Fashion has been used for a lot of worthy causes. Fashion shows for a cause, in fact, are held almost every day. But Marie France and ICanServe Foundation’s fund-raising show ‘Fashion Can Serve’ held recently is more than just about fashionable clothes and gorgeous women. It showcased courage on the catwalk and stories of survival.
Together with some of the most recognizable models from the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP), breast cancer survivors also strutted along the ramp at the ballroom of Raffles Hotel Makati, wearing the holiday collections of top designers Rhett Eala, Lulu Tan-Gan, Eric De los Santos, Maureen Disini, Kristel Yulo, and Rajo Laurel.
Each designer was asked to dress up one or two breast cancer survivors. ICanServe members and celebrity advocates turned fashion models during the show strutted on the catwalk to the cheers of their peers and audience alike.
Columnist Alya Honasan who wore a creation by Rhett Eala, said, “Of the many things I anticipated doing after surviving breast cancer, putting on a lot of makeup wasn’t one of them.” She said she was intimidated at first to join professional fashion models. “Then I realized, we had all beaten the crap out of breast cancer, and were still here, getting dolled up,” she cited in her column on Philippine Daily Inquirer. And her joie de vivre while walking down the catwalk was really contagious.
Rajo Laurel creations were worn by Bianca Elizalde, Julie Torres (mother of Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez), and ICanServe co-founder Crisann Celdran. Lulu Tan Gan dressed up Ann Puno, Bernie Aboitiz, and Patty Betita in her resort wear collection. Toni Abad wore an Eric delos Santos creation. Maureen Disini created satin gowns for Leah Caringal and Maritoni Fernandez (one of the most applauded among the survivors). Kristel Yulo’s muses were Michelle Dayrit-Soliven and Amina Aranaz.
The feeling of sisterhood and camaraderie among the survivors as well as the deep admiration and respect shown by the crowd, especially their friends and families, was really palpable in the ballroom. After all, most of us know or have heard of someone who has been affected by breast cancer. There are really no strangers to the pain and loss caused by it. Fashion Can Serve was able to translate the negative emotions attached to breast cancer into positive messages of strength, courage, and, above all, beauty. This strong message turned the show into a beautiful celebration of life and survival.
Marie France’s endorsers Dawn Zulueta-Lagdameo, Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez, Amina Aranaz, Rissa Trillo, Agot Isidro, and Bianca Elizalde added more glitz and glamor. There were audible sigh of oohs and aahs when Dawn, looking vividly stunning in Rhett Eala’s fuchsia gown creation, sashayed down the Fashion Can Serve runway.