LONDON—In my mind and in my heart, I fully imagined meeting the Queen (of British Fashion Vivienne Westwood), her court (Stella McCartney, Sarah Burton, Phoebe Philo, Victoria Beckham) and her successors (Gareth Pugh, Hussein Chalayan, Christopher Kane) in my visit to the city in time for London Fashion Week.
ALAS, like the scaffolding wrapped around Big Ben (preventing me from fully doing a fashion editorial with my filmmaker friend/host Jowee with the landmark as backdrop) and a frustratingly late arrival at the red carpet of the 2018 BAFTAs at the Royal Albert Hall (with my Timothee Chalamet fanatic friend Paolo, preventing us from ogling our other idols Angelina, Jennifer L, Frances, Emma W,
Duchess Kate), meeting England’s fashion deities wasn’t meant to be. But braving the punishing cold a tropical nut like me is unused to, we stayed till the end of the Baftas (British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards) and waited at one of the 15 exit doors to catch a glimpse of celebrities. We were rewarded with the sight of Rachel Weisz, Bryan Cranston, Allyson Janney, Orlando Bloom and as Paolo screamed, “Bellatrix!,” Helena Bonham-Carter.
I had a speck of Oscar (as well as Tony and Olivier) gold, though, when I watched in stupefied silence Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune Best Actor) and Lesley Manville (currently nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Phantom Thread) in Eugene O’Neil’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Wyndham’s Theatre.
Fashionable people, whether residents or tourists, are everywhere in London. Even covered in three to four layers of clothing, the stylishness seems effortless.
Harried commuters on Waterloo Station, revelers at Covent Garden, teens at Piccadilly Circus, bargain hunters at Portobello Market, Dover Street Market habitues, churchgoers at Westminster Cathedral—they all dress like an editor’s dream.
I could only soak in the overwhelming array of merchandise at the TK Maxx at Windsor High Street, the dizzying selections at Harrod’s, the casual vibe of Carnaby Street and the vintage finds at Notting Hill (which my lovely cousin Rhoda all patiently toured me to). What I couldn’t resist, though, are the Altuzzara velvet jacket and Jasper Conran blazer I found at the British Heart Foundation thrift store on Putney Heath.
HOUSE OF IKONS
THE established labels present their LFW collections at The Store Studios at The Strand, organized by the British Fashion Council. The upcoming names, meanwhile, are given a platform to showcase their creativity by the House of iKons, under the Lady K Productions of Savîta Kayê.
Kayê’s avowed mission is to launch emerging designers from around the world by giving them a chance to show in London, one of the Big Four fashion capitals along with New York, Milan and Paris.
Upon Kayê’s invitation, Filipina fashion designer Mimi Parrel-Pimentel decided to participate in the February 17 show at the Gloucester Millennium Hotel on Gloucester Road.
Ever since the Cagayan de Oro native and Makati-practicing designer finished her studies at the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins in 2010, it became her goal to show her clothes in London.
The House of iKons show also hosted Filipinos Che Aranjuez and Aandre David. Previous Pinoy attendees include Cary Santiago, Jaki Peñalosa, Happy Andrada and Rocky Gathercole.
Parrel-Pimentel’s “Romantic Interlude” collection flaunted feminine, dainty details and virile, royal vibes. She used piña strips and cotton silk on one ensemble, Indian sari and Cerutti fabric with Mindanao Silk scarf as accent on a two-piece combo, piña cocoon silk Barong Tagalog blouse and black cotton linen silk skirt and micro-pleated stretched silk fabric on a Venus gown.
Her Barong Tagalogs, which intrigued the gentlemen in the audience, were mostly made of Mindanao Silk with suksuk. A silver gown from the show was bought by Cynthia Alcantara-Barker, the first Filipina councilor in the United Kingdom.
“I felt overwhelmed and grateful because I was given the opportunity to show my collections in one of the world’s fashion capitals,” Parrel-Pimentel said, hoping to tap into the 300,000-strong Filipino market with the support of Tourism Promotions Board COO Cesar Montano. “It’s so fulfilling because it is my ultimate dream to have a show in London and to see my clothes worn by international models.”