Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hablon Masterpiece

Hablon, which came from the word "habol", means to weave or it could also mean the woven product itself. Before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, Iloilo was the center for hand-woven textile and although the industry started to thrive, it is still there. At present, Hablon is being hand-woven by women in Miagao, Oton, and other towns in Iloilo. The quality of Hablon is actually similar to that of Thailand's and Cambodia's silk and fibers could either be made of cotton, jusi, pineapple or abacca.

As I said in my older posts, I along with the other Ilonggo designers showcased one Hablon creation for our finale show last week. This was my first time to make a gown out of the material, and it was also my first time to make a gown as detailed as this one. I've been designing ready-to-wear pieces since then so when I designed this gown, I made sure it was wearable too.When I submitted my sketch for our souvenir program, I wasn't certain about the details yet because I still had to look for the material. I was only certain that I wanted to do a gown that was also gradient in color and similar to the ones I designed for my collection. Aside from my collection being my inspiration in making this gown, I was also inspired by an old sketch my Mom did for me when I was younger. My Mom was the one who taught me how to draw. She started by sketching for me and then I'd follow her sketches by tracing. At a certain point, my Mom probably got tired of sketching for me. Or maybe she was just trying to teach me to do things on my own. I don't have our old sketches anymore but I still have that vivid memory of a certain dress with tiers on both sides.

Through this experience, I've learned to appreciate Hablon even more. Aside from the fact that it's a local product we can all be proud of, I see it as a beautiful handicraft that can be made into so many beautiful things. I was more inspired by this experience to do better in the future and i'm sure this won't be the last time I'll be using Hablon in my creations.

Here's my modern translation of that vivid memory. I made a few changes but the silhouette's still the same. We we're asked to submit a random sketch for our souvenir program but I decided to use this design in making my Hablon gown.  :)

I made use of 4 different shades of hablon, gold, peach, beige and cream. Gold was the perfect accent to this gown so the bead details are in shades of gold. We were only required to use 50% Hablon but since it was my 1st, I decided to go all out on using Hablon. ;)

My beautiful muse, Ms Grace Garces. I loved how her hair and make-up perfectly matched the gown. The funny thing is, when Ruffy Itaas (the make-up artist) asked me what my peg for the hair and make-up was, I just told him that the color of the gown is a peach-gold-white combination and that her hair should be in a bun because my model was going to wear a headband. When I arrived at the venue, I was surprised with what Ruffy did with the minimal information I gave him. He told me after that he sort of guessed what kind of look I was going for because he knew I liked girly things. And it's not like we've known each other for a long time. I just met him during the event and I think he was just that talented to read my mind with how he's seen me so far.

Fully beaded headband and the back details. I wanted my gown to look sexy, thus the backless back. :)

This creation is a reflection of who I am as a person and as an artist and I'm glad that people see me through it. :D

(c) Paul Chiongson