MANILA, Philippines – The modern Filipiniana has artistically evolved to represent the true Filipino identity. It has become a visual symbol of our country’s pride which intricately weaves together our history, culture and heritage.
The Modern Filipiniana Gown
From the traditional piña-made dress reminiscent of the pre-colonial baro’t saya and similarly patterned from the Spanish-styled outfit, the Filipiniana gown has transformed to showcase the rich cultural diversity of the Philippines. Internationally-renowned Filipino fashion designers such as Caroline Mangosing, Mak Tumang and Rajo Laurel proudly promote and elevate the aesthetic beauty that our many indigenous communities offer.
A modern Filipiniana gown is a chic and stylish tapestry which is a product of a very skilful and creative integration of unique embroidery using both colonial-traditional and indigenous fabrics and adornments.
The wide array of 100% locally-made Filipiniana gowns worn by our very own Miss Universe Catriona Gray have proven to be truly outstanding, with the most beautiful woman in the universe proudly bringing the indigenous beauty of the Philippines to the world stage. Some of the unique gowns she had worn during the entire international pageant and even after she was crowned Miss Universe included the T’boli dress, which was intricately designed to represent the community’s cultural heritage.
In one interview Gray also proudly wore a modern Cordilleran-themed gown, with a Filipiniana top sewn with that trademark butterfly sleeves, which was especially hand-weaved by the Inabels of the Ilocos region and partnered with a slit skirt made from Kalinga fabric and specially made by the Isnag weavers of the Apayao province.
A Short History of Filipiniana Gowns
Also famously known as the terno dress, Filipiniana gowns date back to the 1700s during the colonial Spanish era in the country. It must be noted, however, that the traditional terno dresses introduced by the Spanish were markedly reminiscent and patterned from the pre-colonial baro’t saya that the Filipino culture originally has. This design consists of a blouse, or the camisa made from tropical piña fibers, a rectangular cloth worn over the shoulder, and a long skirt that reaches up to the floor.
During the late 1800s the prominent Maria Clara dress emerged. It had a more complicated design, where the camisa is sewn with pleated and hand-embroidered bodice and pagoda-shaped sleeves, together with a bell-shaped saya which still extends up to the floor. The advent of this sophisticated and elegant gown during this period served as a metaphor for the character of Maria Clara herself—graceful and modest as described in Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere.
Over the years, what would have become widely known as the “butterfly sleeves” would be the most striking and defining feature of both the traditional and modern Filipiniana gown. Another century later and until the present, this dress pattern continues to live on.
Where I can buy a Filipiana Gown?
Wearing a modern Filipiniana gown has also changed in terms of social landscape. You can put on a chic and fashionable Filipiniana not just in your usual social gathering or special events like weddings; you can now also don one in business meetings or during your usual casual corporate days. There are many places you can to to find quality and stunning modern Filipiniana gowns.
Kultura by SM
One hundred percent locally-designed and all made with authentic pineapple fabrics, the gowns of Kultura by SM are truly one of a kind. Their dresses are especially made for both formal and semi-formal occasions. They also offer other tropical garments and Filipino-made accessories.
Senator Loren Legarda proudly promotes and wears modern Filipiniana gowns made by Kultura. She said that they serve as “symbols of our identity,” and showcase the unique and sophisticated indigenous aesthetics and skill existing in our country, which is home to many ethnolinguistic groups.
Modern Filipiniana gowns of Kultura by SM can be found in all SM Mall outlets.
For more affordable but equally fashionable gowns, you can also take a trip to Baclaran. Meding Embroideries, which is located at Redemptorist cor. G.G. Cruz offers a variety of hand-painted and piña Filipiniana gowns. Prices start at P1, 200. You may also rent these gowns for different special one-time events.
You can also check out Rosy’s Gown and Costume Rental where you can rent traditional baro’t saya for as low as P450.
Divisoria is a typical go-to place to find almost anything you need—including Filipiniana gowns. You can visit the following places here:
Oh My Gown in Tutuban Shopping Mall<
From terno gowns with that trademark butterfly sleeves (which starts at P2, 500) and other ready-to-wear gowns (which can cost up to P5, 000), you can shop all you want and find the one you need for your special occasion.
Here Comes the Gown
You can also be assured of quality work with craftsmanship in Here Comes the Gown in Divisoria and place made-to-order gowns starting at P15, 000.
Expect equally fine gowns, most of which even have imported bead work in G-Zyne with made-to-order gowns.
Online stores have become a very convenient virtual space and platform to purchase or rent modern Filipiniana attires as well.
Gowns, convertible dresses, embroidered dresses, you name it: you can find almost any type of modern Filipiniana in Shopee. Ranging from P800 to P2, 500, gowns in Shopee can either be purchased or rented. Different sizes and shades or colors are indicated in the website. Shipping options are available here as well.
Lazada is similar with Shopee. In fact, some of the gowns being sold in Shopee can also be found in Lazada. You can also shop for equally elegant and branded gowns in this online shopping website. Options for different sizes, as well as shipping fees and warranty features are also indicated and provided in detail in Lazada.