By Francesa Jana
Ever wondered what Disney princesses would look like if they were Filipino?
Well wonder no more! Just last year, that idea came to life: Grammy award-winning artist H.E.R was selected to reprise the role of Belle in ABC’s 30th anniversary special of the Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast”! Getting casted as the first Black-Filipina to play the titular princess meant a lot to the musician, so much that she requested the event’s costume designer Marina Toybina to help pay homage to her Philippine heritage while doing so. After extensive research, the Emmy-winning designer hand-painted the country’s pre-colonial script called Baybayin on H.E.R.'s apron, with the symbols spelling out “Bel”, the baybayin equivalent of Belle.
Image from ABC
This isn’t the first time Filipino excellence graced the global fashion scene. In fact, numerous Filipino designers were behind some of the most iconic red carpet attires and onscreen costumes of the biggest celebrities and elites. One such person is Ilongga designer Chona Bacaoco, who created Drusilla Gucci’s 2023 Cannes Film Festival gown. Representing Visayas is the Tony award-winning Cebuano Clint Ramos, who styled Jennifer Hudson on the Athena Franklin biopic “Respect”. Of course, we can’t leave out world-renowned designer Michael Cinco, whose impressive resume includes dressing Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.
Aside from designers, some celebrities pay homage to their Filipino roots by showcasing Filipino fashion. Actress Vanessa Hudgens had Moschino customize a sheer black piece with classic terno butterfly sleeves while rapper Saweetie's crystal-sewn gown from Christian Cowan had the Philippine flag’s palette. These were the half-Pinays’ ways to celebrate their roots during the 2022 Met Gala. In addition to that, Miss Universe 2022 R’bonney Gabriel consistently champions Filipino-made pieces despite representing the United States for the competition. She wore a sparkly Filipiniana made by Mark Bumgarner for her attendance at the Miss Universe Philippines Charity Gala and then a terno top from Kultura during the celebration of Philippine Independence in New York City
Images from E! Online
Image from Marvel
Image from The CW
Social media sensation Bretman Rock has always been vocal with his Pinoy pride, often showcasing it through what he wears. Aside from dressing up as the iconic heroine Darna for Halloween, the Hawaii-based author and influencer made sure to promote Philippine culture to his 18M followers in ways that surpass merely eating Jollibee’s Chickenjoy. He continuously wears Filipino designs for his projects, as seen on his work with Architectural Digest, ColourPop Cosmetics, Daily Malong and Ilyang-Ilyang. His 2023 Vogue Philippines even sports him wearing a coat made by Filipino designer Joey Samson.
Image from Vogue Philippines
Image from Keith Boos
You can discover more about Filipino-made fashion with Narra Studio.