From the Maria Clara gown to the kimona and the modern terno, fashion designer Claudio Javellana showcased the fascinating world of traditional Filipiniana costumes in one stunning collection.

Guests of this year’s APCO Freedom Ball enjoyed an exclusive preview of the latest fashion collection of Sydney-based Filipino couturier Claudio Javellana.

Javellana worked day and night in the lead up to the Independence Day celebrations  to prepare an impressive 11-piece collection spanning more than 100 years of traditional Philippine costumes, or Filipiniana, worn by women.

First on the catwalk was the 'Tres Maria Claras', three variations of the ‘Maria Clara’ gown, named after the literary figure made famous in the epic novel Noli me Tangere by Philippine national hero Jose Rizal. The style dates as far back as 1890, as a variation of the conventional baro’t saya (‘blouse and skirt’) worn by Filipina women at the time.

True to style, the outfits were made up of four pieces - the camisa (blouse with bell-shaped sleeves), the saya (skirt), the pañuelo (scarf) and the tapis (overskirt). Also reflecting the style of the period, the models carried fans, discretely placed over their mouths in a sign of modesty (see photos).

Next up was the ‘kimona’ series, although Javellana’s interpretation had a modern twist. Unlike the Maria Clara gowns which were multi-layered, the ‘kimona’ style was relatively more practical and can be worn during the day, not just for formal occasions.

In the third part of the show, Javellana gave the audience his vision of the modern terno, with their distinctive butterfly sleeves, made famous globally by former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Not one, not two, not three - but four interpretations were shown on the night as worn by beauty queen Melanie Balagtas, singers Annie Marquez and Sidney Perez, and the event's co-host Michelle Baltazar.

But saving the best for last, the Filipiniana-inspired bridal gown – fit for a princess – completed the collection and drew applause from the audience. Model Jenny Austin modeled the backless gown with veil and intricate lace trimmings, accompanied by child model Oolan Margon who wore a Maria Clara-inspired flower girl dress.

“The reason why I wanted to do a Filipiniana-inspired bridal gown is to show the mainstream Australian society that we can be proud of our Philippine heritage and that the classic Maria Clara style is so elegant and timeless that it can still be worn today,” said Javellana.

The fashion show was supported by the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations, Inc (or APCO) and was the highlight of the group’s annual Philippine Independence Day celebrations, or Freedom Ball, held at Dooley’s Lidcombe Catholic Club in Sydney over the weekend (June 13).

Video and photo credits: Bob Reyes, Rey Liwag and Mike Ligon.

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Ruben Amores

The Filipiniana Fashion show of Claudio Lisao capped the very elegant display of things Filipino: songs, arts, performances, organisational/manangerial prowess and the friendliness of Australian-Filipinos at the APCO organised Freedom Ball 2015! Other world-class performers were international artist Miss Roanne Monte (lead of the Miss Saigon in London), beauteous singer Miss Sidney Perez, singer extra-ordinaire Marcus Rivera, multi-talented Michelle Baltazar, master event managers Albert Prias and Charles Chan and ably assisted by many other community artists and volunteers who worked pro-bono under the banner of the Alliance of Phil Community Orgs Inc to raise funds for charity and social development projects. Every year APCO consistently presents such high quality presentations and activities that promote the best of the community while upholding ethical behaviour and legal procedures among its affiliates. Mabuhay ang mga Pilipino saan man sila naroroon sa mundo. Ipagpatuloy and pakikibaka para sa Tunay na Pambansang Kalayaan!

Dr Cen Amores

On behalf of the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc (APCO)I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Claudio for chosing the APCO Freedom Ball as the appropriate occasion to showcase his artistic Filipiniana creations! Thank you as well to all the stunning catwalk models,our fabulous emcees, Michelle and Marcus, our very loyal and multi-talented production duo, Albert and Charles, our officiaL photographer and videographer crew led by Bobit Reyes and our hair and make-up artists team led by Cleo Baltazar!And by the way, the very well-behaved and appreciative guests for their positive feedbacks and promise to come back again next year!!!

Arlene Amor

What is the contact number of this designer? Thanks!


You can reach the designer Claudio on 0416 301 678. Thanks

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