly what the public got when the retail giant brought back Bench Fashion Week in a physical setting at The Playground of Bench Tower in BGC on 30 September to 2 October.

From Day One to Day Three, Bench didn’t disappoint in satisfying the crowd’s hankering for exciting, even thought-provoking, moments on the runway.

With director Roby Carmona and his team’s vision, the first day presentations started with highly-styled, edgy pieces by Antonina, Strongvillage by designer Russel Villafuerte, Cotton On, and Human x Jenni Contreras.

Photographs courtesy of Joey Sanchez Mendoza for the Daily Tribune
Lesley Mobo’s farm-inspired capsule pieces.

The 23-year-old Contreras, for instance, took a fun, campy mood as she collaborated with Suyen Corporation (Bench’s flagship comany) brand, Human to present her capsule collection with 70s and 80s-inspired slasher movies for mood and tone. Think of cheesy horror movies where the lead characters are college kids wearing cropped shirts, over-sized sweatshirts, drawstinged and cuffed jogging pants, for instance.

Day Two took a refined turn as the fashion series featured Bench muse (and Ormoc City Mayor) Lucy Torres-Gomez’s collaboration with Kashieca featuring classic and lady-like pieces; Martin Bautista’s evening wear; and Urban Revivo’s youthful and club-worthy numbers.

Perfectly culminating Bench Fashion Week was the much-talked about fiesta-themed show of London-based Pinoy designer Lesley Mobo. Titled Masaganang Bukid, Mobo showed colorfully printed baro’t saya outfits alongside t-shirts printed with agriculture-themed motifs.

Enlivened with a barrio fiesta theme complete with a marching band, Mobo took his bow with a crowd that was applauding at his clothes while dancing to 70s OPM played by the band.

“It’s not a serious fashion show, it’s a celebration, it’s about positivity. It’s about celebrating Filipinos living in the provinces. It’s my tribute to them because my family, my lolo, they are my farmers and it’s my tribute to them,” Mobo said.

Whether it’s a giant billboard of the latest K-pop darling or a deliciously exciting fashion event like a Filipiniana terno fashion show at the National Museum of Natural History, and two years since the pandemic— Bench Fashion Week, with all the works — Chan’s super brand really knows how to work up and engage their crowd.

“Fashion shows are always a celebration,” Chan told Daily Tribune. “It’s a gathering of people who love fashion. Fashion itself is fun, it’s a reflection of our everyday lives, our culture and our past.”
From the looks of Bench Fashion Week, on-site fashion shows are so back — and because of the two-year pause — happy to just let it all out.

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