The Filipiniana of Yesterday and Today

The Philippine history and culture are very wealthy and diverse; consequently, fashion from each region differs from one another. In the Spanish imperial times, the women and mestizas from affluent families of Manila wore bulky and sheer lace raiment, while those away from the walled city guise themselves in bright and colorful designs on cotton. All of these designs has fascinating histories and progressions that were fashioned by some social issues and events and had emerged in the forms we know now.


The way to modern fashion


The definite root of the baro’t saya is yet a subject of debate, although it was through the 18th century when the fashion became very dominant. Traditionally speaking, the baro’t saya has four parts:

·         a soft and sheer blouse with baggy sleeves (baro);


·         a lightweight, ankle-level skirt typically made out of abaca or silk and highlighted in checks or stripes (saya);


·         a dark-colored overskirt (tapis) to not expose skin;


·         a large shawl or scarf to hide the chest (pañuelo), as prescribed by powerful Christian practices. This has been the basis of other styles that unfolded over the years.


Succeedingly, with the expansion of commerce that made Filipinos updated with the European fashion, a modern style rose. The Maria Clara, titled after the Dr. Jose Rizal’s female persona in the novel Noli Me Tangere which was comprised of a camisa with broad, elbow-level bell sleeves and a bouffant lined skirt. It is placed aside by its open neckline and is not covered with the tapis, since some of the community women had linked this to the lower class.


Throughout the late 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, women fostered a heightened spirit of the style. Their clothes claimed various long trains (saya de cola), panels (siete cuchillos), and fit skirts that splayed below the knee (serpentina). These grew even more famous in the Manila Carnival, a yearly glamorous celebration that carried candidates mostly from the aristocracy.


Now, wearing the Filipiniana necessitates an occasion to flaunt, like the political events, galas, and world presentations. Some local designers go to varying lengths to design their account of the traditional dress, preserving its legacy yet attempting to go for a global motion. Past First Lady Imelda Marcos has used the terno since she had campaigned for her man, and her reputation thus familiarized nonnatives with the costume. Here in the Philippines, it is not unusual for politicians and celebrities to appear in events with their couture Filipinianas on, making their entry more impressive than the presentation itself.