The shape of styles to come

To welcome the holiday season, Bench made sure to turn up the temperature with the hottest looks UPCOMING for their newest collections, revealed at the recent staging of Bench Fashion Week 2023.

Headlined by a merry mix of fashion scene newcomers and veteran designers, along with some unconventional collaborators, Bench’s second fashion series this year boasted a wide variety of styles, ranging from reimagined indigenous contemporary looks, a fusion of utilitarian and tribal hints, to chic couture and sleek, close-to-casual, individualistic Filipiniana designs.

Attendees were nothing short of spoiled with visual treats as the show ended on a high note by showcasing the works of British-trained milliner and designer Mich Dulce and fast-rising young celebrity designer Chris Nick, who is known for his delicate balance of masculine and feminine touches in crisp formal wear.

This was followed by an unprecedented collaborative synthesis of Bench with illustrator and muralist Anjo “Bitto” Bolarda. Lastly, the show saw Human’s new collection under the creative direction of Proudrace’s Rik Rasos.



Mich Dulce’s return

Being out of the runway limelight for 15 years undeniably gave Mich Dulce the grit and tenacity to make her long-awaited return – which saw the presentation of her elegant deconstructed assemblage highlighting her iconic piña that was proportioned with sharp silhouettes and neutrals composed of carefully picked fabrics.


Chris Nick goes denim

Breaking away from his norm, Chris Nick, this time, shifted his focus to denim – translating his tuxedo dream to a more laid-back look while retaining the usual sleek finish but in true ‘70s Wild, Wild West fashion. The pieces featured contrasts of Nick’s signature silhouettes in cropped jackets, blazers and mini skirts that screamed undeterred feminine grandeur. The more casual looks saw tank tops emblazoned with cheeky statements (with one that says “I love cowboys” and “I ride horses”).



Bitto Bolarda’s street chic

While not hailing from a fashion background, Bitto Bolarda pulled his first runway stint like a rabbit from a hat, materializing his vision – the Bittoverse — in the BENCH x Bitto collection. Incorporating his cyberpunk genre with nostalgic Y2K elements, his street designs brought to life elements of what was and a look of what’s yet to come in hot neon tones.


BITTO’S cyberpunk genre with nostalgic Y2K elements.(photographs by Alvin Kasiban for the Daily Tribune)


Rasos reangles Human

A staple in the street fashion scene spearheaded Human’s collection. Rik Rasos reangled Human’s usual flashy graphic cotton-centric pieces into another approach to the timeless denim fabric. Japanese touches of the comic art form manga were also evident in the tees produced in this Rasos-led line.

The range of styles that graced the Bench runway complemented each other at every turn, wrapping up a show that will surely dictate the tone of the country’s fashion scene.


denim strapless dress.