When In Manila, especially if a fan of fashion, you probably caught the shocking Season Three finalé of Project Runway Philippines. With its delicious premise of four designers hitting the final runway–a first for PRP–the final episode of the season promised to be a tense one, as yours truly teased here.
But of course, the dust has settled, and one designer emerged as having ruled the runway. Though fan favorite Cheetah Rivera was ballyhooed as the top contender, it was 34-year-old Milka Redoble, whose classic lines and chic, wearable aesthetic, who took the Project Runway Philippines crown.
And now, since the winner has been announced, I can finally break my silence.
Back in June, I received an invitation that proved to be the most epic I’d ever gotten in the history of my When In Manila tenure: to be a name on the guest list of the Metro’s most exclusive and closely-guarded fashion show. A few days later, at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza, I walked the red carpet with fashion’s elite, to view, before anyone else, Project Runway Philippines Season 3’s final runway.
Note: The following photos of the Final Runway are provided by Angela Robinson of Solar Entertainment. They are copyrighted to ETC Project Runway Philippines, and are used with permission.
As soon as the show started, there was an almost church-like hush that came over the audience, breaking into claps as soon as host (and fashion icon) Tweetie De Leon-Gonzales put in an appearance. On the runway, she looked larger-than-life and twice as glamorous–I bemoaned the fact that my camera had been deposited at the door. Her opening remarks were quick, and after a few minutes and some conspicuous mood lighting changes, the main event was in full swing.
Up first was CamSur’s favorite son, and the only male contender, Nel Claveria. His collection, inspired by the suspension of foam on the sea, and the “sea bubbles” formed by waves crashing onto the shore, used a mix of orange, bright-yellow, and beige shades, playing with intricate textures and coral-like embellishments to create the “marine” feel without using cliché “ocean” shades. My personal favorites were his gowns, which flowed around the models’ legs much like those waves teasing the shore.
After Nel’s more relaxed, ethereal show, came the adrenalin-pumping collection of innovator Cheetah Rivera. Her over-the-top, perfectly-constructed, high-concept designs are fan favorites, but her finalé collection, entitled “The Chase,” may have topped them all: inspired by the African savannah, “The Chase” was inspired by the struggles of an up-and-coming designer. Paired with the elemental heartbeat of African music, Cheetah’s final collection was as wild as its inspiration, and left me breathless and covered in goosebumps.
Cheetah’s dramatic showing made for a hard act to follow, but designer Amor Albano pulled off her showing with polished flair. The 27-year-old Laoag-based designer already has an established following in the fashion business, and is famous for her exquisite attention to detail and embellishments. Her collection, inspired by the transformation of rocks by erosion, was a delicate, frothy cavalcade in earth tones, against which her metallic embellishments glittered in stark contrast.
Last, but certainly not the least, the soon-to-be-crowned (though we didn’t yet know it) Milka Redoble took the runway with her supremely wearable collection, Musa. While not as wild as her contenders’ collections in execution, Milka’s dresses were a lush temptation of rich purple shades and supple leather textures, inspired by the plants of the banana family. The 34-year-old mompreneur did not so much stun as seduce, as dress after dress made their way down the runway and into the wish lists of various audience members. I was not immune–my eyes drank in the collection greedily, and when it was over, I was left wanting more.
After the final runway came a few quick cocktails, where fans of PRP could clink glasses of champagne and toast the potential winner (who was kept secret from even us). I mingled only for a bit, preferring to hang around near the runway and meet the designers who had so inspired me. Still, I managed to snag shots of PRP’s former contestants, there to give support to the finalists, as well as the proud family of Cheetah Rivera.
Former contestants of Project Runway Philippines Season 3 turn up to show their support for the finalists. From left: Lhenvil Paneda, Fatima Guerrero, Yves Camingue, Karla Galang, Enzo Libo-on, and Glenn Gonzales
Cheetah Rivera‘s proud family!
Still, champagne and hors d’oeuvres could not hold me, when I spied the judges and contestants still milling by the runway. Leaving my glass with a passing waiter, I snuck out of the cocktail area space and back to the runway to gush and fangirl, which I did with gusto. (Sadly, didn’t manage to catch a photo of Rajo Laurel!)
Nel Claveria, fresh from his final runway success, allowed me to snap a photo before running off the celebrate with supportive friends.
Cheetah Rivera left me starstruck! I managed to stutter out some comments on how her collection left me breathless, for which she graciously thanked me.
Milka Redoble and Amor Albano chill together after all the runway drama. Who the winner would be was still up in the air at this point, but they both seemed relieved that their crowning collections had been shown without a hitch.
Director extraordinaire Henri De Lorme, who attended with his family.
The gorgeous judge Apples Aberin with PRP’s stunning host, Tweetie De Leon-Gonzales. Heidi Klum has nothing on her!
Absolutely floored meeting Jojie Loren. His designs are always the very figure of fashion and height of elegance, and the man himself was no different.
Darn my camera! It couldn’t adjust to the dark enough to do justice to the figure of the Philippines’ pride, London-based designer Lesley Mobo, who was guest judge for the final runway.
Many thanks to Angela Robinson, whose invitation made this wannabe-designer and blogger’s dreams come true!
The designers and boldface names, however, were not the only ones to strut their sartorial stuff: as this was my first red carpet event, I felt it necessary to debut a never-before-worn Amelia et Nicole original. What do you guys think?
Project Runway Philippines’ Season Three finalé was as dramatic as the season itself, and to be able to see it live practically floored me. It was almost torture to be asked to keep my silence until the final episode premiered! Congratulations to Milka Redoble, crowned Season 3’s runway royalty, and congratulations too to all the designers, who made an impressive showing. I’m sure if I had been a judge, I wouldn’t have been able to make a choice!
So When In Manila, and looking for a hot new designer to patronize, why not check out the collections of Milka Redoble, Cheetah Rivera, Amor Albano, and Nel Claveria. These Project Runway Philippines finalists certainly know how to put on a show, and in something of theirs, you could be a showstopper too.
Project Runway Philippines Executes Its Most Dramatic Final Runway With Season Three Finale