By John Legaspi

63381715 2207483192666586 207181452763201536 o - TERNOFANTASTIC

Ternocon 2018 designers with Inno Sotto and Ben Chan

An epitome of classic femininity, the terno has been the prime choice for many Filipinas since the early 1900s for traditional events and formal gatherings. From the blue carpet of the State of the Nation Address to the glamorous stage of local and international pageants, the terno is a timeless piece that is a unmistakably Filipino.

Like its wearer, the terno, derived from the English word for “matching,” has evolved over time through innovative designs and modern interpretations, whether in structure, materials, or coloration. But there is a clamor to update the dress and to keep wearers’ interest at a time such as this dominated by global fashion.

As a followup to its “Love Local” advocacy, homegrown lifestyle brand Bench partnered with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and SM Mall of Asia (MOA) to give this year’s celebration of Philippine Independence Day a dash of “independent” style and culture.

The “Ternocon 2018” exhibit on June 12 opened at the Atrium, Main Mall of the SM-MOA. Curated by Gino Gonzales, the exhibit featured 30 selections from over 90 ternos shown at the CCP’s preparatory workshops helmed by Inno Sotto as chief mentor and Gonzales as the project’s artistic director in May 2018. Three sections represented the prevalent looks: the use of black, white or gray; the use of jewel colors; and the use of indigenous weaves or textiles. Cocktail versions of the balintawak (the country version of the terno that makes use of a kerchief called the alampay) and formal evening versions of the terno (a dress with butterfly sleeves) are mixed together. The exhibit was also made possible with the support of the Slim’s Fashion and Arts School, Steven Tan of SM-MOA, Natalya Lagdameo, Zarah Juan, CCP Production Design and Technical Services, and the CCP Cultural Content Department.


Ternocon 2018 was a terno-making convention and contest for regional designers initiated by the CCP through its Cultural Exchange Department and its partner Bench (Suyen Corporation). As a cultural project, Ternocon aims to encourage the use of the terno as formal dress, to inspire a new generation of Filipino designers to make ternos that are grounded in the history of the Philippine national dress, and to motivate regional designers to create works that are at par with the construction techniques of the master.


Black and white set


Jewel tone set


Indigenous weave set

A new batch of designers are currently undergoing their terno master class for the 2020 edition of Ternocon, with the final competition judging and showcase happening on Jan. 26, 2020 at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (Main Theater) of the CCP. Entries to Ternocon 2020 will be judged based on the designer’s adherence to the competition guidelines, craftsmanship and execution of design, fabrication, creativity, and wearability and functionality.

Meanwhile, “Ternocon 2018” exhibit will tour in other regions and SM Supermalls from July to November this year.

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