A veritable showcase of sublime Italian fashion

Status symbol aside, Italian fashion brands are prized and coveted for their artistry, craftmanship and stylishness. Small wonder then that the bags, shoes, accessories and other items on display at the 15 January opening of Corso Como 88’s flagship store at the One Ayala mall in Makati City elicited oohs and aahs.

“We have carefully chosen brands which we believe have the ability to tell a story and create new memories, and at the same time, embody the unique personality of those wearing them,” said Imelda Menguito in her joint opening remarks with her husband and co-owner, Valter Sciandra, an Italian national.

The couple started the business in 2008 by sourcing products directly from Italy and Europe initially as requested by their friends in the Philippines. It soon grew into a thriving import operation that gave birth to the Corso Como 88 retail enterprise and later, in October 2022, its first boutique at Ayala Malls The 30th in Pasig City.

Corso Como 88 carries renowned Italian brands, such as Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Manolo Blahnik, Bottega Veneta, Alaia and many others, as well as prestigious European brands, including Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Polene, Goyard, Delvaux, Chloe and Hermés.

Its flagship store officially opened with the ribbon-cutting ceremony led by guests of honor Stanley Ng, president and chief operating officer of Philippine Airlines; Mariana Zobel de Ayala, director and senior vice president for Leasing and Hospitality of Ayala Land Inc.; Marco Clemente, Ambassador of Italy to the Philippines; and Regie C. Bautista, senior vice president, GMA Network Inc., and president and COO of GMA Ventures, Inc.

The event was also attended by movers and shakers in and out of the fashion industry, who turned up in their chicest interpretation of the white-and-gold dress code. DAILY TRIBUNE spoke to some celebrity guests about their personal style and why they are big fans of Italian fashion.

Sofia Andres exemplified her personal style that is “chic, simple and elegant” in a white sleeveless dress with black piping and accents paired with black shoes and white Louis Vuitton bag. She said a bag that’s white, beige or black always completes her outfit.

ABS-CBN’s homegrown talent, who played a major role in 2023’s action series The Iron Heart, pointed out, “I’m also into basic stuff. I don’t want to make things complicated. Parang classic lang.” She added that she finds Italian fashion as “the most elegant,” saying that “you can never go wrong” with it.

Fashion and travel blogger Nicole Andersson, who turned up in a black flowy dress and matching pointy shoes, described her fashion sense as “more feminine, very flirty, very fun” with a “stunning pair of shoes” always completing her look.

She went on sharing her thoughts on Italian fashion: “Obviously, it’s iconic. It’s equivalent to quality, timeless pieces. I love Italian fashion. It’s difficult to pick just one brand. There are so many — Prada, Miu Miu…”

For her part, GMA-7 actress Rhian Ramos glowed in immaculate white bustier mini dress with arm accents. She said her fashion sense is a “balance between feminine and masculine,” calling it “boy-meets-girl.” She added, “The fashion item that completes my outfit is, I would say, is shoes. Mas sa shoes pa rin ako naka-focus, kesa accessories, bags (I’m still more focused on shoes, rather than accessories and bags).”

The cast member of two upcoming series, Encantadia Chronicles: Sang’gre and Pulang Araw, expressed admiration for Italian designs that make the wearers not be “afraid to be themselves,” just being “loud and proud.”

Another Kapuso star, Kyline Alcantara, likewise made heads turn in a metallic brown dress with low neckline and black Yves Saint Laurent high heels with pompom-like accents. “My fashion sense really depends on my mood. Sometimes I want be the sporty type. Sometimes I want sweet style. Right now, I have a glam look.”

The young actress, who’s set to star in the drama series, Shining Inheritance, professed to be enamored with Italian fashion because “it is really expressive.”

Singer-songwriter Kiana Valenciano, who also studied fashion design, considered her personal style revolving around “balance between femininity and masculinity.” This was perfectly illustrated in her garb of heavily padded white pantsuit that has peek-a-boo bows in the back and paired with silver shoes and gold earrings.

“I just make sure I’m comfortable because every time I’m comfortable, I’m extremely confident,” she said. “I love jewelry. I also love a good pair of shoes or a nice bag, as you can see. It always comes together with accessories.”

“When it comes to Italian fashion,” she added, “I love the quality and of course, innovation. They’re always pushing the bar. I’m such a fan.”

Finally, fashion maven Tessa Prieto, who looked fairy-like and fun-filled in a lace dress with Swarovski accessories, shared how she dresses up these days: “My fashion style now is all about emotions. I’m so in love right now. I feel a lightness of being. I’m wearing my colors. After Covid, I feel life is more precious. Our life is really short. We have to really live it to the fullest. Wear your true colors and whatever makes you happy. I’m still a maximalist — in color and everything, accessories.”

She then talked about Italian fashion, “It fits my personality. It’s the only country that combines prints, different color schemes. You can wear branded and non-branded. The aesthetics is so unique. It’s a standout. I love Italian. The artistry of the Italian is seen in every product — like home, bags.”