Tropical Style Forecast: Philippine Fashion Week

In lieu of an autumn/winter collection, fashion-forward cities closer to the equator -- where one could welcome sunny skies or random thunderstorms all year round -- showcase the latest trends for their own style denizens via the Holiday Collection.

At the recently held Philippine Fashion Week, 112 designers alongside four of Manila’s big-name retailers simply proved that no matter the season or region, all roads lead to great clothes. “Of course you won’t find fur coats or heavy jackets on the runways,” says Katrina Dy, former fashion editor at Cosmopolitan magazine Philippines. “But it’s the same [as out West]: We take the basic trends -- say, the color palette -- and interpret them into styles that people can wear for the [tropical] weather.”

Here, Dy shares common denominators that work across the board when it comes to up-to-the-minute outfits for the rest of the year -- rain or shine -- whether you live in urban Manila, clean-and-pristine Singapore or vibrant Kuala Lumpur.

Metallic Beats
“A lot of designers featured shimmering fabrics in their collections,” shares Dy. “Metallics are always a festive option for parties.” When donning silver, gold, and copper-tinged fashion, subtlety is key. Pair a gilt lame top with understated indigo shorts, or even your favorite blue jeans. Or if you’re wearing super-shiny leggings, opt for a soft-white or solid top, and go easy on the bling. Think classy and sassy, versus over-the-top and tacky.

Feathers and Embellishments
While nude and sheer palettes -- also spotted at Philippine Fashion Week -- are always welcome in any wardrobe, it wouldn’t be called Holiday Collection if it were all white wine and quiet nights. Enter champagne and glitz in the form of feathers, textures and origami-inspired detailing, as seen in Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco’s collection. Models strutted in meticulously constructed frocks reminiscent of giant paper fans, stacked to look like peacock feathers. Intricate beadwork on gowns set the high-couture stage for voluminous shoulders and sleeves.

Pleats, Please
Students of the School of Fashion and the Arts (Sofa) in the Philippines were also given a platform to showcase their work. Designer Noelle Llave’s space-age creations in constructed satin fabrics had a teasing, outlandish quality to them. Designer Kaye Morales, on the other hand, had an extra-edgy take on pleats, doing some serious draping and weave work on asymmetrically shaped ensembles. What Herve Leger did for bandage, Morales has magnificently done with pleats. “If you're afraid that pleats will make you look bigger, use it in small doses,” suggests Dy. “A pleated skirt in a soft fabric, for example, will skim your silhouette in a flattering way.” The same goes for constructed pieces that strategically elongate and highlight your favorite parts.

Military and Prints
As with the international runways, the military trend is basking in its 15 minutes once again, in the same way Kylie Minogue had paired cargo pants with stilettos in one of her music videos almost a decade ago. “We’re seeing plenty of camouflage prints, army-green shades and epaulet details gracing the runways,” says Dy.

Alongside fatigues are abstract prints featuring swirly patterns and marbled effects in fabrics. For maximum right-now appeal, let architectural details anchor these otherwise purely artistic and almost-Bohemian picks create one great fashion statement that’s so 2010.