updated 2 Jul 2010, 08:43
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Fri, Jul 02, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network
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A heritage fair for shoppers

If I were a genie in a bottle, I would grant all Filipino artists and designers a publicist of Artus Concepcion proportions to be able to land them the coveted Vogue’s “Last Look” page. (Concepcion is given credit for the Vogue coverage of Tina Ocampo’s Celestina and the W coverage of Rajo Laurel.)

We have world-class products but they are not given the necessary push in the global market. We have acclaimed bag designers such as Rafe Totengco, Bea Valdes and Tina Maristela.

The Gucci Spring-Summer 2010 collection has a raffia and white leather tote. Raffia is making a comeback, a material heavily used by Amina Aranaz-Alunan when she was supplying bags for the international market, the same market conquered by bagmaker Marissa Andal who supplied Clinique’s makeup loot bags in the ’90s.

China now makes a perfect synthetic version of raffia, as well as bamboo, rattan and everything else.

And we, brimming with artistry but lacking in exposure, is back to our own resourcefulness in pushing the materials and our designs via international trade fairs.

Recently, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, with the National Museum, Department of Tourism and Museum Foundation of the Philippines, held the month-long Filipino Heritage Festival. Part of it was the Maarte Bazaar, A Contemporary Filipino Arts and Crafts Fair.

Maarte showcased everything Filipino and indigenous—fabrics and handwoven items, from the Northern uplands to the south, from the Mandaya, Yakan, to T’boli tribes.

Designer ensembles

Also on display were designer ensembles and fashion accessories using raffia, buntal and tinalak, a fiber made from abaca which is dyed using natural colours from leaves, roots and barks of plants, then handwoven and polished for a natural sheen.

Also on show were contemporary jewellery designs by Tara Soriana from Whitespace, pottery and clay art from John Pettijohn, graphic shirts from Team Manila featuring José Rizal wearing Ray-Ban aviators, and antiques as well as handmade home accents.

Dita Sandico-Ong, who is celebrating her 25th year as fashion designer, had a booth selling her famous wraps made from indigenous materials.

Raisa Tantuico showcased clutches in various colors. She claimed that each design was unique.

Those who missed the Maarte Bazaar can check out stores such as SM’s Kultura for bags and home decor, or visit Dita Sandico-Ong’s showroom on Wilson Street, Greenhills, for her wraps.

Or in your travels around the country, drop by local artisans’ houses or ateliers and load up on those goodies. And since we are already halfway through the year, you may start charting your weekends attending bazaars to check out the wares.


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