Women power!


Happy Women’s Day! Here’s to Women Power! This occasion celebrates women’s empowerment, so it’s a great day for at least half of people everywhere.

Global bank Citi has been celebrating International Women’s Day since 2001, and this year, three Prieto women were asked to headline their annual affair: my mom Marixi, sister Sandy Romualdez and me. Aneth Lim, Citi’s director for public affairs and corporate citizenship, approached Mom about speaking at their event, and she made sure Sandy and I would join her.

Over 150 guests filled the Gallardo Ballroom of Makati Diamond Residences, and we kept them on the edge of their seats – laughing, sighing, and at times, crying along with us. This was our first time to be in a panel together, and it made us realize just how much we have learned life’s lessons from each other over the years, and how devoted we all are to each other’s success.

In his welcome remarks, Citi CEO Aftab Ahmed included a poem he had penned that morning. He also offered sage advice to the audience – reminding women to mentor other women and network, take time to share and strategize together, consciously address unconscious biases, sign up for leadership learning, and be inspired by other women’s successes.

I wore a beautiful Rosa Clara wedding gown on stage, while Mom and Sandy were more conservatively attired, of course. Businesswoman Mom taught us about family values, women empowerment, business, charity, and shared blessings. Sandy and I went through our memory lane of vacations and adventures. An overflow of maternal love and sisterly bonds were shared that afternoon.

Immediately afterwards, I braved the EDSA traffic to be at the SM Mega Fashion Hall to continue the Women’s Day celebration at another joyous event: “Wildflower: A Fashion Retrospective on style icon Tessa Rufino Prieto-Valdes.”

“Wildflower” is part of the events celebrating the 30th anniversary of SM Supermalls. The stars of the show are really the top 30 Filipino fashion designers, who all created outstanding gowns for me over the years. I love playing Barbie for these guys.

The designers include Slim’s Fashion and Arts School alumni like Joe Salazar, Chito Vijandre and Pablo Mendez, and Red Charity Gala featured designers like Rajo Laurel, Dennis Lustico, Michael Cinco, Ezra Santos, Cary Santiago, Jojie Lloren and Lesley Mobo. Cebu’s talented top designers like Ronald Enrico, Jun Escario, Philipp Tampus are also represented.

Slim's Fashion and Arts School students at the Wildflower exhibit
Slim’s Fashion and Arts School students at the Wildflower exhibit

Also in the show are designers Albert Andrada, Ivarluski Aseron, Pablo Cabahug, , Maureen Disini, Rhett Eala, Rocky Gathercole, Yvette Ilagan, Monique Lhuillier, Francis Libiran, Josie Natori, Frederick Peralta, Eric Pineda, Gian Romano, Amir Sali, Inno Sotto, Oliver Tolentino and Cherry Veric.

Amidst all the minimalist fashion trending these days, I guess I dare to stand out. Like wildflowers that come in varied species and kinds, the exhibit portrays women from all walks of life. Through each of my dresses, we share a vibrant store worth telling. It’s quite a retrospective, so if you have time between today until March 18, please visit. If not, check it out at www.tessaprietovaldes.com.

Speaking of women, beauty and fashion, Happy Skin’s founders Rissa Mananquil-Trillo and Jacqe Yuengtian-Gutierrez recently teamed up with Plains & Prints’ owner Roxanne Farillas to create a new collection of makeup and clothing in coordinating colors.

Happy Skin, the country’s favorite homegrown brand of skin-caring makeup, and Plains & Prints, one of the Philippines’ leading fashion retail brands, joined forces to create an original line of makeup and clothes inspired by each other’s aesthetic, resulting in the limited edition Prints Made Pretty Collection.

At the launch, guests got the chance to either be a beauty queen or a ramp model for the day with life-size paper dolls wearing the collection. Roxanne and her hubby Erickson told me that the two beauty and fashion trailblazers share a significant connection. Happy Skin started in 2013 in the top five shops of Plains & Prints.

The Prints Made Pretty Collection is an exciting collaboration. Image models include VJ Aryanna Epperson and upcoming model Sabina Gonzalez, our country’s future faces of beauty. The launch was a fun afternoon at Mango Tree.

More on art, I just want to mention the recent “Culturati: Sense & Sensibility” art preview, a partnership between Salcedo Auctions, Grace Home and Moët Hennessy Philippines held at the Manila Peninsula. Richard Lerma of Salcedo Auctions gave a talk on art history, moderated by Grace Baja, owner of Grace Home.

The previewed art pieces will be auctioned off over two days, the final day being today, March 13. The auction starts at 2 PM and will be at Unit 104-B, Ground level, Three Salcedo Place, 121 Tordesillas St., Salcedo Village, Makati.

From left to right: Richard and Karen Lerma of Salcedo Auctions, Stephanie Chong of Peninsula Manila and Olga Azarcon, managing director of Moët Hennessy Philippines Inc.
From left to right: Richard and Karen Lerma of Salcedo Auctions, Stephanie Chong of Peninsula Manila and Olga Azarcon, managing director of Moët Hennessy Philippines Inc.

Olga Azarcon, managing director of Moët Hennessy Philippines, told me how the LVMH group believes in supporting experiences with spirit, such as the Culturati auction that will truly showcase our art heritage. Among the pieces to be auctioned off are Ben Cab’s Draped Series II, Fabian dela Rosa’s Casas de Pescadores, Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s Gethsemane, and Ang Kiukok’s White Fish in Blue. Check it out at http://salcedoauctions.com.

As my finale for this weekend, I just want to mention that Romulo Café opens in London on March 24, right at the heart of Kensington, one of the city’s key shopping districts.

It’s truly great that Pinoy entrepreneurs are venturing abroad and all kudos are due to Romulo granddaughter Rowena, who is the brains behind this venture. Not only will London’s Romulo Café highlight Filipino cuisine, it will also offer a taste of our history, with the memorabilia from the life and times of General Carlos P. Romulo as part of the décor. Check it all out at www.romulocafe.co.uk.

Follow @seaprincess888 on Instagram.

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