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Is the Philippines ready for fashion reality TV?

By Cheche Moral
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:49:00 07/10/2008

Filed Under: Fashion, Lifestyle & Leisure, Television

MANILA, Philippines??They?re all good? But I?m way better.?

And so the runway drama begins.

On July 30, at 10 p.m., ETC will begin airing the local franchise to the hit reality show that grandly proclaims: ?In fashion one day you?re in, the next day you?re out.?

Solar Entertainment?s ?Project Runway Philippines? has lined up an interesting cast that, inevitably, awaits getting sized up and weighed against its American counterpart.

Will Teresa Herrera, host and judge, come up with a new catchphrase, or will she be mouthing the same Heidi Klum line that has become the slogan of the American original?

Will Apples Aberin-Sadhwani, the can?t-swat-a-fly, model-slash-fashion-editor, be able to fill the ber-catty, and arguably unpopular, stilettos of Nina Garcia?

Can Rajo Laurel spew enough bile to push the buttons of a potential Jay McCarroll or Santino Rice?

This is reality TV, after all?without the histrionics, it?s not good TV. While the show?s being touted as the new champion of Filipino talent, how it will handle the pikon sensibility of the Pinoy would determine if the show has what it takes to keep viewers glued until coronation night.

Can the venerable and aptly cast Jojie Lloren turn the 14 wannabes into Jeffrey Sebelias and Chloe Daos?

More importantly, do the 14 finalists?whittled down from some 200 applicants, culled from screenings in Metro Manila and Cebu?have what it takes to be the next Christian Siriano?

What?s at stake is nothing to frown upon, especially for a lineup of largely unknowns in mainstream fashion.

The winner stands to take home P500,000 in cash, a start-up business package (Solar declined to give details at press time), an editorial spread with Mega Magazines Publications Inc. and a chance to show at the Philippine Fashion Week in October.

The finalists are an eclectic mix, from young upstarts who have had training either in London or Paris or both, to a 51-year-old home-based dressmaker. There?s a clothing tech instructor and another who?s had considerable experience designing in the Middle East. Some are veterans of fashion design tilts; another designs his own label in the South.

Don Sta. Rosa, a rep for Solar, said they had received ?guidelines? from Fremantle Media, the show?s distributor, but declined to elaborate. If the press release is any indication, however, viewers can expect less-than-polite and cordial competition to happen onscreen.

A contestant named Lord Maturan, in the release, acknowledged the talent of his competitors, but claimed to be ?way better.?

?I?m the most talented in this batch because I make the most complicated clothes,? Aries Lagat is also quoted in the release. The Ozamis City native is a former winner of the Mega Young Designers Competition.

But it is perhaps Jay Cerezo, an advertising graduate, who best summed what the movers of Solar must have in mind: ?Talent is best shown and not described. So watch me!"

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