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25 best dressed at the ABS-CBN ball: the Filipiniana theme's major fashion moments

From Kathryn to MayMay, the ball was a who's who of the Philippines, and they all dressed to the nines

Nadine Lustre, Ylona Garcia and Blythe were among are best dressed, all honouring traditional Filipiniana fashion at the 2019 ABS-CBN Ball in Manila. Instagram 
Nadine Lustre, Ylona Garcia and Blythe were among are best dressed, all honouring traditional Filipiniana fashion at the 2019 ABS-CBN Ball in Manila. Instagram 

The annual ABS-CBN ball in Manila is effectively the Philippines's answer to the Met Gala: it's a chance for celebrities to wear something outlandish, and to theme, and proceeds from the event all go to charity (2019's benefactor was Bantay Bata's education initiative). This year, the evening was also held in the memory of Gina Lopez, the environmentalist and philanthropist who sadly passed away in August.

Fashion wise, the 2019 theme was Filipiniana – the traditional dress of the Philippines that dates back to the 1800s and usually involves sharp shoulders (or 'angel wings') and starched cloth worn as a shawl, as well as a full length skirt. There is often a mixture of fabrics involved, with pineapple fibre traditionally used.

It's safe to say the celebrity guests at the ABS-CBN ball at the Shangri-La Hotel Fort Bonifacio had some serious fun with this year's theme, wearing modern gowns and suits, many of them by Filipino designers, that incorporated elements of the country's beautiful traditional dress.

Here is our favourite fashion from the ABS-CBN ball...

1. MayMay Entrata and Edward Barber

We're proud to see that these two chose Amato Couture, a Dubai-based designer. Entrata wrote on Instagram that this interpretation of "opulence" was crafted from "hundreds, or thousands, of real gold blooms".

Definition of extra.

2. Ylona Garcia

This Michael Levya look was one of our favourite of the night, thanks to the beautiful hair, which was styled by Filipino hair stylist Ethan David.

The oodles of gold detailing also definitely help.

3. Nadine Lustre

This bright red terno was also by Michael Levya, and it delivered some edgy shoulder action:

4. Kathryn Bernardo

Also opting for a Dubai-based designer, mega star Bernardo chose the ultra talented Michael Cinco for her gown.

"I originally requested to incorporate T’nalak prints to make the look very Filipino, and he did so without compromising the signature Michael Cinco aesthetic by mimicking the patterns using Swarovski crystals."

5. Beauty Gonzalez

This is the definition of a statement gown: the 'freedom dress' by Cary Santiago is crafted amazingly to look like an eagle, the national bird of the Philippines.

What an amazing talent Santiago is.

6. Blythe

The actress wore not one, but two go-big-or-go-home dresses for the occasion.

The first was a bold yellow ball gown by Michael Levya that was inspired by the sun rays of the Philippine's flag. Extra, and we love her for it:

The second look was also by Michael Levya and featured the distinct sharp shoulders of the Filipiniana dress. It was custom, naturally:

7. James Reid

Joining Nadine Lustre on the red carpet, naturally, James Reid was one of the best dressed men on the night, making a traditional Filipino detail look ultra modern and interesting. The shoes we're sketchy on, however.

8. Alexa Ilacad

Alexa Ilacad's sharp-shouldered dress was by Ryan Ablaza Uson, and, as Ilacad wrote, "he skilfully recreated the age-old Filipino Barong into a feminised version with the fusion of the Terno dress. The defining features are the Barong's collar and front centre opening with covered buttons and the Terno's intricate embroidered details, pearl embellishments and the butterfly sleeves."

9. Yam Concepcion

Michael Levya was a definite favourite on the night, making this sumptuous silk dress for Yam.

10. Jane de Leon

The actress looked Old Hollywood as well as Old Manila in this Vania Romoff gown. The most distinctly Filipiniana element is the "modern draped panuelo in powder blue taffeta silk".

11. Lou Yanong

She kept it modern by adding trousers to the look, the design is by bridal specialist Armand Marco.

12. Julia Barretto

The star looked stunning in this classic look by Filipino designer Rajo Laurel.

13. Maris Racal

We love what Maris wrote about this Julianne Syjuco gown on Instagram: "The modern Filipina is confident, resilient and is fully in charge of her bod."

14. Angelica Panganiban

The terno sleeve of this Light Shine White dress is embroidered with "the flower buds of the Tayabak flower". The skirt and bodice are decorated with floral appliques of six types of flowers found in the Philippines: tayabak, mangkono, katmon, kapal-kapal baging, kapa-kapa and waling-waling.

Amazing attention to detail.

15. Fumiya Sankai

This custom-look was designed by up-and-coming designer Jaggy Glarino, who is also a nurse. We are crushing on its Japan-meets-Philippines style. Who says women have all the fun on the red carpet?

16. Sharlene San Pedro

This ornate dress is by bridal designer Elizabeth Hallie Design.

17. Francine Diaz

The young star opted for a mega-skirt, designed by Neric Beltran.

18. Bea Alonzo

The star looked so classically beautiful in this Jun Escario gown.

19. Yassi Pressman

This gown is simpler than some of the others, but still stunning: we adore the colour. It's by Anthony Ramirez.

20. Kisses Delavin

This striking Jot Losa gown makes Delavin look like a Filipina Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and we absolutely love it.

21. Heaven Peralejo

This Julianne Syjuco gown is inspired by the abaniko fan, as Paralejo wrote on Instagram. "In Philippine history, a Maria Clara’s ensemble is considered lacking without an abaniko fan. This accessory was used by women to communicate messages to one another. Fanning the fan rapidly can mean displeasure while covering it on a lady’s chest can mean modesty."

22. Kim Chiu

The star said she was representing "brave Filipinas like Magdalena Estiosta Leones, also known as Lioness of Filipina Agents back in World War II" in this Benj Leguaib gown.

23. Sarah Lahbati

The actress honed in on the tradition of Maria Clara sleeves in this Mark Bumgarner gown. Timeless beauty.

24. Ruffa Gutierrez

This Studio Vania Romoff look saw the traditional elements played out in a jacket rather than a gown, which was a nice twist.

25. Kylie Verzosa

This striking Cary Santiago dress is inspired by the tribal tattoos of the Philippines.

Updated: September 18, 2019 12:22 PM

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