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Ten elegant Filipinas named

Social activist, scholar, Manila’s best-dressed hall of fame recipient Tingting Cojuangco has chosen 10 women of elegance and substance who will all be honored for bequeathing a legacy of refinement, beauty and sophistication while humblingly creating a string of personal achievements for the betterment of womankind. The honorees will be lauded not only for their pulchritude and character but also for consistency in everything they do, but no safety pins or unsewn tears.
“Fashion is a personal choice. Selecting apparels these women observe the proper time, occasion and place for them to be worn. How one chooses what to wear is crucial. I believe modesty is needed to be elegant. There’s always a proper dress to wear in every occasion and we need not flaunt the body nor too much accessories to show off. Attires show respect to everyone,” said Cojuangco. “It was difficult to come up with the 10. Originally, we had 14, four would be out-of-town. Then we had eight and then the panel chose two more. The ten honorees were chosen to set examples of what an Elegant Filipina can be, not just best dressed.”
This project is expected to gain immediate traction as it also promises to be an ideal way of teaching women to be refined and good mannered in voice and speech. It teaches that being best dressed requires more than a cover for the body. It’s what’s inside a woman’s soul and heart.
Set for Sept. 22, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the event is simply called “TingTing’s List: The Elegant Filipina,” the first of its kind. It will become an annual undertaking henceforth at Diamond Hotel to raise funds for identified beneficiaries preferably women folk year after year.
“The Elegant Filipina” celebrates a Pinay’s unique womanhood, her refinement, and advocacy. She may not necessarily be the center of attention but her defining persona effortlessly hugs the klieg lights. And because she’s cultured, accomplished and well-mannered, she understands the foibles of fashion.
“Good taste and elegance are first learned at home. These women have built self-confidence. No stylist has to dress them.”
At the very helm of this undertaking is Tingting, outstanding UST alumna, wife, mother, scholar, a doctor of history and criminology featured in Harper’s Bazaar twice in 1966 in a four-page spread and in 1967 as one 100 Most Beautiful Women of the World. She was consistently in the best dressed lists from the 1960s to ’80s, eventually becoming a Hall of Fame recipient.
Considered doyenne of impeccable taste, fashion sense and social graces, the roster of honorees for 2015 are Tootsy Angara, Ching Cruz, Gwendolyn Garcia, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Zelda Kienle, Fortune Ledesma, Amparito Llamas-Lhuiller, Mandy de la Rama, Vicky Zubiri and Cindy Yang.
“Inconsistency and over-decking are big no-nos for good dressing. It’s nice to experiment at times but always remember that there’s a limit to all that. In fact you can wear the same dress all over again but the challenge is how to make it look different; that goes to how you wear your hair, use a different bag and set of jewelry,” said Cojuangco. “Sadly, the Philippines can’t be a fashion capital as yet because most Filipinas don’t wear decent dresses. The young lasses emulate too much American fashion, it would have been better if they took their inspirations from Filipino ethics even the Europeans’ high fashion or morality especially at church services.”
The chosen beneficiaries of this year’s fundraiser include a livelihood program in Kabayan, Benguet; and Tanauan, Leyte. The Kabayan Weaving Arts and Crafts is a community-based livelihood project for women through weaving and sewing. To sustain the Kabayan weaving practices is to preserve the Ibaloi culture for the younger generation.
On the other hand, a dressmaking scholarship program in Leyte under the Special Training for Employment (STEP) project is a community-based specialty skills program. Trained by Tesda through the funds of representative Martin Romualdez at the Asian Development Foundation College in Tacloban City, these women scholars will be provided with sewing machines upon completion of their month-long short courses. SLIM’s School of Fashion and Arts and Ronaldo Arnaldo will teach these dressmakers advanced levels of designing and pattern-making to further expand their capabilities.
The evening’s program will be hosted by Edu Manzano, and the event will likewise present the design collections of Albert Andrada, Ronald Arnaldo, JC Buendia and Rajo Laurel. The all-new designers’ trunk will each feature their take on Tingting’s unmistakable flair. The fashion show will complement the conferment rites. The 10 2015 honorees will be formally recognized at the Diamond Hotel ballroom in Manila.

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