Showcasing the pinnacle of the terno down to its modern take, the Center for Campus Art (CCA) presents “Power, Fashion, Modernity: The Ternos of the Benilde Collection” in celebration of the College’s 35th anniversary. The event formally commenced on Oct. 12 at the 12th floor gallery of the Design and Arts Campus (DAC), featuring a range of works by four of the most prominent names in Philippine fashion.
Curated by CCA Director, Ar. Gerry Torres, the exhibit displays 31 quintessential pieces designed by Philippines Fashion icons Ramon Valera, Pitoy Moreno, Ben Farrales, as well as guest ternos by Aureo Alonzo and Benilde alumna and Pacita Longos Gold award winner of the 2023 TernoCon contest, Maria Luisa “Yssa” Inumerable.
The collection houses the ternos donated by the family of the late Ben Farrales to the College, alongside creations by various Filipino designers generously provided by additional donors namely Conchita Sevilla Bernardo, Bambi Lammoglia Harper, Vicky Iglesias Rodriguez, and Mila Magsaysay Valenzuala. Included in the show are one of Aureo Alonzo’s designs, a 1964 wedding gown worn by Mrs. Carmelita Pineda, lent by Eric Pineda, her son and Benilde’s former faculty.
More than just a piece of clothing
To formally begin the program, Ar. Torres gave his opening remarks as he expressed his appreciation of how the terno embraced the changing times with a design that accommodated and welcomed contemporary styles. For him, it was not just a sartorial innovation, but a symbol of liberation and preparation for the dynamic era that followed the challenges of wartime Philippines.
In an interview with The Benildean, Ar. Torres shared that he wants to show that the school has this valuable collection celebrating the creativity of the country’s legends in fashion design.
“We want Benildeans to know them, to be aware of their contributions, not just to fashion, but in design in general. And also to hopefully inspire the future designers to create outstanding pieces of design,” he said.
Next to give their opening statement was DLS-CSB President, Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez, FSC., who expressed that this exhibition is a pivotal step in preserving the rich history of our country’s legacy.
Amplifying the show were Benildean student-artists and cosplayers who designed their own version of the terno based on an original Filipino character.
Paving more opportunities for reinvention and innovation
Seeing the significant growth of the fashion collection, the College, under the guidance of Br. Fernandez, plans to establish an institute to house the donations as well as serve as a learning center focused on the study, safekeeping, exhibition, conservation, and promotion of fashion design and history, mainly of Philippine haute couture from the 20th and 21st century.
The Manila Fashion and Costume Institute is proposed to be located in the Miguel Febres Cordero (MFC) building and will interface with Benilde’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program for the delivery of classes and lectures in fashion design studies.
Elevating the everyday “Filipina” experience
In an exclusive interview with The Benildean, Inumerable emphasized that these ternos are a symbol of our identity, resilience, and creativity as Filipinos. “It is a testament to the beauty and diversity of our nation,” she added.
Her collection, “Gibson Filipina” was inspired from Charles Dana Gibson’s illustrations. The ideas fuse late 1800’s women’s sportswear to the Filipino Balintawak, in hopes to give it a new meaning. The colorful, confident, and carefree collection is a fusion of masculine or feminine silhouettes and east or west tradition.
“This collection is an ode to the past and looking forward to the future for Filipino women [..] My design philosophy is to always elevate the everyday “Filipina” experience,” she remarked.
The Ternos of the Benilde collection is more than just a range of iconic pieces, it is a symbol of the undying elegance, grace, power, of the terno, a source of pride for the nation. It lives on to be a steadfast element in Philippine fashion that encapsulates both tradition and modernity, continuously offering designers limitless opportunities for reinvention and innovation.
At its core, it is more than just a garment; it is a representation of cultural identity.
“Power, Fashion, Modernity: The Ternos of the Benilde Collection” is open Mondays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Dec. 15. The exhibit is open to the public.