By Lalaine Chu-Benitez
Last night was perhaps one of the busiest nights for the Madinat Jumeirah. The area, where traffic was choc-a-block, was absolutely teeming with fashion fans at Fashion Forward Season 2’s closing evening. Amato Couture by FIlipino Designer Furne One opened their show to a restless crowd – no doubt uber excited at the prospect of seeing, yet again, another dramatic show the fashion house is known for.
The show opened with a video featuring blasé couture clad models shopping at a grocery store – whimsical but with an odd air of nonchalance. Then the models started streaming in one by one, dressed in white, to the rousing sounds of Japanese taiko drumming and shakuhachi – out of the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack – and it was apparent that this was not the same Amato show of yore.
Designer Furne One unveiled a beautiful east meets west collection last night, taking on a couple of interesting historical and cultural references to come up with pieces that are a cross-cultural mélange tied together with Amato Couture’s signature maximal approach to fashion.
Just as a number of international designers have come down the same route before, it is not the first time that the designer has touched on the land of the rising sun for inspiration – in fact he has used Japanese details in styling a previous campaign. What makes this collection different from other takes, however, is how Furne has skillfully and convincingly, juxtaposed traditional Japanese with old world British – Elizabethan and Victorian, and made it all look like it made perfect cohesive sense.
Japanese kimono jackets, exaggeratedly stiff geometric Geisha-esque tops, extended silk sleeves, melded seamlessly with Elizabethan lace ruff collars, voluminous ruffled skirt bottoms, as well as florid Victorian patterns on the lace and illusion tulle bodices embellished with a number of materials and techniques – from embroidery to beadwork to laser cut acrylics, flower appliqués and etc,. The typical body conscious Amato silhouette was cinched in by the designer’s maximal version of the traditional obi featuring yards upon yards of satin bows and other whimsical attachments. The color palette was tone-on-tone – ivory, salmon, powder blues, soft beige and gray – fresh, clean, delicate.
For the designer, it would seem, gone are the dark obsessions of the past – the gothic, the macabre, the ultra-edgy, stealthy and Gaga-esque. For now, at least, Furne One’s muse appears to be content in being beautiful, feminine, yielding, but still unabashedly rich and dramatic. Ironically – a new Amato, but always ever the same Amato.