Despite many years as a prolific designer, Rhett Eala’s first pageant gown stint was only when Maxine Medina competed in this year’s Miss Universe. You know the one: that green fringe dress left many in awe. Eala’s Miss Universe experience served as the main inspiration for ‘Queen,’ as he successfully elevates and redefines Philippine pageantry fashion.
For the designer’s show at this year’s Manila Fashion Festival, Eala presented his own thesis on what it really means to be called a queen. As with Medina’s dress, the designer had fringed elements again in a lot of pieces in the collection. It seems, actually, that Eala tried to invoke the same movement of Medina’s pageant dress—all the pieces as the walked the runway looked absolutely breathtaking in motion. You could tell that each one was designed to command attention.
This included a black fringe dress worn by Jo Ann Bitagcol, which served as a good breaker in between the much brighter jewel tones. As soon as Bitagcol appeared on stage, you could hear the “ooh’s” and “ah’s” in the entire room. If anything, this particular look best encapsulated the concept of the collection—regal and confidently beautiful.
Beyond the fringe and the pearls, the silhouettes were a big contributor to the collection’s success. It was a play on traditional and conventional, but the accents like sheer fabric and the strategic placement of the fringes added depth and dynamism to the creations. The silhouettes actually became the catalyst in the celebration of being a woman in ‘Queen.’
Rhett Eala’s collection ended as one of the best and most memorable in the festival. It’s already a given that he’s one of the most respected and revered designers in the country, and ‘Queen’ was a huge testament on his longevity and his never-ending evolution in the industry.